Submitted by the Peoria City/County Health Department
Fall and winter are a time for cozying up and celebrating with friends and family. While there are a variety of holidays around this time of year there is one thing they all have in common. FOOD! So let’s dig in to learn how we can remain thankful and not just thankFULL this time of year.
Intuitive eating is just that, eating intuitively. Listening to your hunger and fullness cues and figuring out when to stop. Hunger and fullness cues are run by hormones. The less you use those cues, through dieting or just not listening to your hunger cues, the less they work. There is a whole lot of scientific detail that we could go into regarding intuitive eating, if you’re interested you can learn more at inuitiveeating.org, but here is the crash course.
The biggest thing to remember is KINDNESS TOWARDS YOURSELF. Intuitive eating is all about repairing your relationship with food, and what better time to do that than around the holidays when happiness and joy surround you! There are 10 key points to intuitive eating, and we’ll touch on each one.
- REJECT THE DIET MENTALITY! You do not need to diet to be healthy. Being healthy is not exclusively tied to weight and there is no way to healthily lose weight quickly. There is no better diet plan than listening to yourself.
- Honor your hunger! To quote from the 10 principles of intuitive eating on intuitiveeating.org, “keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates,” yes carbs, “otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.” Do not let yourself get overly hungry otherwise conscious eating goes out the window.
- Make peace with your food. The more you deprive yourself of something, the more you are going to crave it.
- There are no “good” or “bad” foods. Foods are either “nutrient-rich” or “nutrient-low”. Follow the 80/20 rule and eat 80% nutrient-rich foods and 20% nutrient-low foods.
- Find satisfaction in food. Eating what you want, in a pleasant environment can help you feel more satisfied and content. It will be easier to determine when you’ve had enough.
- Feel your fullness. If you’ve been suppressing your fullness cues it may be difficult at first to determine when you are truly full. Pause frequently and do a tummy check and figure out if you are full or not. On the same note, if you ARE full, remind yourself that you can always come back to it or get more when you are hungry again. Constantly reminding yourself that you can come back to it and it’s not a one-time indulgence can help in stopping when you are full.
- Holidays can mean a lot of family time. Depending on your relationship with your family you may use food (or many nutrient-low beverages) to deal with your family. However, you need to cope with your emotions and issues. Restricting regularly can cause a loss of control when you are feeling deeply emotional. The quote from intuitiveeating.org says it best, “eating for emotional hunger may only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion.”
- ALL BODIES DESERVE LOVE. Number eight is one of the most important. It is hard to repair your relationship with food if you continue criticizing your body. Your body needs food as nourishment. Same way you wouldn’t put regular gas in a car that requires premium your body needs nutrient dense foods to function properly. But that doesn’t mean your body is “bad”. Your body is still your body and the only one you get, NOURISH IT.
- Move your body! Our bodies are not meant for sedentary lifestyles. This doesn’t mean to learn to be a bodybuilder, just moving your body a little bit. Have a dance party, go for a walk after Thanksgiving dinner, take little family members to the park, any bit of movement can get your body feeling good and you feeling good about your body. In this time of thankfulness, remember to thank your body for all that it does for you.
- Honor your health. Find the balance between good-tasting, nutrient-rich, feel-good foods. You don’t have to have the perfect meal plan or eating habits to be healthy, you won’t suddenly become unhealthy from one meal, it’s the big picture over time that matters.
This holiday season, give yourself the best gift of all, a better relationship with food, and yourself.
For more information visit www.pcchd.org.