Do You Use Your Intuition When Eating?

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Intuitive EatingI’ve been reading a lot of articles on healthy eating and nutrition lately. A common theme that I’m seeing is trying to eat only when you are hungry and stopping when you aren’t. The latest terminology for it is intuitive eating. There’s even a book now and many of the nutrition founders recommend it. Clean eating and paleo are two examples.

This sounds simple enough. Duh! Just eat something healthy like veggies, meat, and fruit when you are hungry. Stop eating when you aren’t hungry anymore and your body will regulate the calories itself. I googled a bit and saw tons of people trying this but not losing weight. Calories still count regardless of how or what you eat. Too many calories = excess weight.

I’ve found that this concept isn’t as easy as it sounds in today’s world and I struggle with this. Typically I’m rushed and don’t have much free time. I eat at my desk at work while reading through emails. I have the mindset at dinner to eat fast so that I can clean the kitchen and get to the rest of my To Do List. Somedays I come home starving and shovel in anything I can before heating dinner.

It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell the brain that it’s full. If you eat a ton before that time is up, you may find that you are way too full at the 20 minute mark and that you’ve overdone your intake. Weighing really works for me since 8 oz of veggies and 4 oz of meat is the same amount whether I eat it in 60 seconds or in 20 minutes.

I was at the bookstore the other day and watched a couple order two yummy looking slices of cheesecake. Both of them sat down, put their noses in books, and mindlessly forked down the slices within a couple minutes. I bet if I’d gone over afterwards and asked, neither one could really tell me how delicious it was because they didn’t even pay attention. Maybe if they ate slowly and enjoyed it, they would have been happy splitting a slice.

Now that I’m much better at eyeballing portion sizes, I want to learn to slow down and enjoy my food more. Take a bite, enjoy the taste of it, have some conversation, sip some water between bites. You get the idea. Go back to what we used to do years ago and make meals a social event to catch up on things, relax, and take a break from hustle and bustle.

Maybe that’s the trick to intuitive eating! It’s not just using your intuition. It’s using your attention. Interesting concept. If we pay attention to our food and how hungry or full we are, I think our bodies might be able to adjust to only eating what we need and not get in a cycle of eating too much. It won’t be an overnight thing to learn, but I’m going to work on paying more attention at meals for sure.

Do you find yourself eating fast or not paying attention? Do you graze even if you aren’t really hungry like I do sometimes?

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