As you read yesterday, I was a bottle full of frustration last week. I wanted nothing more than to ditch my food scale - literally toss it off of my balcony and see it smash onto the concrete parking lot below – but, as much as I was determined to do so, I was holding back due to fear. Fear of not knowing how to listen to my body and its hunger cues since it has been such a long time since I’ve last done so.
But, with the support of my parents, boyfriend, and personal trainer, I experimented this weekend. This weekend I experimented with intuitive eating. No food scale or measuring cups allowed which meant no weighing or measuring, just simply eating. Eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full. Simple as that. Ok, that’s a lie. Intuitive eating may seem simple to many of you, but to someone who hasn’t actually listened to their hunger cues in years, intuitive eating can be quite challenging. But, I thought it was worth giving it a shot for the weekend. Baby steps. Two days of eating intuitively.
Saturday morning was when my experiment began.
I woke up at 10:00 am and didn’t feel hungry whatsoever, so I waited. Instead of following my “plan” and eating within the first 30 minutes of waking up, I waited. It felt strange, but I was fully committed to my experiment and wanted to go the entire weekend eating intuitively and really try to learn how to listen to my body. So, I continued to wait until I felt hungry for breakfast.
At 11:00 I was starting to feel hungry, so my boyfriend and I began to make breakfast. We made a “breakfast hash” with turkey sausages, sweet potatoes, red onion, and grape tomatoes. We roasted everything in a pan together and sat down for breakfast around 11:30.
We divided the hash into two portions. I had no idea how much protein, carbohydrates, or fat was on my plate. It was amazing. I felt so free and was able to sit down and enjoy my entire meal with my boyfriend.
When I was done my plate, I felt a little more full than normal, but I was ok with that. I think that’s the feeling I should have if I’m wanting to gain weight.
My workout took place at 1:00, so my breakfast was the perfect pre-workout meal and it definitely kept me satisfied and gave me energy to power through my leg workout. After my workout I had a protein shake ready for me.
An hour after my shake, I was ravenous, so I listened to my body and ate again.
My boyfriend and I spent the remainder of the afternoon at the mall. Hunger struck both of us again while at the mall around 5:00, so we stopped at the food court and grabbed some food. It was fun going with the flow, eating when I was hungry, and honouring those hunger cues.
When we got home from the mall, we were both feeling a bit hungry once again, but dinner wouldn’t be ready any time soon, so we munched on Crunchmaster crackers, hummus, and bruschetta to hold us over. This, again, caused me to feel very free. If I were following a “plan” I would have felt limited and slightly anxious while “snacking” on foods not on my plan, but when eating intuitively, snacking felt right. It felt normal. I was actually living life like I used to. I wasn’t paying attention to time or macros.
We finally had dinner around 8:00. Later than my usual dinner, but that’s life. Following a structured meal plan dependant on time is not the life I want to lead. It was fun eating later (and it was delicious, too!)
Sunday was much like Saturday. I slept in until 10:30 and wasn’t hungry right away, so ate breakfast when I was hungry, which was about an hour later. I didn’t go to the gym on Sunday, but I had a mad hunger that followed me throughout the day (I’m usually very hungry after leg training days), so I honoured my hunger cues and ate when I was hungry.
Over the weekend I didn’t measure or weigh any of my food and it felt freeing not knowing how many calories or what my macro breakdown was at the end of the day.
Over the weekend I didn’t eat according to a schedule. Instead, I ate when I was hungry. It felt normal and a lot less stressful.
Over the weekend I wasn’t paying attention to time. I didn’t look at the clock to check if it was “time” to eat again. Again, this made me feel free, less stressed, and very much alive.
The way I lived this weekend, not measuring, weighing, or timing, is the way I believe we are meant to live and eat.
God didn’t give us any rules about having a certain macro breakdown or to eat every 2 – 3 hours. Instead, I believe He would want me to eat when the body I have been blessed with tells me to eat, to stop eating when I am full, and to live life feeling alive and free.
Overall, I was very happy with how my weekend played out. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I absolutely loved living without feeling constrained to a certain macro % or the time on the clock. Like I said, I felt so free and very very happy. I also feel that I can gain weight by eating this way. On Sunday night, my boyfriend and I made taco salad. I loved the meal so much that I went back for seconds and then kept picking afterward. I would have never done this following a “plan”, but I was able to do this while eating intuitively and it felt normal.
But, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I have to be honest here. The one thing I did struggle with was knowing what to eat when my hunger struck. I wanted to make the “right” choice and I know this type of choice should be calorie and nutrient dense (ie. I cannot be eating veggies to hide the hunger pain), but since I am so used to thinking about macros, it was slightly challenging for me to choose a snack. I know it will come easier with time, but that is my current struggle.
So, the main things for me to keep in mind while learning to eat intuitively are:
1. When I am hungry I need to choose calorie and nutrient dense foods.
2. Be mindful when eating and enjoy the foods I am eating.
3. Keep the word “balance” in mind. As one of my commenters stated yesterday, my food needs to balance my lifestyle.
Of course, this is all a learning process, but I have an incredible support system and faith in myself that I can do this. I am determined and will keep taking the baby steps necessary to get me to my end goal – eating intuitively all of the time.
Thank you for all of your support and lovely comments after yesterday’s post. Many of you shared similar experiences to me. It seems as though many of us don’t actually know how to listen to our bodies, huh? But trust me, I believe it is possible. Reach out to the people around you. Seek support. Experiment! The few baby steps I took this weekend really boosted my confidence and assured me that I am on the right path and that I can do this
P.s. there is an IE Challenge being hosted by Jamie for the month of March. I highly encourage you to check this challenge out if you’re wanting to eat more intuitively and improve your relationship with food.