Most of us know what it feels like to follow a rigid diet, whether it is calorie controlled, portion controlled, dairy and gluten-free or embedded with more rules than Monopoly. After awhile you soon realise, this regime no longer can cut the mustard, you’re feeling bored, trapped, uninspired and hungry…and you’ve only just had breakfast! Food rules and strict regimes don’t work in the long run. Did you know; dieting is actually a consistent predictor of weight gain rather than long-term weight loss and maintenance? We have held onto the dieting paragon for far too long and it’s failing many bodies both physically and mentally.
So what’s the answer? What’s the way forward?
Intuitive aka mindful eating! Eating intuitively is to make peace with food, honour your body's natural hunger and fullness cues and to ditch dieting to cultivate optimal mental and physical health.
Sounds easy right? Well, if we have lost trust in our bodies because we have never let them just ‘be’ but instead following strict regimes not specific to us, it can be hard to let go and tune into your body.
If you are feeling stuck in a rigid mindset and wanting to create more flexibility and honour your true hunger and how your body is feeling, then breaking it down into simple steps and going at your own pace is the healthy way to start.
Here are 5 simple steps you can start today to help make the shift
Tune into hunger and fullness cues
Trust your body, let go of calorie counting and portion controlling, your body will tell you want it needs. If you feel like an early dinner, have it, not hungry for breakfast, skip it, your body wants to work with you, not against you.
Listen out for clues
Are you feeling fatigued? Maybe you need some more protein or complex carbohydrates
Craving salt? Maybe you are stressed or exhausted
Excessively hungry? Are you eating enough fibre? Do you need to snack between meals and have you checked your hydration?
There is always meaning in the messages our body sends, pay attention and feel comfort in the fact, the body knows best.
Have an idea of meals but make food flexible
Have a rough idea of what you may want to eat and which foods make you feel content. This will help ensuring you have the right ingredients on hand to make the foods, which make you feel best.
Tear up the banned food list and enjoy everything in moderation
Having a list of banned food only creates stress and makes us focus on what we can’t have as opposed to being able to enjoy what we are eating. Everything in moderation is fine; leave guilt behind when eating foods, which may be seen as ‘bad’ to others. You can have it, you can freely enjoy it and you can be in total control of it. Remember that!
You may be used to being told what to eat and following a plan. However, when starting on the mindful eating journey, the same structure you are used to is not there. If may help to have a fluid outline of what makes up a healthy balanced meal, for example, aiming for ½ plate vegetables, ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate carbs and 1 tbsp fat per meal – you can start with this and tweak depending on how you are feeling and what suits you that day in that moment.
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, Restrictive Eating, Body image, Picky Eating, Mindful Eating, Non-Dieting Approach, Healthy Relationship With Food, Healthy Weight Maintenance, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.