Using your intuition in the kitchen is about so much more than food. Nourishing your body is so much more than food. Which is why I sound like a broken record with that statement.
I talked about the value of listening and what that brings you in health and in your life, if you missed that you can read that [here]. As you may have already started to see and hear that getting quiet and being still someday’s is hard as sh*t. The days that you need it the most are the days when you want to do it the least. Remember that. I like to look at learning to listen to my inner voice as a game, because well, if I took it seriously I would probably lose my mind.
Using that voice to guide you in the kitchen creates freedom. Freedom from food police rules, freedom from what the interweb world says you should be eating, freedom from what your friends tell you you should do to lose weight, freedom from feeling like crap and finally, freedom from the pressures of the outside world and chronic doctors appointments!
Learning to tap into this voice and use it as your inner nutrition guru takes practice, dedication and willingness to TRUST. Understand that this process is NOT linear. Repeat after me, this process is NOT linear. There will be ups and downs.
You may or may not eat a whole bag of chips before you realize, heeeeeey I can eat these tomorrow if I want to because, well, there isn’t a rule that I have to follow about not eating potato chips. I can guarantee you that once you eat the whole bag, once or twice, you won’t want to anymore…… After following your inner food police for years ( which is your ego by the way and tries to talk you out of what your intuition is trying to guide you towards) you WILL have a period of time when you will eat up lots of chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc.
All of the foods that you’ve been telling yourself, or the interwebs have been telling yourself are bad for you. You ARE going to eat the shit out of them, plain and simple. So give yourself permission to do so. I promise you won’t gain weight….. This period of time is the diet rebound…. it’s natural. It’s supposed to happen and it won’t last forever if you’re inner food police is asking that. Challenge the shit out of the food police to tap into your inner nutrition guru. Challenge the food police and tap into those hunger cues!!
1. Challenge The “Diet Rules”
Whenever you hear in your head a “diet rule”, challenge that voice by asking…. is this logical? Examples: Don’t eat after 6pm, Carbohydrates are bad for you, Fat is bad for you, you should only eat healthy food…. What’s the truth in this? What happens if I DO eat after 6? What happens if I eat carbs? Ask yourself, is this sustainable…. the answer will be NO. So once you have that answer, keep it moving and become aware of any “rules” that make no sense on a sustainable level. For example: Eating after 6pm— what will happen if I do this? Welp, I won’t be ravenous when I wake up, my metabolism will actually keep working instead of storing everything as fuel, well, I may not want to binge on cookies if I give myself permission to eat after a certain time.
2. Tune In to Your Hunger Cues
This is real y’all. Most people have no idea what pleasent hunger feels like. We often are only aware of that feeling of “ omg, if I don’t eat something right now I am going to fall out” that’s unpleasant hunger creeping up and your last chance before your body starts eating your muscles. Sounds fun right? So, how the heck do you notice pleasent hunger cues? What does pleasent hunger feel like? You know that feeling where you’re like, yeah, I could go for some food right now…. that’s pleasant hunger. We are taught most of the time that we need to eat every ____ hours. I mean, I recommend that to my clients that are just starting out in trusting themselves again in the kitchen AND I do that in this case as well.
Where it is true that we need to eat every few hours, it’s different for everyone. It’s different every day. Some days we eat more than other days…. the body has this amazing ability to balance out the intake of nourishment. So for example, if you are busy one day and the day just got away from you and you didn’t eat as much as you normally do, guess what, you’ll probably be hungrier the next day, that’s your body’s way of adjusting to that imbalance so you don’t go into starvation mode. So listen to that, give yourself permission to eat at different times everyday.
This is often where we get stuck in food rules and start to develop these rules around timing of meals…. Relax a little and give yourself permission to listen to your hunger. Give yourself permission to eat a variety of amounts. It really comes down to this, when you are feeling like you could eat, EAT. If you constantly wait until you are about to fall out, your body is going to quit giving you the pleasant cue, which is often why we have no idea what that actually feels like.
So what I recommend is this: set an alarm on your phone for every 2 hours. When the alarm goes off ask yourself, am I hungry? If the answer is no, then cool, if the answer is, mmmm I could go for some food right now- eat something. Do this for a week or so and you will notice that your pleasant cues will start to come through and you’ll actually notice them. On another level, this will increase your metabolism because your body will recognize it and respond with– okay cool, when I ask for food, I get food, so I’ll also use the food as energy (because, well, that’s what it is) instead of hoarding it for winter and holding on to everything that you eat!
This is just the beginning of using your intuition in the kitchen! Taking this is stride is the key to success…. next up- Cravings. They are there for a reason, and that reason probably isn’t what you are thinking….. They are there to help you. Stay tuned…