Intuitive eating has quite literally changed my life, I actually was just thinking to myself the other day how I haven't had a "cheat meal" in over 8 months because I don't see any food as a "cheat" anymore - food is just food to me now. That alone is a HUGE deal because I used to obsess over every little thing that I put in my body, I weighed and counted and tracked everything - it was horrible. I would allow myself "cheat meals" and then I would beat myself up over it the entire next day and tell myself that I had to workout for longer to "work off the extra calories" WTF right! Because of intuitive eating I don't see foods as black and white anymore, there are no "good" or "bad" foods, yes I know that some foods are more nutrient dense than others and I tend to gravitate towards those nutrient dense foods 90% of the time because they make me feel good and I actually enjoy them. But I don't feel bad if I want a glass of wine, a cookie (or 3), sushi, yam fries or all of the above. I have zero restriction and feel zero guilt now towards food and it feels fucking amazing.
Intuitive eating is like freeing yourself from a toxic relationship. Just think of dieting as the bad boy you used to crush on in high school.. You know the one who you kept coming back to even though he’d totally play with your emotions and leave you super unsatisfied (in more ways than one) yeah that one. You’d tell yourself you weren’t going to see him anymore (dieting and restriction) but then sure enough he’d text you, you’d try to talk yourself out of seeing him and tell yourself that you were in control but you’d cave eventually (aka eat the restricted foods). See when you diet and restrict yourself of foods because you’ve labeled them as “bad” you’re just allowing those foods to have control over you. Suddenly you’re craving and giving in to foods (or men - no judgement) that you didn’t even think you liked that much to begin with but because they're "off limits" to you your brain wants them even more. When you remove the labels of “good” or “bad” from food and just listen to your body the cravings go away because you don’t think of anything as "off limits" - kind of like as soon as that bad boy you wanted wants you back he suddenly isn't so attractive anymore right?
When I first ditched my food scale and started intuitive eating 10 months ago (read more about my transition HERE) trying to figure out my hunger cues and my body seemed next to impossible. I had tracked (and obsessed over) my food intake for so long that I literally had no idea how to listen to my body. I was nervous and uncertain and my new "intuitive" food choices took me so long to make that I didn't feel like I was making any progress whatsoever. It took a long time for me to get to where I am now and I'm still not perfect (no one is) sometimes I think a little too hard over what I'm going to eat and question what it might do to my body a little too much but those thoughts are few and far between for the most part and on a good day it usually takes me a maximum of 60 seconds to decide on what I'm going to eat now - unless I'm out to eat but thats just because I'm indecisive and I want one of everything (HA).
BEHIND THE SCENES OF INTUITIVE EATING
I thought that I would share what a normal day of intuitive eating looks like for me because I get asked what I eat in a day all the time. Every day is obviously different and my schedule is pretty all over the place lately but I tend to stick to some basics and just change up certain things here and there so my meals don't actually really change too much from day to day!
MONDAY AKA TODAY
Now that it's light out earlier I have been waking up at around 5:45-6am naturally which is both a blessing and a curse because productivity is at an all time high but your girl also loves sleep. I take my temperature to track my fertility, wash my face with warm water right and then I meditate for 10-20 minutes depending on how I'm feeling.
Then I head to the kitchen and make myself a big mug of warm lemon water, I juice half a lemon and fill half of my mug with filtered room temperature water and half with boiling water. Next it's time for caffeine, I have been rotating between matcha and coffee but regardless of which one I pick I always make my caffeine bulletproof and my recipe is always the same; beverage of choice, 2 tsp MCT oil, 1 tsp coconut butter, 1.5 scoops of vital proteins collagen, splash of unsweetened cashew milk (I don't measure I just pour until it looks creamy), 1 tsp raw honey and a dash of cinnamon - then I blend for 30 seconds on low in my ninja and head to my laptop to get some work done before I go workout.
I like to workout fasted so I rarely eat before 10am anymore, but when I'm home from my workout I am HUNGRY so do not try to get between me and the kitchen. Monday is always leg day for me at the gym so I usually gravitate towards something more carbohydrate dense because I am 10/10 starving after I work legs but today I was feeling a smoothie so I had a smoothie (yay for intuitive eating)! My smoothie today had (get ready for a long ass list); 1.5 cups unsweetened cashew milk, ice, 1/2 of a frozen banana, 2 cups spinach, frozen steamed sweet potato, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 tsp each of four sigmatic superfood mushroom blend and hydration blend, 1 scoop of vital proteins dark chocolate & blackberry collagen peptides, 1/2 scoop organic chocolate vegan protein powder, cinnamon, 1.5 tbsp of peanut butter! I don't have smoothies for weight loss or to cut calories, my smoothies are super nutrient dense and contain the same amount of calories as a normal meal - no hanger for this girl!
My smoothie held me over for a good 4 hours which was perfect because I was out o the house shooting some content! Lunch was a huge salad with mixed lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, peppers 1/2 a roasted sweet potato, black beans, 1/2 of an avocado, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast and a dressing of balsamic vinegar and dijon. It was super yummy and satisfying, like I said before my body craves this kind of food because it makes me feel good and because I don't have any restrictions so there is no right or wrong way to eat to me anymore!
At around 3:30 I started to feel kind fo hungry so I made a little snack. I had half of an organic banana, a spoonful (or 2 or 3 but who's counting) of raw almond butter, a handful of sea salted pistachios and a piece of my freezer fudge.
Dinner tonight is a perfect example of why intuitive eating is the best thing ever, it's Mike's moms birthday and we are going out for dinner to celebrate - something that would've scared the literal shit out of me in the past. Last year I would have (and probably did) pre checked the menu to see what I could modify and order or I would have restricted myself all day to "make up" for what I really wanted to eat at dinner. I would have been so stressed all day and wouldn't have been able to appreciate or enjoy my loved ones or celebrate her properly. Food controlled my life, I missed out on so many opportunities and events because I didn't know ho to cope with not eating perfectly and I lost out on so many memories. Looking back I can't believe I was ever that blind to my craziness, I can't even imagine missing out on something because of food - food is the best thing ever and memories are so much more important than calories!! So for dinner we went to her favourite sushi restaurant and I ordered; an avocado and cucumber roll with forbidden black rice (so much better than regular rice, if you haven't tried it you HAVE TO) and wild salmon sashimi!
After dinner we went home to have cake which to be honest I didn't eat because I don't like the way I feel when I eat processed sugar or dairy so I try to stay away from that stuff, it has nothing to do with restricting myself of it though if it was dry free I would have gone to town ( a girl can dream right). I did make a snack tray to munch on for when the bachelorette in on though (judge me I dare you) the snack plate is pictured at the top of this post and it has; dark chocolate, fruit, crackers, hummus and nuts - easy, nutritious and restriction free, just how I like it! I'm going to enjoy the snacks with a glass of wine while I watch (starts at 8pm) which again is something that would've been unheard of for me last year but is now a weekly occurrence because I know that it won't do any harm to my physical progress and will only do good for my mental progress.
MY ADVICE TO YOU
If you are trying to make the switch to intuitive eating and feel lost or unsure just know that that is totally normal and to be expected! The most important piece of advice that I can give you if you are transitioning is that it's okay to not be perfect. Every day is going to be different and come with new challenges and new wins and some days are going to feel better and be easier than others. You just have to accept that you are exactly where you should be in your journey and you are doing the best you can! I can promise you that if you are patient with yourself and allow yourself room to not be perfect and to grow then eventually listening to what your body is telling you and making conscious intuitive decisions will be a piece of cake.. and guess what? You can actually eat that piece of cake if you want to because that's what intuitive eating is all about!
xo - LU