Michael Pollan says to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Dr. Atkins suggested, “eat either three regular-size meals a day or four or five smaller meals. Do not skip meals or go more than six waking hours without eating.” In French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano writes “French women love bread and would never consider a life without carbs.” And then there’s J. Lo challenging her 93 million Instagram followers to cut sugar, carbs, condiments, most fruits, alcohol and dairy from their diet for 10 days to become super lean.
I’m not necessarily knocking any of this as purely bad advice, but it definitely can become very overwhelming trying to weed out the good from the wack when it comes to our diet. When I say diet here, I should clarify that I mean purely the food that we eat on a daily basis rather than a restrictive set of behaviors.
I love sharing recipes with you, and try to give some insight into what I eat both here on the blog and also via Instagram. In my opinion, food can be nourishing, fun, and communal which is why I like to post photos and share interesting seasonal ingredients that I’m loving. What I never want to do when sharing my food ideas or even meal plans for challenges is to make you feel anxious or overwhelmed with respect to your relationship with food. IF you’re actively trying to lose weight, take this all with a grain of salt, as I strongly believe in the science of proper portion sizes, calorie counting, and listening to your body’s cues - like, stopping or slowing down when you take that first big inhale (if you’ve been on Activation with me, you’ve heard all this).
With all that being said, I wanted to talk about Intuitive Eating, an approach to nutrition that respects your body and aims to break a toxic diet mentality. An intuitive eater is defined by a few main behaviors (there are actually 10 principles to the approach but we’ll focus on just a few here):
Makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma
Enjoys the pleasure of eating
Sounds simple, right? Not so much if you’re a person who has chronically restricted food or weight cycled over the years. Without realizing, we internalize so many aspects of diet culture like categorizing foods as Good/Clean versus Bad/Sinful. Breaking yourself of that mindset is one of the first steps toward eating intuitively and growing a respectful relationship with food.
Another key component is discovering what hunger feels like to you. Intuitive eating encourages you to discover what your personal cues for satisfaction and fullness feel like, and meet those needs. Also, it can help you realize that allowing yourself to become excessively hungry sends all of your intentions of moderate, conscious eating running for the hills. Determining your biological signals and respecting them is important (and not always easy to do)!
Intuitive Eating also stresses the importance of finding fun, happy ways to move your body. If you’re reading this, I hope Studio LB is that positive method for you. By this approach, exercise is supposed to energize you rather than punish your body. If you’re using exercise only as a way to lose weight or to justify eating more food, you will not stick with it and you will inevitably be disappointed.
Finally, food should taste good and be enjoyable to eat. What is the point otherwise? Try savoring your meals and choosing ingredients that make you happy and energized. Keep in mind, this does not have to be the exact same every day. You are the expert of your body, and only you can decide what fullness and satisfaction mean to you.
If finding a balanced, positive approach to eating feels like too much to take on alone, ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian or check eatright.org for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
You can read up on the full Intuitive Eating approach in Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book, originally published in 1995.
And I’m always here to chat all things food, ingredients, and recipes on the Studio LB hotline 424-327-5470.