Intuitive Eating part 4

Principle #10 Honor your Health- Gentle Nutrition

The book saved this chapter for last because they didn't want people to get so caught up in the details of nutrition that they lost sight of giving themselves permission to eat!  Is nutrition important?  Yes, of coarse.  But so is listening to your taste buds and preferences!

If my life had a motto, I think it would have been "all or nothing".  In fact, I used to write in my journal, "I hate the word moderation!".  I just didn't get it.  I wanted to be valiant.  I wanted to be a hard worker.  I wanted to be strictly obedient.  So, I'd set out on a quest to be a perfect eater...or a perfect exerciser.   I'd valiantly cut out all sugar from my diet.  I'd obediently wake up at the crack of dawn every morning to complete a six+ mile run.  Just a few examples of my "all" behavior.  But eventually I'd crash and burn and do- well nothing.  I'd of coarse recuperate and the cycle would repeat itself. Sometimes I was "perfect" for months...sometimes just days.

I credit my time as a missionary in Spain and later weight watchers to helping me shake off that "all or nothing" mentality. I'm not perfect, but I can say that you won't find any more hate entries about the word moderation in my journal.  We're buddies now...most of the time (like I said, not perfect). :)

And I think that is the way that intuitive eating approaches nutrition. Gentle nutrition- basically just a form of moderation.  A balance between nutrition and preference.

I'm not going to go over the details of what is required to have a healthy diet.  I think most of us are experts about nutrition.  Instead, I'm going to share excerpts from the book regarding this "gentle nutrition".

"Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well.  Remember that you don't have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy.  You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating.  It's what you eat consistently over time that matters.  Progress, not perfection, is what counts."

"...moderation does not mean elimination...moderation is simply eating various amounts of food without going to extremes of either too little or too much."

(Umm, I don't think I want you to see our stash of ice cream in our freezers.  I am probably a little guilty of throwing moderation out the window when it comes to the ice cream department.)

"...balance is intended to be achieved over a period of time- it does not have to be reached at each and every meal.  Your body does not punch a time clock."

And last, but not least- Julia Child.  She took on the task of moving Americans towards a healthier diet without giving up on eating as a pleasurable experience.  Some things her and other chefs came up with were-
-In matters of taste, consider nutrition, and in matters of nutrition, consider taste.
-Negative, restrictive approaches to eating do not work.
-People need to be steered toward a healthy diet they can live with, without guilt.

Principle #11

Just kidding. :)  There is no principle 11.  But I wanted to share a few last stories and quotes, but I didn't know where to fit them in.  So I'm just gonna randomly throw these out there.
There was a story about a woman that was feeding an alley cat.  The cat devoured every scrap of food she fed him.  As she was feeding him, the image of a pampered cat came to mind.  The finicky cat was pickier with his eating and would maybe even leave some food behind.  This was a turning point for this woman because she realized that far too frequently, she behaved more like the alley cat.  I take away two things from this story. #1- Never get so famished and hungry that I feel as desperate to eat as an alley cat. :) #2- Be picky!  Don't waste my eating on mediocre things, but eat what I really love.  If I don't love it, I don't have to finish it.
The next tidbit is something I've noticed about myself.  Sometimes I may slightly overeat one meal for whatever reason, but I don't stress about it or let guilt overtake me.  I just listen to my body.  And the majority of the time, my body will compensate for the overeating.  For example, if I eat a large dinner, often the next morning I'm not as hungry for breakfast.  So I eat a smaller breakfast...or I wait until I am  hungry, and then I eat then.  Now I'm not advocating becoming a breakfast skipper.  We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I'm just saying, listen to your body.  If you're hungry, eat.  If you're not, wait until you are.  Eating is a lot funner and more satisfying when you're hungry anyways.  Eating this way reminds me of some counsel I received once from my mission president in Spain.  I was confiding in him that I was worried about my weight.  He smiled and said something along the lines of, 'Sister Wilkins (that was my name & title back then as a missionary) when you're hungry, eat.  When you're satisfied, stop.'  It was such simple counsel for what seemed to me to be such a complicated problem.  But I felt like, "Duh!  Why didn't I think of that?!".
The author Geneen Roth stressed the importance of eating when you can really savor & pay attention to what you are eating.  She compared distracted eating to "daydreaming while engaged in a conversation.  Even though you are physically present, you don't experience the words.  "...the sense of being somewhere but not really being there, the 'sorry, how's that again?' feeling...The conversation or event took place, but because attetntion weasn't present, it didn't take place ofr us, in us.""
"One of our clients aptly suggested that Intuitive Eating is about waiting and learning to be patient.  She finds herself waiting to eat until she is hungry.  Then she describes waiting during a time-out in the midst of her meal to see if she is full.  When she is experiencing a difficult feeling that she used to cover up with overeating, she now sits with the feeling and waits it out until she feels better.  And in the bigger picture, she is waiting for her eating to normalize so that her body will return to its natural healthy weight.  She says that this process has taught her to be more patient than she has ever been in her life.  She has decided that patience is golden, that what she has learned about herself as she patiently waits is more valuable than all the pounds she has lost. "
And my last tidbit- PRAY!  I think the Lord is in the details of our lives and he wants us to be free from those things which hold us captive.  And disordered eating, dieting, and excess weight are all things which can keep us captive.  Pray to him.  I may not know the exact counsel you need, how to say it or where you are at in your journey, but He does!  Pray in specifics and he will answer in specifics.  
Last but not least- have you ever read the 'Can you stay for dinner?' blog?  I love her story!!  I think she is definitely intuitive with her eating and exercise.  Check it out!

And, totally unrelated pictures that make this post just a little more interesting...

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