With a new year comes new healthy lifestyle habits I’m sure we all have some bad habits that we want to get rid of. When it comes to eating too much, or eating when and what we shouldn’t, we really need to learn to listen to our body. The problem is that we tend to eat when we’re bored, and when we think we should be eating, like lunch time and supper time.
Bad Eating Habits
Please don’t misunderstand the point that I’m trying to make, lunch and supper are very important meals, but let’s say you’re away from the house for awhile, and you eat something at around 3 in the afternoon. When you get home around supper time, you don’t necessarily need to eat just because it’s supper time. If you’re feeling hungry, then eat, if not, then don’t, and have something when you’re hungry.
Another bad habit that we have is eating until we’re full. If we don’t feel full, we must not have eaten enough, right? If only that were true… Once you stop feeling hungry, your body is telling you that it doesn’t need any more food. By eating until you’re full, you’re eating until your body tells you that it can’t take any more food. At this point, you’ve eaten too much.
You have to listen to the advice your body is giving you. If your body doesn’t need the calories that you’re feeding it, then it’s just going to turn the food into fat instead of using it for energy, which you will just need to burn off anyways. Healthy lifestyle habits start when we can learn to listen to what our body really wants.
Snacking Just to Snack
Do you snack much between meals? If you’re hungry, then it’s not a problem, but do you snack just because you’re used to eating at that time? Or maybe you’re watching a movie and you just need to have that bag of popcorn to go with it… Are you hungry, or is this just a habit that you’ve developed?
The next time that you watch a movie, try leaving the popcorn in the cupboard. I guarantee that it’s going to feel a little weird at first, but keep it up. Within a month, you’ll have formed your new habit, and you won’t even miss the popcorn anymore. Or you could instead snack on some raw veggies, maybe with a dip. You will still get a satisfying crunch, but the veggies are more filling and way better for you.
Practicing Intuitive Eating Habits
Intuitive eating, in a nutshell, is listening to your body. There is no diet or guidelines to follow. You learn how to listen to your body and it’s cues to tell you when you are hungry or full. There are no ‘bad’ or ‘off limit’ foods, and no calories to count, because you are eating only when hungry, and you eat only until your body is satisfied.
A few ‘rules’ about intuitive eating:
- Rejecting Diets – With intuitive eating, you reject the idea that there is a ‘diet’ out there that will work for you.
- Honor Your Hunger – Pay attention and listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry, and eat foods that will fill you up and satiate you.
- Food is not the Enemy – Diets promote the idea that some foods are ‘bad’. Intuitive eating doesn’t cut out any foods, instead, teaching you how to choose the right foods in the moment.
- Recognize What Full Feels Like – This is a big part on intuitive eating. Knowing when to stop eating. You learn to recognize and respect when your body is full.
- The Satisfaction Factor – Being satisfied and being full are not the same thing. When we learn to sit down and allow ourselves to enjoy a delicious meal, it’s easier to be satisfied.
- Coping Without Food – It’s important to find ways to deal with your emotions that don’t have to deal with food. Emotional eating is a big problem for a lot of us, intuitive eating helps to combat that.
- Respecting Your Body – Instead of looking in the mirror and criticizing everything you see, respect and celebrate everything you already can do. Respect yourself in this moment.
- Feeling the Exercise – Instead of trying to find the cardio that burns the most calories, find what feels best for you. Focus on how the exercise makes you feel; energized, alive, strong, etc.
- Honor Your Health With Food – While there are no ‘bad’ foods, intuitive eating still focuses on the right foods. Make a point to recognize how foods make you feel. Honor your health by eating foods that will keep you healthy. Intuitive eating is about building healthy lifestyle habits that feel good and natural.
To sum all this up… Intuitive eating is NOT about going to McDonalds for a Big Mac everyday. It’s about learning the difference between being hungry or bored. Or the difference between feeling full and feeling satisfied.
Intuitive eating absolutely means you CAN go get a burger every now and then, but respecting your body and your health are what really makes intuitive eating a smart way to implement healthy lifestyle habits.
Build Habits That Stick
Building healthy lifestyle habits is an important part of living a healthy life. Start with small steps, and when you’ve formed your first couple of healthy habits, you’ll be more confident in tackling the big things in your life that are preventing you from living a healthy lifestyle.
When children see their parents choosing healthy things over unhealthy things, they are much more likely to choose healthy too. By making the healthy options available, familiar, and consistent, your child will be able to make smart, more informed choices and he or she grows up.
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