This past semester brought a lot of challenging classes my way: biochemistry, food science, psychology (@dietetics majors – is any semester considered “easy”?). But by far the best class I got to take was Intro to the Nutrition Care Process. Not only did I get to learn about dietitians in the clinical setting, nutrition counseling, and nutrition related diseases, my professor brought an interesting challenge to us: intuitive eating.
Eat intuitively for 3-5 days: no “good” or “bad” foods; nothing is off limits. Eat when you’re hungry and stop as soon as you are full. To me, this challenge sounded easy. But that turned out not to be totally true.
I, like many other health enthusiasts, like routine. I am a very scheduled and regimented person, and this is definitely reflected in my diet. I like to eat the same foods and at the same times every day. Little did I know this was going to be a huge factor in my intuitive eating challenge. As I began, I realized I really wasn’t hungry as soon as I woke up in the morning, but my habits made me want to eat the second I opened my eyes. I also realized I don’t always crave fruits and veggies, and allowing myself to eat chocolate and ice cream and sweets when I wanted to felt really, really good.
Another challenge of intuitive eating that faced me was that I am definitely one of those people who cleans their plate at every single meal. What can I say, I love food and I want to enjoy every bite! But this challenge taught me to really savor what I was eating and to avoid stuffing myself because I felt like I had to clean my plate. I actually felt lighter and less sluggish, even though I wasn’t eating totally “healthy”.
With each day, the intuitive eating challenge got easier, and I felt a lot more relaxed around food. I felt better about eating until I was full and only eating when I was hungry, even if it meant eating less meals than usual or eating extra. After completing this challenge, I will continue to eat intuitively because of the positive effects it had on me. Not only did I feel less pressure to eat a certain way, I also felt better about my body image. I even decided to switch up my workouts because my body felt more energized and I was more motivated.
So I challenge you to try eating intuitively for 3-5 days. Allow yourself to be freed from the chains that shackle you to regimented eating, and trust your body to tell you what to do.
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