Eating Intuitively: Lessons Learned

Heyyyyyy friends!

It is a short work week here in the U.S.A (and I’m taking Friday off), so for me, today is my Friday.

I’m cool with that. 😉

We’ll be spending the rest of the week at the mountain house with Jared’s family, so it should be super fun!

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First off, the winners of the Kodiak Cakes Giveaway are:

Brianna & Felicia

Yay! Congrats :)

(winners will be contacted & their prizes sent)

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this post is mostly a reflection of what I’ve learned–and it’s a tad bit wordy. Enjoy! 😉

Eating Intuitively: Lessons Learned

As many of you know, I’ve had quite the background of disordered eating & eating disorders. I was anorexic for about 3 years, a binge & emotional eater for about 2.5 years, and then I recovered for about a year or so.

Before all that? I was a healthy, very intuitive eater as a kid/teenager. I ate what I wanted when I wanted. I didn’t worry too much about calories, vitamins, etc. I just ate lots of (naturally) colorful foods, whole grains, beans, and occasional treats. And I was really active (I danced & played sports).

Well, I am back to that healthy attitude toward food! Completely & fully. I have been for some time, of course, but I’ve never really sat down & talked about the lessons I’ve learned from this.

Challenges, trials, hardships, obstacles, what have you, are all there for our learning, growth, and benefit. I don’t wish ANY of my trials on anyone, but I can now say I am grateful I went through them. I learned a lot, and now I can help other people through it. It’s rewarding to do that, as well!

1. Food is fuel. Food can be super enjoyable, yes, but it is first & first most fuel. 

Our bodies need fuel. And our bodies run best on great fuel. So if we care about our bodies, we will mostly fill it up with great fuel (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, lean meats & dairy). Anything that comes from the ground or from a mother-in its most organic/original form.

Eating intuitively allows us to connect to our bodies that we love & honor, and feed that body well. Our bodies ARE smart. They run best when fed well (and do not run well when undernourished or over-nourished!)

eating intuitively

And our bodies let us know when we’re doing a great or bad job–for the most part, we get sick, weak, or cranky/moody when we’re not being fed well, and we flourish, feel good when we are feeding our bodies well.

2. Listen to your body-it is smart!

The above point leads to this one….listen up! Hunger cues are there for a reason. Being sick or weak or moody, often can come from not listening to your body & so it reacts.

I promise that while ‘fun’ food are fun (!!), your body will not love you back if you eat that all the time.

I eat fun foods pretty much every day (ice cream, chocolate, chips), but I don’t really need much of them. And, I don’t feel awesome if I do overeat them. That is a lesson I’ve learned–to listen up!

eating intuitively

Of course I’m not perfect, and I’ve eaten too many cookies on occasion (& usually on purpose b/c they were good!) & thought “dude, I shouldn’t have done that. I don’t feel great.” But I don’t feel bad about myself for it. I simply think “that sucks that I just did that” and move on. And usually, I am back to eating well right away, simply because my body is done with cookies for the evening.

3. When you treat your body (and mind) kindly, they will repay you.

This is SO true!! Eating intuitively again (remember, I did as a kid, so this was re-learning), came for me as a process, but that process began in my mind. Instead of hating myself or being mean to myself (“you’re fat” etc), I changed the talk to kinder words. EVEN if I didn’t believe it yet, I still said them-in my head & out loud. (“you’re beautiful” “you’re worth it” “you look fantastic” etc)

When we are kind to ourselves (which begins in the mind!), we’re more likely to treat (feed!) our bodies better. We’re kinder, more thoughtful, and more at peace, which leads us to make better fuel choices for our bodies.

Fake it til’ you make it with this one. Like I said, I did not believe the things I was saying when I first started my recovery, but danggggg did this help! Just say it, write it, think it, and the belief will come.

And that belief will change the way you view food & your relationship with food. Promise!

4. Don’t over think it.

This is hard to do, because those who have struggled with NOT eating intuitively (or having damaged relationships with food), will over think it. I did. For YEARS.

But no longer. Now I just eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it. And then I (usually) stop when I feel satisfied.

Like I’ve said, most of the time that is really optimal fuel choices (I love kale salad for example), but sometimes my body wants a little bit of sugar or salt, and so I eat it, and then I move on.

eating intuitively

Eat the food. Enjoy the fuel. And then move on. Don’t over think it!

{note: diet books & the huge industry that has come from them probably influence us to over think food wayyyy wayyyy too much. so don’t feel like it’s your fault or problem if you may do this.}

5. Eating well includes taking the time to eat well.

If that makes sense… 😉

You will not feel satisfied if you always eat on the run, scarf your food, or if you over think it. Simply eat your meal at a table without distractions, savor the food, enjoy the tastes, and then go to the next thing in your day.

We live in a time of convenience & fast food, but to tune into your hunger cues & know when YOU are satisfied (it’s a different stopping point for each person!), you have to create an environment that isn’t hurried.

eating intuitively

Of course no one is perfect, so this isn’t often possible, but for the most part, I’ve learned that this is crucial to me knowing whether I am satisfied (or “done”) with a meal or snack.

Rush me while I’m trying to enjoy my snack?? I’ll probably be hungry two seconds later. Jared knows this. 😉

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These are some things I’ve learned & recognized–in myself and in clients I’ve worked with. It is not an end-all be-all answer by any means, but they are reflections I’ve made in my journey & I wanted to share them with you. <3

I also wanted to say, I am so so grateful I learned all of this before I got pregnant. I’m so glad I was at a healthy mindset & place with food & all that jazz long before we decided to start a family!

eating intuitively

{yesterday morning after teaching BP}

{NOTE: I am not a doctor, so please do not misconstrue this with medical advice. Thanks! :)}

p.s. My story IS an example that no matter how great the challenge, there IS HOPE. There is always hope. <3

Well, you all have yourselves a GREAT day!!

