I talk a lot with my private coached clients about Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, and building a Healthy Lifestyle. I gotta be honest, as a trainer I get a little perturbed that we can’t just use the word diet anymore as part of our vernacular. It’s been so bastardized by the big players in the game that we have to come up new definitions and terms on how to lose weight.
Stick with me on this because I have some awesome points I want to make. I understand most of you reading my blog do so because I lost 100lbs and I keep it real with advice and my own struggles to keep the weight off, successes I have with how my life has changed, and advice I have for you with some of the tips and such I implement in my own life.
One thing I did when I lost my weight was DIET. I said it. I DIETED off 100lbs of fat that I didn’t need on my ass, thighs, tummy, and joints. I’d be blowing smoke up your butt if I said every day was easy. It wasn’t. There were so many times (and I still have them yo) where I WANTED a dessert, I WANTED to go out to eat, I WANTED to stop at the drive-thru for a burger, and I WANTED to eat a bag of chips because my kid had a bad day. But my DIET said no.
What I somehow did during this time of “suffering” and “deprivation” where I had to eat a salad when fried chicken tenders sounded better, ordered water when everyone else was having beer and wine, and we cooked at home because if I went to IHOP with my family I was not getting an egg white omelet was define what I wanted.
What I wanted MOST in life was to feel good. Simply put – I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’d wake up each day hating how I looked, I’d get winded doing simple things, one more trip to the plus size department was breaking my soul, and the worst part is I took my self-esteem issues out on everyone around me. I had let my out of control diet take control of my life all because those chicken tenders, burgers, nachos, ice cream blizzards, and glasses of wine sounded good.
I no longer wanted to say the best part of day was what SOUNDED GOOD. I was ready to FEEL GOOD.
It’s hard though. Losing weight is a sacrifice. It doesn’t mean you can’t have good things to eat. You just don’t get them all the damn time! If you are going to lose weight you have to balance out your scales. For a long time you enjoyed way too much. When you get to the point you want to lose weight something in you is done with that. It’s not ENOUGH. The question is are you ready to swing the scale balance the other way? You are going to have to do a lot of stuff you don’t want to do.
Yep, even if you are an intuitive eater you are going to have to say no to cravings. Sure you can have a little fun but if you think each day you can call yourself intuitive by only eating the stuff you crave you are kidding yourself. Intuitive isn’t just listening to your taste buds. It’s also listening to your HEART. If you eat all you want today to only wake up tomorrow hating yourself; that’s not intuitive. That’s turning on the mute button to what your HEART desires.
Mindful is the same. I love to feel stuffed. LOVE IT. I can’t do that. It’s not fair to my body to eat too much, it’s not fair to my family to listen to me bitch when I’ve ate too much and feel bad, and it’s not fair to my mind to just fulfill a physical desire. Hell, I desire to drive a Ferrari but I don’t just go steal one. I don’t like jail.
This brings me to how I “naturally” became an intuitive, mindful, and healthy lifestyle girl.
For me it’s a matter of blending food with enjoying my life. And enjoying my life has little to do with food. I sat back once and thought about how much time in a day I spend eating. It’s a good 30 min. a day if I’m taking my time. Seriously? I stress all day over 30 min.? Well, that’s just stupid.
I sat around and figured out what HURT me most: was it the way I abused food to the point of being overweight and obese or the fact that I had to give up things I love to have a life I could love.
Intuitive/Lifestyle/Mindful eating morphed into one thing for me and my DIET. As I was losing weight I knew life sucked without nachos. I found a way to make them at home. Life is incomplete without burgers and fries so I started skipping to the top part of the bun, share my fries, and eat slow. And life REALLY stinks if there isn’t wine involved like most days of the week. The days I have wine I don’t get the burger. I get the chicken and vegetables or I eat just a small salad for dinner in exchange for a couple of glasses.
