I am in the early stages of my Intuitive Eating journey (more in this earlier post), I have obviously read and reflected on the first principle: rejecting diet culture. I am taking some time out to reflect each day about where I have witnessed diet culture in society and myself and how I may be consciously or sub-consciously restricting myself.
The first thing I have been aware of is that I am still clinging to a hope that I will get thinner during this process. That may well the case as I am working to listen to my body about what and when to eat which so far has been far less sweet stuff than I would have thought and also far less food. I was already noticing that if I ate too much bread or wheat generally I felt bloated so try not to eat it too often. I also had noticed that if I eat a lot of carbs at lunchtime I feel tired and groggy afterwards, but if I don’t eat enough carb or protein, (I realise that I don’t eat enough of protein in particular throughout the day which is particularly important during menopause) I get hungry again late afternoon and crave sugar. This is what listening to my body looks like, rather than restriction or harsh rules, it is more about what makes my life more comfortable and responding to my needs. Having tweaked my lunches in particular I feel like I have more energy and less bloated. I am also enjoying sampling a variety of different teas after lunch/mid afternoon rather than just sticking to my decaf black tea with milk or a straight green tea. Variety is the spice of life!
In all honesty I have also noticed a bit of sneaky restriction. For example, having one fewer corn cake for my breakfast than I would have done previously. Is this because I don’t need it or because I am trying to lose weight? I am paying attention to it. That said I have also allowed myself a chocolate bar when we went to the cinema, just because. I am trying to have a balanced approach to food, eating what I really fancy, rather than just eating what we have or the kids want. The same for exercise, I have started a routine of doing a variety which is needed at my age (thanks for the information and a jump start from Debra Atkinson), but also so I don’t get bored. This is comprising of a mixture of aerobic workouts twice or three times a week ( YouTube including zumba), yoga a couple of times a week (Yoga with Adriene), strength training twice a week (again using YouTube), my new padel classes (tennis/squash type game, which is huge in Spain), walking and swimming) and I have also found a surprisingly energetic walking football team to join, plus a rest day. I have started to incorporate a stretch followed by a 15 minute strength/yoga practice each morning so I start the day with exercise (if I can bring myself to get up by 6). This gets it done and apparently is the best time of day to exercise and is certainly cooler here at that time.
I have adapted my breakfast routine as a result to have a small breakfast e.g. yogurt or fruit about 20 minutes (even if it was an hour before according to many experts for menopause, in particular) before doing aerobics or strength exercise (I do my meditation immediately after eating). Again apparently peri-menopausal or menopausal women need some food prior to doing some exercise, yoga or pilates do not require food beforehand (and for yoga is actively encouraged you don’t eat at all). I then have something else a bit later on.
I have spent longer on Principal One than I intended, but school holidays and life have got in the way. I have noticed as time has gone on I am a little bit less tuned in to what my body needs and maybe a bit more tuned in to what my mind wants e.g. chocolate or carbs when I am just tired or feeling a bit down or bothered about something. The key thing I am trying to remember in all this is bringing awareness and compassion to everything I experience .
I have no doubt that this combination of exercise I enjoy and body awareness is helping me feel stronger, healthier and more positive. I am also enjoying my food more and a variety of fresh ingredients. I feel like I have more energy to do things throughout the day and am certainly procrastinating less, although I have been achey a few days due to the change of exercise routine. The main thing is that I am on the right path and will keep going. Watch this space!
Have you adopted Intuitive Eating into your life? How have you rejected diet culture? Or what are your views about diets generally? How do you tune into your body? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences below.