Feel Your Best Use Intuitive Eating
There is a very special way to know exactly which foods are the most beneficial for you and will help you to feel your best. The term for this is intuitive eating, and it’s simply about using our natural body wisdom to let us know what food would be the most beneficial to us at this very moment. ntuitive eating involves becoming more aware of the intuitive cues that we receive when we think about eating particular foods. Starting to notice and tune in to these impressions can provide us with a tremendous amount of useful information.
Most of us have practiced intuitive eating at one time or another without knowing exactly what we were doing. Perhaps a particular food jumped out at you, or the idea of eating something felt engaging and energizing. On the contrary, you might have been offered a food that made you feel tired just thinking about it. Or even though theoretically it should be the perfect dinner, but some part of you felt a subtle yet very clear aversion to it. Or perhaps it felt downright unappealing, as though you would have to force yourself to eat it!
Suppose you are trying to decide between two different foods. Start with the first food and imagine eating it. How does it feel to you? Does the idea of consuming this food feel inviting and energizing or forced and draining? How does your body feel as you imagine eating this food? Do you feel like you have more energy and feel more alive or does it make you feel tired or perhaps a little off balance? Perhaps you even feel a tad shaky and weak thinking about a particular meal, especially when it’s high in carbohydrates in the middle of the day.
Does one food stand out to you more than the other? Perhaps you somehow perceive it as brighter and more inviting, while the other food seems darker and less appealing. As you become more aware of these messages, a particular food might really grab your attention, almost as though it has flashing lights beckoning you to eat it. Another approach can also be to simply picture each food in your mind’s eye. Try to see how each food
appears to you at this moment. Does one food look brighter and more appealing? Does another food look darker and less appealing? Perhaps it makes you feel tired, weak, or shaky. These are all intuitive clues that you can use to assess which foods to eat. Interestingly, these foods do not have to be right in front of you. You can simply think about the foods you are considering to eat, one at a time. Try to tune into how each one makes you feel, and if it feels inviting and energizing or blocked and tiring.
Expect the Unexpected
The food that speaks to you the most is not always the most logical. For example, sometimes your body might really need some serious calories and nourishment. The food that speaks to you in this particular moment might not logically be the healthiest choice, but it’s what your body needs right now for the caloric density.
I’ve sometimes had a feeling that a particular food will make me feel great even though it’s not the
healthiest choice. I’ve learned to listen to these cues, as they are just a temporary need. They will wind up being a good choice, and I experience a corresponding improvement in the way I feel. On the other hand, when I’ve ignored my intuitive urges in favor of what I intellectually believe is a “better choice”, I have often wound up regretting the decision.
Intuitive Eating vs. Craving
It’s important to note that there is a huge difference between craving a particular food vs intuitively feeling that it is beneficial to you at this time.
Cravings are often overwhelming, and are accompanied by feelings of anxiety and/or excitement. When you are in the throes of a craving, there is often little or no ability to calmly “tune in” to the craving to see if it’s a good option. On the other hand, an intuitive nudge is much calmer, and is simply accompanied by a feeling of expansion, as though eating the food will make you feel more alive and energized.
Intuitive nudges speak to you in a way that allows you to sense that your body is asking for this food, as opposed to feeling a strong compulsion to eat the food. The idea of eating the food actually makes you feel stronger and more energized, as opposed to feeling drained or tired. You will become more accustomed to the difference the more you practice intuitive eating.
Don’t Judge Yourself
Part of the process of becoming a better intuitive eater is overcoming the judgment we normally have about the foods we eat. Intuitive eating involves tuning into a different part of your awareness that is beyond judgment. You are going straight to the intuitive cues you are receiving regardless of how you may feel about a particular food. Perhaps you normally don’t eat a particular food but at this moment, It’s the perfect match.
I recently went through a particularly difficult week. Because of the extra stress, I wasn’t eating regularly. One afternoon while chatting with my brother-in-law, I noticed that he was about to have a bagel. I rarely eat bagels, and would certainly not think about eating them in the middle of the day. All the carbs would normally make me feel tired and would therefore not be a great midafternoon choice for me.
But on this particular day the bagel stood out in a way that really spoke to me. It jumped out at me, and appeared bright and appealing. Internally, I could feel how good I would feel if I ate this bagel, and my body called out to me in a way that I have become quite familiar with. I quickly asked him if I could split the bagel with him, and could literally feel the energy returning to my body with every bite. By the time I finished eating the bagel, I felt like a new person. Clearly, my lack of nourishment during the week necessitated eating a bagel, as I probably needed a dense carbohydrate. What would normally have knocked me out for the afternoon wound up being a complete game changer.
I could have talked myself out of it, telling myself that bagels in the middle of the day are usually a bad idea for me. But I’m so glad that I listened to my intuitive wisdom and ate that half bagel. I felt wonderful for the rest of the day!
How to start
The best way to start practicing intuitive eating is to focus more attention on your body and simply noticing it reacts to the idea of each food. Get quiet and picture yourself eating a particular food. How does your body feel at this moment? Does it feel energetic and powerful or does it feel weak and lethargic? Perhaps it feels a little bit shaky from all the sugar the food contains. Try to get a true sense
of how your body feels as you imagine eating this food.
The more you practice these techniques, the more refined your intuitive senses will become. In addition, intuitive eating will start to become a natural part of your decision-making process whenever you are confronted with different food choices. As you practice this technique, your intuitive awareness will become stronger, allowing you to make better choices, feel better, have more energy, and eat the foods that your body needs.