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Intuitive Eating Get the Basics right...

2020 saw many of us locked down with only our fridges for company. Cue panic buying of carbs and tinned goods, sweet treats, and booze. The fear we felt from COVID 19 compounded and transferred on to our waistlines. Many of us eating and drinking our feelings (stress, anxiety) or boredom; or baking with our kids to stop us and them going insane.

For me and as I work with many clients, the real pandemic is our relationship to food. We have been conditioned from a young age to eat at specific times, going against our body’s own rhythms. New-born babies are encouraged to get in a routine as soon as is possible. Even our language around food is toxic. ‘Diets’ as opposed to healthy eating; “treats and Sin days’ only compound the self-loathing when we essentially fall off the food wagon.

A new-born has the natural intuitive ability to cry when hungry and stop eating when full, but over the years through being told to eat at certain times AND finish what’s on our plate intuitive eating is lost and to a point feared.

The very bases of intuitive eating are understanding when you should eat, what your body needs to eat and when to stop, getting these basics right can be tricky as a lot of us can be very apprehensive of feeling physical hunger, or even knowing what physical hunger is for us.

When feeling the urge to eat, ask yourself. ‘Am I physically hungry?’ a few ways of knowing that you are would be stomach rumbles, an empty feeling in your stomach, even a slight light head. This is the perfect time to make plans on what you are gonna eat.

What does your body need right now, think on that, is it craving sugar? You could be low on energy therefore go for slow release carbs to keep you going longer through the day. Are you craving salt/ this could mean your body is low in sodium, which can mean dehydration so look at drinking a pint of water and then seeing if you’re hungry still after about five minutes.

If you’re not physically hungry, what is going on for you right now to make to want to eat? My coaching explores this area deeply to find out what it is that is really craving to be fed.

If you are used to eating at certain times, why? Are you actually hungry at this time or is it purely a habit. Leave it for 30 minutes and see how you feel whether you do start to feel those pangs.

That feeling of finishing what is on your plate is drummed into us from an early stage, with the best intentions! But think about it we were told to overeat and finish our food and then the overeating was rewarded with more food and something sweet is something every child enjoys. This has instilled that food is a reward and the sweet stuff is the prize, putting the sweet stuff on a pedestal where it has control.

So, let’s start to take charge, slow down when you eat, chew! The more you chew the better as the enzymes in our saliva help break down the food and starts digestion. The longer you take to eat the better chance you mind will catch up with your body to tell you you’re full.

When you feel that you are full and satisfied, announce it, push away your plate and move. Those gestures and physical movement will have an impact and support your decision of no longer eating.

If you are feeling that food is the only answer, to stress, to boredom or anxiety its time to look at what really needs to be fed, what is the reason you’re reaching out and what is triggering you.

That’s not an overnight realisation, this will take time and whether you do this on your own or with a coach like myself, be kind, be curious and leave judgement at the door. It’s when we get curious that our answers come, judgement shuts us down.

So, my takeaway from this? Hunger is not something to be scared of but to be explored, whether the hunger is physical or mental, stay curious.


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