We’ve spent the last couple of sessions thinking about how we feel about food, our mindset, the influences around us, and now here’s where things start to get exciting! We’re going to start to put intuitive eating into practice.
IE is made up of 10 principles – guides for how to navigate food and your thoughts. 10 principles is alot. It’s alot for anyone to take in and this is why I created a system that brings it down to just 3 steps and this system is called Eat From Within. You may have heard of that because it’s the name of my membership too.
3 steps is easier to think through than 10 when you’re stood in front of food right?
And these steps are super simple to remember:
- Think body
- Think mind
- Think heart
You’re going to use the 3 Eat From Within steps every time you want to eat. They’re going to help you to figure out what you really want.
It might feel like a very manual, conscious thing to have to do, but as you become more experienced at it the thought process becomes quicker and easier, and intuitive and natural.
Eat from within is all about using the intuitive eating side of you, that you know you have within yourself. This is about helping you to have real food freedom. It’s giving you absolute unconditional permission to eat, because your body knows what it needs and will guide you if you listen to it. It’s about figuring out what your body, your mind and your heart are all telling you that they want and need you to eat right now, and then you honouring that.
Each step brings a different part of the relationship with food. We’re going to do step 1 today – think body – and this is thinking mainly about the physical side of eating.
Step 1, Think Body
The first thing to consider when deciding what to eat is what does your body want?
The body is super intuitive
- The heart beats, your lungs breathe, your brain just does stuff!
- You know when you need to sleep, and then the sleep refreshes and repairs your body
- When you’re ill or injured there are responses to protect and fix you
- When you eat, the nutrients you need are used or stored and the rest are kicked out
Hunger & fullness
Part of that clever body stuff is hunger and fullness. You have hormones dedicated to regulating hunger and fullness. Why don’t we allow our bodies to tell us when we need to eat too, or what we need to eat?
Hunger feels different to different people. For you it could be
- Rumbling stomach
- Less mental clarity or focus
- An empty feeling
- When extreme, it can cause pain
- It feels different for everyone
Fullness feels different too. For you it could be
- Physically in your stomach
- Feeling satisfied and happy
- More energy
- Mentally focused
- When overly full, maybe this is painful?
Sadly though, we choose not to listen to these signals and cues. It is a choice. We tune out and ignore the signals.
(There is a caveat to this: You may actually not be able to feel these things yet. History of dieting and eating disorders can really disrupt that. That’s ok. Sometimes we can’t and it takes practice and for your body to trust you again before it comes back)
Satisfaction is also important alongside hunger and fullness. The Japanese have pleasure as one of their healthy living goals. One of their dietary guidelines is “Make all activities pertaining to food and eating pleasurable ones”.
Pleasure in food itself comes from
- Taste and flavour
- Hot or cold
- Sweet or savoury
- Crunchy or soft
- Big or small
But then pleasure also comes from the environment you eat in. Do you like…
- Quiet, or with music, or for it to be social
- Light, bright and airy, or dim lighting and calming
- To eat at a table, or from your lap
So how do you apply Step 1, Think Body, in real life?
1. Think about what you really want to eat. What is your body telling you?
- How hungry are you
- What do you really fancy, what will satisfy you?
- How much food do you want
Start to say yes instead of no, wherever possible. If you really fancy something, it is usually your intuitive eater asking for it. Honour your hunger and honour your body telling you what type of food you want to eat. Don’t figure out what you want, and then have something else!! This is how your body learns to trust you again, and how you start to naturally regulate and balance the types of food you are eating without forcing it.
2. Make the environment comfortable and enjoyable for you. Think about what you like your eating environment to be and create as much of that as you can.
3. Continue to evaluate your satisfaction as you are eating
- Are you enjoying your meal still or is that diminishing as you eat? (this is normal!)
- How are your hunger and fullness levels? Have you had enough yet or do you want to keep eating? This is not about restriction and having to stop, it’s about recognising the feelings in your body.
- Are you satisfied with the food. Is it hitting the spot?
When you are ready, you can stop eating. You should aim to be comfortably full and satisfied by the food. If you haven’t met both of those are you really ready to stop yet?
Consider hunger and fullness AND satisfaction all together. Remember,
- You can be full but not satisfied
- You can be satisfied but not full
- You don’t have to stop eating unless you want to
A word of caution
Be mindful of mindful eating coaches. Their messages can often be heavily based around eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full, but this is still a form of restriction when used alone. It can very easily turn into another diet or obsession in your head.
Remember there has to be that pleasure aspect for you to be totally satisfied, which will lessen the amount that you graze or binge after.
Know that it’s ok if you can’t feel these things in your body yet.
Have patience. Your body needs to trust you again, and it will come back with consistent practice.
That really was a whistle stop tour of this step. There’s a whole course dedicated to the 3 steps in the membership, so know that it is more detailed but this should be enough to start you thinking about how your body feels about eating.
Your tasks for today
- What does hunger feel like in your body?
- What does fullness feel like in your body?
- If you could have the dream meal, what would it be like? Where would you be? Who would you be with? What is the lighting like? What is the ambience like? What food would it be? Then, what elements of that situation can you recreate for yourself in real life?
- Choose a meal, or even a single food, and really be mindful when you are eating it. Be super concentrated about how you eat. What does it taste like at the start, in the middle, and at the end? Did you enjoy it as much as you thought you would? Did you have enough or did you stop yourself? Were there any other thoughts that came up for you?
Here is today’s affirmation. Take it and use it for yourself.
“I attract incredible opportunities in to my life”
I give you some ideas of what this could mean for your eating habits in the live session.
Feel free to journal your thoughts and your task answers for yourself in private, or feel free to put your thoughts in the comments section here.