Dieting and keeping your weight down takes some sacrifice. And for those of us who LOVE to eat the sacrifice can feel ridiculous because we are always MINDFUL and INTUITIVE. It’s OK though. Embrace it. When you quit thinking how hard it is and focus on what it DOES for you then the work becomes easier. It has for me and it took about six years for it to be more my life than making a big plan. It’s worth it though. I enjoy my life so much these days. I want this for all of you.
My diet is pretty easy these days. I don’t follow any rule other than play with food, timing, amounts, etc., until you know it is working FOR ME in my life. I don’t look at macros, sometimes I journal and sometimes I don’t, and I just move a lot doing stuff I like (BTW, that’s changing too).
I know that’s vague. But my day or week is like this and it works for me.
1) I prep HEALTHY food on Sunday. I don’t ever miss this. I have my meals done ahead of time. If I have quick, healthy options around I eat them. When I don’t…I eat crap. Easy enough. Those meals are usually at least one big salad a day. I make sure it’s a salad I LOVE. My favorite is a Cobb. I do either Mason Jar Salads or I just have all the ingredients I need to throw in a bowl and each week I change out the protein for variety. And then I make something I like for dinner. It can be ANYTHING. Yes I have casseroles, homemade nachos, whatever. I don’t limit myself to chicken and vegetables. I make sure to eat a HEALTHY version of foods I love. That’s not deprivation in my book.
2) I eat bigger meals and less snacks. One thing I know is that I enjoy feeling fuller but not stuffed. My meals are typically around 500 or more calories and included something sweet. Example, I will do a big all vegetable salad often at dinner and then make my Frosty-like Shakeology so I can have my ice cream treat (and it serves as protein!). It works for me just fine. I get a dose of healthy and treat.
3) I keep easy snacks around. For the days I do need a snack we’ve got them. In our family snack drawer we have bagged nuts, protein bars, rice cakes and peanut butter portioned cups, pumpkin seeds and we also always have fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, yogurts, cottage cheese, etc. Yes, we ALL eat these things. Even Logan feels better when his snacks are better!
4) I eat when I’m ready and not at a time the experts have said is right. My body knows! Breakfast is usually later in the morning. I quit eating when my feet hit the floor. I realized my morning tummy growl wasn’t for food; it’s for water. I started drinking a cup of coffee and water and next thing I knew I just wasn’t hungry until about 9am. I also often eat dinner at 4pm. It’s not with my family but it’s when I AM HUNGRY. I’ll eat my dinner and when the boys eat I sit with them and enjoy a little fruit and we talk. I don’t have to be feeding myself to have time together. The only “rule” I try to follow is post-workouts that are tough I make sure to have protein/carb within 1-2 hours. Some days I do a shake and some times I just eat my lunch.
In the end, I boil down my diet to being active, eating when I’m ready, keeping good stuff around me, and realizing I had to redefine what enjoying a meal was for me. Was it simply eating what I only craved or was it more than that. Was my diet going to satisfy more than my physical desire and start filling my emotional desires? Yes, eating healthy can fulfill you emotionally. We get so focused on it making us feel good RIGHT THEN that we forget healthy food can make us feel good for much longer and in ways our “comfort foods” just can’t.
I can tell you this and it sounds trite…but every piece of cake, french fry, fried chicken, mashed potato, pancake, and more that I have walked away from during the past eight years isn’t chasing and plaguing me. I woke up this morning happy, ready to have my coffee, and planning a day at the pool with my son. I didn’t wake up fearing being in a swim suit, regretting what I ate yesterday, and worried about what I will eat when we go out tonight. I’m going to feel so good in my skin today that I won’t need to eat junk. I’ll be so happy that I feel good that I will WANT to eat good things for my body.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can’t boil intuitive eating and such down to just the decision you make on what goodie will satisfy a craving. Sometimes it is about the cookie or the piece of delicious cake your mom made. But more times than not, the food you want is more about the things you are not intuitively looking at in your life like job stress, family issues, money issues, loneliness, bored with your life, and more. Truly being intuitive is honoring all of your life’s desires and needs; not just your mouths. That’s when you know you can just call it a diet – what you eat to make your body work right.