I wanted a sandwich for dinner — an avocado, melted Swiss cheese, cucumber, and spinach sandwich on sourdough spelt bread. Yum! But before I took my first bite, the “nutritional choir” chimed in, singing: “gluten is bad, bread will turn to belly fat, this meal has too many carbs and not enough protein, dairy is congesting, cucumbers aren’t in season, spinach should be eaten cooked, not raw,” and on and on the mental chatter went. My body was saying, “yes, this looks so good and it is exactly what I want”, but my mind was blocking the pleasure with all of the nutritional noise.
Over the years, my nutrition rule book had burst at the seams and in many instances took the pleasure and joy out of eating. All of the rules made me lose my connection to the most important nutritional teacher — my body-wisdom, my inner nutritionist, my intuition. Learning to break the “rules” has been one of the most empowering and freeing nutritional lessons on my journey. I have truly learned to trust myself, honor my body, and evolve as an eater. It has helped shift my relationship with food, my body, and myself. Breaking the rules took practice, surrender, and a whole lot of trust, but it paid off, it is so freeing and my relationship with food has forever changed and it has inspired me to help others do the same.
We need to learn to unshackle ourselves from the rigidity our nutritional world has created, and open our mind, mouth, body, and soul up to what we truly desire. We need to trust our body wisdom over our book knowledge and our intuition over the projected rules.
If a food does not work for you, your body will instantly give you feedback, through symptoms, to let you know it was not a wise food choice. Some of those messages may be congestion, fatigue, a headache, bloating, indigestion, poor bowel movements, pain, inflammation, a skin rash or hive, a mood swing, or feeling hungry soon after eating. These are messages our body provides to let us know if our food or meal choice was On or Off-path (which by the way, will be different for every single person).
You’ll know if what you ate worked well for you because your body will feel satiated, satisfied, energized, grounded, emotionally balanced, mentally sharp, warmed, joyous, strong, and vital. We need to learn to trust in that body-wisdom and empower our food choices. The more we listen to that feedback, the more we learn to navigate and choose the foods that make us feel best.
Your intuition is the whispering, the hunger pang, the body’s desire for something that will make you feel good, satisfied, energetic, healthy, and vibrant. It is your knowing and inner nutritionist guiding you to eat what it really wants, not what it “should” have. There is a big difference! When we eat the “shoulds” we are often left unsatisfied and craving. When we eat what we would love, we feel satisfied, whole, and complete.
Often there is conflict within ourselves between what we really want to eat and what we think we should eat. You may desire cooked food, but the latest craze tells you to eat raw. Your body may be asking for grains, but the latest fad tells you to eat a Paleo or Keto diet and grains are going to make you fat. You may desire yogurt and cheese, but you have heard dairy is bad for you too. You think you should drink Kombucha because you hear how good it is for you, but when you do it makes you bloated and you don’t really like it! What to do?! The nutritional rules are endless and they can leave us feeling stressed, stifled, confused, lost, and like you just want to give up and not care anymore about what you eat.
With all of the conflicting and confusing messages in the nutritional world and the disconnection to ourselves, due to the busy and electronically-connected life we live, our intuition gets ignored or is so quieted we don’t even know how to listen to it or hear it anymore. But the more we listen to our body, the more we learn to trust it.
In order to hear that whispering upon making a food choice, It is important to slow down, be silent, simply ask your body what it truly feels like in that moment, and listen. “Body what would make me feel really good right now?”
Intuitive eating is about eating with trust, presence, a quiet mind, and with the intention of honoring your body. It is the most evolved way of eating you can reach on the nutritional ladder of consciousness.
What we eat isn’t meant to be static and linear and one way. You may notice this as the seasons change or in different phases of your life. Your body naturally starts to ask for different foods, tastes, and textures. The wisdom is to not fight it, but to surrender to it, trust it and offer your body what it wants — without judgement, but rather with curiosity.
Our bodies evolve and change, and so our diets and minds need to as well. When we stick to rules and rigidity we block our own inner-nutritionist which ultimately creates the stress response. When we eat under this restricted and fear-based ambiance, not only does our meal not taste as good but we no longer digest and assimilate our food or burn calories optimally. We also block the joy of eating and nourishing ourselves.
As you grow in consciousness with your body and food, you awaken the intuitive eater within. You get to the point with your food where you allow your body to guide you, in the given moment, of the given day, in the given season, and phase in your life as to what it wants. The mental do’s and don’ts about food are quieted by the body’s inner knowing. This is eating in the flow.
What if you learned to trust what your body wants to eat with no guilt, shame, stress, or conflict?
How would your relationship with food look and feel like if you ate from that evolved and conscious place?
What would happen if you relaxed when making food choices and let your body-wisdom guide you?
It is time to give yourself permission to break any rigid rules you may have around food that are hindering you and creating a stressed and anxious relationship with food. Give it a try — no fear, no guilt, no chatter, no judgment, no rules. Just simply eat what your body is asking for with trust, curiosity, experimentation, joy, pleasure, and love. That is wise eating!
Yours in health & vitality,
Originally Written for www.youate.com