After sharing my last Food Freedom blog post with you, my mind has been reeling nonstop about continuing the conversation. I got such an incredible response from so many of you via emails, comments, DMs etc. and it made me even more excited to keep sharing this journey with you!
I’ve also become determined to do as much as I can to learn as much more as I can about Intuitive Eating – not only through my own experience – but also pulling from the wisdom of others. Since reading Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig, I realized it was probably time for me to read through the “original” Intuitive Eating book as well. I had read bits and pieces of it in the past, but this time I want to delve deeper.
In my last post I talked about my top tips/principles for practicing Intuitive Eating, but I didn’t really go into a ton of detail of my personal “definition” of Intuitive Eating/Food Freedom, so that’s what I want to do now. I do want to note that I am not an expert by any means! These are just some more principles that I make it a point to stick to in order to live my fullest, healthiest life. We all have different stories/backgrounds and health issues, so consider consulting a doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your health routine. Cool? Cool.
1. Nothing is off limits.
There are no good foods or bad foods. I allow myself to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it.
2. Sticking to my “happy base” when I cook/eat at home.
With that being said, I choose to stick to a typical style of eating, specifically when I’m cooking for myself. This is based on a) what makes me FEEL best and b) food/meals I genuinely enjoy! This typically includes a lot of vegetables, healthy fats, animal protein, some dairy, gluten-free grains, legumes, and lots of nut butter 😉 I always leave flexibility depending on what I’m in the mood for, but a lot of the time that style of eating is what my body craves.
3. Always give into my cravings sooner rather than later.
When I do get cravings (whether it’s something within my typical style of eating or more of an indulgence) I make it a point to enjoy that food/meal ASAP. Depriving myself has never worked, and when I let myself enjoy what I’ve been craving, guess what happens? The craving goes away. Mind blowing, right? 😉
4. Dining out usually involves some indulgences.
Dining out is one of my favorite experiences, so I like to enjoy it to the fullest. I also LOVE sharing food with other people. This typically means I indulge in whatever I want to when I’m dining out. Sometimes that means I overeat a bit, and sometimes it doesn’t, and both are okay.
5. Eating when I’m hungry.
I wish I could say that this one is a no-brainer, but there was definitely a time where I didn’t practice this – whether it was skipping a meal or eating when I wasn’t hungry because I thought I was “supposed” to. These days I typically eat 3 square meals a day, sometimes with a snack, and usually a dessert. But if I find myself not super hungry, or particularly ravenous on a given day, I adjust my meals and amount of food I eat based on that.
6. Enjoying a daily dessert.
I’ve mentioned before how I used to try to kick my dessert habit so many times. Then one day, I was like…but why? I LOVE my daily treat! So I began to embrace it as a simple pleasure in life, and it turned out to actually be a great way to satisfy my cravings without going overboard. Most of the time my dessert is a homemade treat, but other times I stop for a nice big frosting & gluten-filled cupcake on the way home. And when I do, it. Is. Glorious.
7. No tracking or counting, ever.
This is a habit that can be particularly hard to break. Anyone who has counted calories, carbs or macros in the past knows what I mean, because it almost gets engrained in your head. In the same way that I had to make a conscious decision to never diet again, I find myself making the conscious decision every single day to not track or “calculate” my meals. The good news is, it gets so much easier the more you practice it! It also becomes such a cool, freeing experience. That simple decision day after day is such a huge step in learning how to trust your body do do its thing rather than trying to micromanage it.
8. No guilt or “starting over” tomorrow.
No cleanses. No detoxes. But most importantly – NO GUILT. When I overeat (which I totally do because HI, I’m human), I refuse to get down on myself about it. Life happens, food is delicious, and sometimes we eat more of it than we’d like. But it should end there! With that being said, I do find that I overeat less with Intuitive Eating because I am enjoying everything I want to eat, but I simply do it in moderation because it’s not mentally off limits anymore. Because of that, I’m able to look at everything I eat as a conscious choice, rather than “being good” or “slipping up.”
Another thing I want to add – and this is definitely part of MY personal definition/lifestyle – is that I don’t think it’s wrong to always have a good base/reset style of eating to go back to after a period of overeating and indulgences (after the holidays, a vacation, etc.), like the Whole30 program. This is an area where I tend to adhere more to Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom concept (over the Intuitive Eating model). I could try to explain this more, but I won’t bother because Ms. Hartwig already nails it in FFF. Have you read it yet?!?
As I said before, these are the principles that are working in MY life – with my schedule, my goals, and what ultimate Food Freedom looks like for me. This might vary a bit for you! Learning and maintaining Food Freedom is an ongoing journey and an incredible experience as you’ll learn so much about yourself.
Pardon me while I beat a dead horse again, but if learning more about this and implementing it into your own life is something you’re interested in, I urge you to grab the books Intuitive Eating and Food Freedom Forever. You’ll be so glad you did, I promise!
I would also love your thoughts & to learn where you’re at in your Food Freedom journey! Feel free to let me know in the comments below or via social media 🙂 xoxo GG