I have a challenge for you! In the height of this “resolution season”, I challenge you to choose a goal, instead of a resolution, that is actually healthy. Instead of focusing on the number on the scale or how many days you can get to the gym to get on the treadmill, let’s work on setting a goal that is GOOD for your physical and mental health. Here are some of my favorites:
- Add in more mindful activities, like yoga, meditation, walking, or stretching
- Promise to do an activity that you enjoy every week – hiking, skiing, dancing, etc.
- Make it a goal to help one person every day or every week
- Save your receipts for a month to see where you may be able to cut back on senseless spending
- Give up dieting (because it doesn’t work) and work on eating intuitively!
What does it meat to eat intuitively, you ask? Intuitive eating is a way of eating that was popularized when Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (both registered dietitians) wrote the book “Intuitive Eating” in 1995 (there have been two newer editions of the book published). Intuitive eating is exactly what it sounds like – giving up dieting and eating instinctively. It means eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. It includes allowing yourself to have a treat if you really want it and not berating yourself for doing so. The whole idea is that you learn to nurture your body without starving it, which means settling into the weigh that you were meant to be at.
Are you tired of obsessing about food and weight? Have you tried every diet out there with little to no success? That isn’t your fault – diets don’t work. Are you ready to stop fighting your body and food? Great! It is time to get started on your intuitive eating journey. Below is an outline of the 10 principles of intuitive eating that are discussed in the book. These principles will help you understand the significance of giving up dieting and will give you an idea of how freeing this approach is.
- Reject the diet mentality – by now, you should know that diets don’t work, so why do you continue trying. I have had clients ask me “what else am I supposed to do?” How about trying something different? Throw out the diet books, magazines, articles, movies; whatever! They haven’t worked for you in the past and they aren’t going to this year!
- Honor your hunger – how long have you been purposely skipping meals or depriving yourself of something that you really want? What happens when you get access to that food or allow yourself to have some… usually it’s overeating or an all-out binge. Feeding yourself on a regular basis will decrease your drive to overeat later.
- Make peace with food – food is not the enemy. Food is one of the basic human essentials needed to survive. Quit blaming food and call a truce. Once you stop fighting food, you will stop obsessing about it and it will become a less significant part of your life.
- Challenge the food police – many people look at food as “good” and “bad” and become infatuated with only eating the “good” foods. This is another form of restriction and can lead to overeating later. When all foods are on a level playing field, it takes away the anxiety and tension around eating.
- Respect your fullness – with intuitive eating, you will be practicing mindfulness. You will work on learning to honor your hunger and your fullness. This approach teaches you how to listen closely to the body signals telling you that you are no longer hungry; and helps you learn how to honor those signals.
- Discover the satisfaction factor – this principal is all about learning to embrace the eating experience. You will learn how to be happy with the satisfaction you feel when eating a good meal and the pleasurable feeling of being comfortably full.
- Honor your feeling without using food – as humans, we all emotionally eat at times. Some more than others; however, it is something that we will naturally do because food is a comfort. The intuitive eating approach teaches you how to honor your feeling and emotions without using food every single time.
- Respect your body – genetics has a much larger effect on body size and type then what you eat and how much you move. Start to love and appreciate all that your body does for you and show it respect by fueling it appropriately.
- Exercise; feel the difference – forget about doing intense, excessive exercise that you hate. This principle teaches you to give up on exercise that you don’t enjoy and add in activity that you love. Also, start focusing on how the activity actually makes your body feel, rather than just going through the motions.
- Honor your health – this principle teaches you about consistency and the importance of feeding your body wholesome foods on a regular basis; rather than restricting and skipping meals. Consistency is key to long term health.
Hopefully, I have convinced you to give up the thought of dieting for the new year. There is a much healthier way to start the year out well – all you have to do is pick up the book and get started. I am happy to help you on your intuitive eating journey – just reach out at [email protected].