For the last couple of months I have been following the principles of intuitive eating.
Basically it involves eating what you want following certain guidelines. It isn't a "diet". It is about listening to your body and recognizing what your body is needing.
I can't really remember when I started doing this but I went to the doctor in November with my knees. I weighed X. When I went a few weeks later, with the flu, I weighed X-9. I felt like I had lost weight but I certainly hadn't been trying. I gave up soda years ago but with the flu all I wanted was 7 up so I had 7 up. When I was well, I didn't want it anymore and I haven't had anymore.
So, what happens is you get in touch with your body's hunger cues. There are some visuals and graphs out there to help you and I feel like the best thing to do is to start in the morning, when you are empty, and see what it feels like to be empty. Take a look at the chart below so you can get some idea where you are in your hunger and see where you want to be. Ultimately you want to be at 5 or 6. When you get there you stop eating and don't eat again until you are hungry.
Another visual that you can carry with you all the time is your fist. Your stomach is about the size of your clenched fist. That is the same amount of food it will take to get you to #5 on the chart above. So, when you go to the restaurant clench your fist, look at the size and look at the food on your plate. Chances are there is enough food there to pack up and take home for another meal. That should say something for the portions in restaurants.
So, yes, this is about portion control as well.
It is more about portion control and your body's hunger cues than what you are eating.
Eat what you want within the guidelines above. And sometimes you won't, you will eat more, but it is all about balance.
Dessert? Yes, when it is appropriate, making sure that you stay at 5-6 on the chart.
Sounds easy, right? In the beginning it isn't -- especially if you are a dieter and used to following "rules" about what to eat, when to eat, when not to eat, what to avoid. However, after a while of doing this it becomes second nature. If you eat slowly you can anticipate when you are approaching that 5-6 slot on the chart. Follow that old etiquette trick -- put your fork down between bites and chew your food well. You will soon recognize when your hunger is satisfied.
I was never a breakfast eater. My mother had to struggle with me to get some toast/tea down me before school. Of course, halfway to lunch I always ended up with a headache only relieved by lunch. The problem then? Having to eat breakfast too early. Now, I don't eat when I first get up. I am up at least an hour and a half before I eat.
What is my usual breakfast? I am trying to make good choices so my breakfast usually involves oatmeal laced with raisins, blueberries, cinnamon, butter, and honey. Today I added some strawberries that were going to go bad if I didn't use them. I am pretty lactose intolerant so I use Lactaid. I don't like all the rice milks and almond milks. I have tried. Not going to happen.
I am satisfied. I am at a 5. I feel like I have made good choices.
I am planning lunch out because that is what we do and we got a bunch of restaurant gift cards for Christmas. There is a lovely restaurant around the corner from us that is American/Italian home cooking. I have looked at the menu and am thinking the salmon looks delish.
We will eat a very light dinner after lunch out. Soup, toast, cheese and crackers -- just light fare. We have both learned that we feel better and sleep better going to bed at about a 3-4 on the scale.
So, I have fallen off the plan what with the Girl Scout cookies in the house. Today I am consciously dealing with that. Am I going to eat some? Yeah. But only when it is appropriate and in a reasonable amount. Why? Because if I keep the chart and the fist in mind, it will be ok.
Now I am going to take my gimpy knee upstairs and try to walk on my Tony Little Gazelle. I am sure it isn't going to be good but we will see.