Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Intuitive Eating

Unfortunately I rushed through this book because it was overdue, but I think I caught the just of it. In order to return to your inborn instincts to eat only what your body needs, you have to de-program all of your learned eating habits. You know the ones -- depriving our bodies, feeling unnecessary guilt over food choices and binge eating to avoid the guilt. Some of the principles were helpful:

1. Respect your hunger - don't eat a PB&J sandwich on the way to a nice restaurant meal. Let food satisfy your hunger. I do this -- stuff my face with crappy snacks so that by the time I eat dinner I'm already full and the food doesn't taste good because I am not hungry.

2. Respect your body. My body houses my spirit and mind. It's here for the long term to carry me through life. Rather than focus on imperfections, respect what my body has done for me. For example, take my feet -- they are dry and calloused and tired looking. But look at how many kilometers I've run!

3. Separate exercise from diet. Moving my body is good for my health. I've got to stop thinking of exercise as punishment for poor eating. I also have to realize that exercise can still be enjoyable even when I'm in poor shape. I'm improving my strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and cardio. Weight loss should not be my motivation to exercise.

4. Don't make food my enemy. When we make certain foods 'forbidden' we end up craving them more. We satiate our desire with something else, but it never satisfies because we still crave what is forbidden. So we cave, binge and then hate ourselves afterwards. This example was memorable -- if you offer free pizza to some college kids everyday they'll initially be excited but by the 20th day they won't want to ever look at pizza again. If I allow myself to be habituated to 'forbidden' foods I might find that I don't want them as much as I think I do.

5. Satisfy your desires. Think about what you really want to eat -- sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, chewy, crispy, saucy, etc. Don't just eat because you have to, but eat what you really want to eat. This one is tough. I tried it yesterday -- one donut and two brownies is what happened. It's going to take some de-programming, but the idea here is that if you allow yourself to eat what you want, you will end up choosing what your body needs. You will make healthy choices.

6. Feel your fullness. In an ideal world we would not eat for emotional reasons, we would not eat to avoid wasting food, we would not eat out of bordem. As with anything, taking a few minutes to be aware will guide your behaviour.

No comments:

Post a Comment