What the heck is Intuitive Eating??!

As my professional and personal journey continues I am happy to share what's "new and good" with my readers. The latest: I am training to become a "Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor". Whew, that's a mouth full. I am currently a Certified Health Coach and have done some additional training to help understand the role that body image and restriction play in women's struggles to control their diets and weight. Needless to say I have been busy and am learning A LOT.

The idea of Intuitive Eating first came into my sphere while working with Isabel Foxen Duke and studying the program she runs with hundreds of women, STOP FIGHTING FOOD (you can find more about that here). The book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, is mandatory reading for all of her students. I immediately dove in and couldn't believe how it ALL made so much SENSE. It was the first time I felt like I was reading totally unbiased, common sense, yet deeply profound, ideas about weight loss, dieting, binge eating, and other "issues" around food.

The basic idea is this. We all have an 'inner knowing' inside of us. We are born with it. We have instincts that steer us towards and away from certain foods, communicates hunger and fullness, and connects our body and mind in a simple and amazing way.

It is our intuition.

Babies have it in spades. Anyone that has spent time around a baby can see that they clearly know what they want, when they want it, and they don't care what society thinks. Through the years we can become disconnected from our inner knowing. We start to second guess ourselves and seek outside information. Outside information and opinions are fine as long as they don't start to replace our own inner truth. When we place more trust in a book, doctor, diet plan or the latest trend/craze, we are setting ourselves to fail.

Here is a personal example. I KNOW I sleep better when I have a full belly. I always enjoyed a bedtime snack as a child and that habit continued into adulthood with no sleep/health issues whatsoever (a bowl of cereal is my ultimate favorite bedtime snack, but a few nuts and some dark chocolate is a great second choice nowadays). A few years ago I started reading that you SHOULDN'T eat before bed, sometimes as much as 2-3 hours before bed, and that doing so can lead to weight gain and heartburn. Well who wants that??! So I started rethinking my bedtime snack, pushing dinner earlier and earlier and literally white knuckling my way into sleep while my belly growled. What do you think happened. Yep, I started struggling with sleep in a way I never had before. I would try drinking gobs of water to stave off hunger (only to end up getting up multiple times to use the bathroom) OR I would finally break down take a sleeping pill at 1am, only to be left groggy the next day and reaching for carbs, sugar, and caffeine. The point is, I KNEW what worked for me. Science may have done a study but why fix what wasn't broken?

There are 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, guidelines to help us re-learn the way to best feed, move, and take care of ourselves. Here are two of my favorites:

Honor Your Hunger: Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. 

Discover the Satisfaction Factor: When you eat what you really want...the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content...you will find it takes much less food to decide you've had "enough".

 You can find the entire 10 principles outlined here.

I will continue to update my blog with information and "a-ha" moments as I have them. I urge you to get the book for yourself or someone you know who is struggling with the constant battle of weight loss, dieting, or "health fads". Turns out, we all have the best health guru inside of us already!