I’ve been flipping through a book called Appearance Obsession: Learning to love the way you look by Joni e. Johnston, Psy. D. This book says a lot of the same things as Intuitive Eating regarding diets and how they just don’t work. I ran across a list of 6 steps to natural eating, which I thought might be helpful to share with everyone. Natural (or intuitive) eating is really the optimal place to be when it comes to good health and nutrition.
- Understand your relationship with food. Natural eating responds to physical needs for food rather than to emotional needs. A good idea is to track your food for a week or two, and then start looking for patterns of eating as a result of some emotion (i.e. boredom, excitement, anger, etc.); then find another way to meet your emotional need without food.
- Reacquaint yourself with physical cues. In other words, pay attention to stomach growling and other cues your body gives you when you’re getting hungry. It’s a little harder to recognize when you’re full (i.e. satisfied) because most people are so accustomed to overeating. Pay attention to your portion sizes (ex: 3 oz lean meat is one portion, which should be the size of a deck of cards; 1/2 cup of brown rice is approximately the size of an ice-cream scoop). Eat these small portions, and then wait 10 minutes. If you are still hungry, then by all means, eat some more. However, if you are satisfied, then don’t eat anymore. This will help you to learn the sensation of when you’ve had enough to eat.
- Change your dieting mentality. Try to focus on the enjoyment of your food rather than how many calories you’re eating. Although I’m not a calorie counter, I’m very mindful of calories. I try to balance this mindfulness so that I enjoy my food (and others can enjoy their food) without overdoing it on the high calorie stuff. I admit, it’s a fine balance. The other part of changing your dieting mentality is getting rid of terms like “good” and “bad” foods. Nothing is bad if eaten in moderation. When we have the freedom to eat “whatever we want”, we begin to focus more on taste than the quantity of the food. In other words, we won’t eat as much of it.
- Give less “weight” to weight. The more we focus on our weight, the less satisfied we are with it. A lot of the time, our mood for the day is completely impacted by what the scale says that morning. There are better ways to determine body size, like measuring your body fat or just simply going by the way your clothes fit.
- Exercise moderately. Read some of my other blogs regarding how to begin an exercise program.
- Form an antidiet support group. Focus on eating healthy, moderate exercise, and weight maintenance instead.