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– Weight Watchers Freestyle™ – Over 200 satisfying ZeroPoint™ Foods
– Dukan Diet – 100 unlimited foods
– Diet 5: 2 – eat 5 days and follow a 2-day diet
– National Health Nutrition Program – eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, do not skip meals, do not snack between meals
– To be healthy you have to be vegan
– No, to be healthy, you have to eat meat and fish …
– You have to eat without sugar, without gluten, without dairy, no, you need dairy for calcium… but eat without fats, except for avocado and nuts – no, don’t actually, these are fattening! But eat without carbs!!!
That is crazy!!!! If like myself, you have been (or still are) a serial dieter, then you’ll know what I mean. All these diets and theories contradict themselves constantly. It would make you wonder what’s the healthiest way to eat!
What if there wasn’t just one way ?
Just as we are 7 billion people on earth, each and everyone of us being unique, why would there be only one way to feed ourselves?
Just because a method works for some, does not mean that it will work for others …
To be honest, counting calories and points is not my thing. I find it too restrictive and not sustainable long term. And when I hear friends telling me that they are “not allowed” to eat certain foods, just because they’ve decided to go on another diet, it makes me sad – because that’s what I used to do…before I started to listen to my body.
Did you know that our body is equipped with an inner compass that informs us when it’s time to eat, what we need and when to stop?
I ask you this question because after more than 25 years of dieting, restricting myself and following programs to the letter, I did not know that … I would rather listen to someone else telling how and what I should eat than listen to my own body.
I would eat the prescribed foods and quantities at the prescribed times.
Interestingly, when I started listening to my body, I naturally became pescatarian (I don’t eat meat but I eat fish, dairy products and eggs). Suddenly, everyone around me became very concerned about my health, explaining to me that I couldn’t be healthy without meat. That MY BODY needed it. Ah Ah! That was back in 2012 – and I’m still very healthy and not craving meat, at all.
Maybe you’re wondering why did I stop eating meat?
Simply because I listened to my body. I was never a big meat eater anyway. I would eat meat more as a habit than a desire. I only ate beef, poultry and pork. I used to pick at any piece of fat or blood vessel I could see and it had to be cooked very well done – no blood thank you!
In November 2012, I stopped eating it. It was very easy and I do not miss it at all.
So I’m not telling you to stop eating meat as I believe that everyone should eat what they want according to their needs, tastes and beliefs.
I’m just suggesting to listen to your body, which is something those diets don’t talk about. They tell us what and when to eat, but they don’t talk about our inner compass – that amazing system that tells us when we’re hungry and when we’re full – as well as what we need to eat. Once we learn – or re-learn – how to use it, life becomes much easier!!!
When I started connecting to my body’s needs and recognising my hunger as well as my feeling of being satisfied, I was amazed. I then went onto listening to what I wanted to eat, which is usually healthy and wholesome foods. I’m rarely attracted to processed foods. It’s fantastic because that way, I never overeat, which is very freeing. That’s what I call eating intuitively.
Today, I’m going to share with you 4 steps to identify the feelings of hunger and feeling satisfied which are the first steps towards eating intuitively.
I recommend you to follow this plan during your rest days, so that you can eat at a time that suits you. The day before, plan or even prepare your meals so that it’s ready for when you get hungry.
STEP 1 – Wait to feel hungry before you eat each meal
Hunger is the signal that our body sends to inform us that it is time to eat. Just like our car would have a read light coming on when it’s time to go to the petrol station.
Everyone feels hunger differently. Personally, I feel a hollow in my belly as well as gurgles. When that happens, I always crave savoury and healthy foods. And once I sit down for my meal, I really really enjoy it!!
So waiting to feel hungry is the best time to eat because you’ll really enjoy your meal. It’s at this moment that the definition of “nourishing your body” takes on its full dimension.
The desire to eat without hunger, on the other hand, is usually the result of a negative emotion (we want chocolate or a glass of wine because we need comforting) or positive emotion (we want a glass of champagne or a pastry to celebrate something) or because we are bored. That craving is not always for sweetness, it can also be savoury (a piece of cheese, crisps…).
Here’s what I want you to do:
For each meal, wait until you feel hungry to eat. Then take notes of the sensations you feel, the time you became hungry and what you feel like eating. Also note any emotion you might feel.
STEP 2 – Time to eat!
Now, serve yourself a small portion, even if you are very hungry. Make sure you sit quietly to eat without distractions (no phone, book, television or computer). You can take more once you’re finished if you’re still hungry. Focus on your meal… mindful eating…
STEP 3 – Chew chew!
Chew each bite thoroughly, until it’s almost liquid – which will make you eat slowly but also to release histamine, a neurotransmitter that not only increases the metabolism of lipids but also informs the brain that you have eaten enough. That’s why if you’re used to eating fast, without chewing enough, it’s very difficult to receive this message in time, so you end up eating more than you need. Usually, it takes about 20 min.
STEP 4 – Stop eating!
As soon as you feel full, stop eating, even if you’ve not finished what you have on your plate, even if it’s delicious, even if you’ve been told before that you had to finish your plate! If there is anything left, put it in the fridge and you’ll finish it later, when you’re hungry again.
Trust your body.
Try this exercise for several days, it will give you a good idea of your natural rhythm and the times you need to eat. Maybe you’re not hungry at breakfast or dinner and you eat out of habit?
Plus, by getting used to eating slowly and chewing well, you will eat less and you will feel lighter.
To help you, I’ve designed a “Hunger Tracker”, where you can take notes of the sensations you feel when you get hungry, as well as the times and the emotions you might be experiencing when you sit down to eat. For pure enjoyment and optimal digestion, it’s ideal to feel relaxed and happy. Writing it down will help you to get to know your body. You can download the tracker below >>
I would love to hear from you! What’s one insight or takeaway you got from this article? How does hunger feel to you? Leave a comment below to let me know 🙂