If YOU eat intuitively, what are some tips YOU would share with us??! If YOU’re on a journey of this nature, what are some things YOU say YOU’ve learned so far?? What are some of YOUR favorite fuel choices lately?! :)

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Comments

  1. SO true! I reminder myself of these concepts on the days I teach a couple times and become the hunger MONSTER. Its obviously due to the fact that my body needs the fuel! Your body is one smart cookie 😉

  2. Love your lessons learned and I’m so glad that you’re so fit and healthy now, especially with little bit on the way. You look great!!

  3. Sarah G. says:

    These are very good points to remember. I am constantly reminding myself that I am on a journey toward eating intuitively and I just take it one day at a time and don’t expect myself to be “perfect” instantly. I am not a snacker to begin with, so that has made my journey easier in some ways, but my hectic schedule makes it harder to prepare GOOD, quality meals for myself and my husband. But every day I make the choice – do I make time to cook this FUEL for my family, or do we grab something quick? Usually it’s the first one but sometimes not! And that’s OK! :) Enjoy your long weekend (I know I will!!)

    • You’re so right! One day at a time is key, and knowing that each of us will never be perfect. That has helped me get rid of a lot of guilt and/or worry about it all too. You’ve got this!

  4. Love this post! I too have had lots of disordered eating in my past, and I’m so happy to finally be at a point of comfortability with food.

  5. Love this post and agree with everything you said! (Well, apart from me not winning your giveaway ;)). Eating intuitively can be a bit hard at first, but if you just let go of all the control you feel like you need to have and listen to your body, things fall into place so naturally. Amen, sister!

  6. I’ve learned to put gum in, drink tea, and to wait to eat something to see if I’m actually hungry or just craving. Yesterday I waited 2 hours and craved oatmeal the entire time; I figured out then that I was actually hungry. Also, at restaurants, I try to eat only what I am hungry for

  7. Kaitlyn says:

    I love this! I agree with 100% of what you’ve shared! I’m a HUGE advocate for learning to eat intuitively, because like you, intuitive eating helped snap me out of years of disordered eating and binging. You look amazing, btw!

  8. I love this. I’m not an intuitive eater at all (went through recovery a year ago and still figuring things out) and I find myself eating when I’m not hungry and not eating the best foods. It’s a hard process and I’m working on it

  9. Love this Annette! I’ve been working on intuitive eating for years, and I still don’t think I quite have it completely down yet…it’s all about listening to your body and what it needs, whether that’s spinach (With my lunch) or a diet Coke (which was after my lunch today). I do still struggle a little bit with accepting my sweet tooth and those super-hungry days, but I’m definitely getting there.

  10. This was wonderful! I’ve struggled with intuitive eating since going to college. I am now 2 years out and am really starting to see some progress since making it a priority to fuel my body with what it needs but not beating myself up when it is also telling me what it wants! I hope one day I can be as clear-minded as you. Your words and advice certainly help 😉

  11. love that – don’t over think it!! that is soooo true! one thing we try to focus on too :)

  12. Thank you so much for sharing! I am in recovery from a bout with restrictive eating, and fully, whole-heartedly agree with all you said. I so wish I could just go back to how I ate as a kid! I ate when hungry, didn’t when I wasn’t. I ate fun stuff, and then the meat, veggies, and fruit that mom made for dinner. What I wouldn’t give to still be in that mindset. BUT, since I’m not…I love the tips you’ve given. Food IS fuel, and we have to make sure we have enough, and the right kind. And, like you said…God made our bodies pretty darn smart…I’m learning to trust in that, and quit the over thinking.
    Again, thanks for sharing! And enjoy your family time! :-)

  13. Annette this is a great post!! Intuitive eating is so easy for some but you know, I’ve really had to work at it. Each and every day I work at it but I’m so thankful to be able to recognize my body’s cues…even if I don’t listen to them at times!

    You look wonderful babe!

  14. Today is my Friday too!! :)
    I’ve been going through this journey as well. I just take it one day at a time. Some are better than others.

  15. Don’t over-think it…when it comes to food and life :) Enjoy!

    Great post!

  16. This is so good! Our bodies are so smart if we will only listen!

  17. First of all – I LOVE the new layout, etc. LOVE IT! And I love your baby bump – esp in that cute pink shirt. AND I LOVE that you’re healthy and all that jazz, esp w the baby bump! Keep rockin’ girl – so so so proud of you!

  18. So glad to hear of your progress and conquering of very challenging issues. I’ve managed to shift from the diet mentality to a healthy eating lifestyle and now I can do a bit more of intuitive eating. So long as I know the nutrients my body needs are being consumed. Congrats on the bun in the oven!

  19. Annie says:

    Thanks for this Annette :) Your blog has helped me loads on my road to recovery. Sometimes, when I’m emotional mostly, there’s a little voice in my head that says “what’s the point?” but then I make it shut up by repeating over and over again that I may be a lot of things but a quitter I certainly am not. It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes, to think that it has been almost 2 years since I started trying to get better and that I’m still not “cured” but I know I’ve made great progress and that each little step brings me closer to the day where I’ll be able to say “I’m eating intuitively”. Progress & not perfection is what counts and deep down, I know that as hard as it is some days, living a life being controlled by food and feeling ashamed of myself is far worse. x

    • I am so glad I could’ve helped in some small way! You’re amazing for how far you’ve come. Lots of hugs to you, Annie!!! <3

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