Organize Yourself Healthy Book – 2024 edition coming soon!

Organize Yourself Healthy: Routines Around Intuitive Eating

The holidays will be here before you even notice. I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat very well during this period. This month we have Sara Foote, a Registered Dietitian sharing her healthy ideas with us about intuitive eating routines. I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I did.

Intuitive Eating, or IE, is a daily practice of listening to your body and choosing foods that will nourish and satisfy you without judgment, shame, or guilt. With Intuitive Eating, the same value is placed on an apple, a salad, a cheeseburger, and an ice cream sundae. That’s to put it simply, but essentially, the idea is that when we forget all the stories and dieting rules, our body will guide us to the foods and portions that are perfectly made for us, versus trying to cram ourselves into someone else’s idea of healthy eating. 

Doesn’t that sound nice?  

Intuitive eating is a practice, something you need to keep centered in your mind every day and every time you might think about eating.  

How do you build a routine around a practice?

You already have lots of routines around eating, food, and mealtimes. Maybe you have a routine for the morning, before bed, or when you get to work, and some things may just be muscle memory. Some of these habits are fueled by emotion and reactions to the world around us. 

Many of our actions aren’t even our own conscious decisions, but just what we have accepted, what we got used to, what we have tolerated over time, or whatever follows the path of least resistance. 

Intuitive Eating removes the emotion from an action. The term Intuitive Eating may sound flowery and woo-woo, but it is more neutral of emotions. IE recognizes and acknowledges the emotions you already have toward food and allows you to choose from a place-based rather than as a reaction to stress, hunger, happiness, grief, powerlessness, and other emotions. 

Building a New Routine Around Food

Think Before You Eat
Decide Your Outcome Before You Choose
Enjoy Until You Don’t
End Before You’re Finished
Take Note

These are the new steps to your IE Routine. Think about your day. How often do you eat? When do you go to the cupboard and just stare? How often do you go to the pantry and munch your way through snacks? what time do you start to make dinner?

Once you have an idea of how your food routines are already running, you can start to interrupt patterns and eat more intuitively.

Think Before You Eat

Before you take that first bite, ask yourself: How Hungry Am I? You can rate this on a 1-10 scale. Depending on your rating, that will help guide the best food choices for you.   

If you’re over a 5 (pretty hungry), you might be looking for more of a meal, with foods that will have all the macronutrients, fats, carbs, and protein.  

If your hunger rating is less than a 5, but you are looking for something, maybe it’s a smaller snack to hold you over until your next meal. Think about the foods that satisfy you in that way.  

Key Point: This is a No Judgment Zone. Your hunger is a biological response, just like having to go to the bathroom or sneeze. The consequences of trying to control this can be binging on foods, having decreased energy, being irritable, and/or muscle loss. 

Decide Your Outcome Before You Choose

Using your hunger as your guide, choose foods that are going to fill you up. If you just have an apple when your hunger is an 8, you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re back at the pantry less than an hour later.  

You may also need to consider how full you want to feel. If you’re not very hungry at mealtime, then take smaller portions or split something with a friend. If you know certain foods make you feel bloated, tired or give you hives, then you get to decide if you want to feel that way and if the taste is worth the outcome. 

Key Point: YOU get to choose. You choose how you’ll feel after you’re done eating. Choose with Love and Respect for Your Body. 

Enjoy Until You Don’t

Once you decide how you want to feel after you eat and what you’re going to eat, think about how good it is.  

Are you enjoying this food? Is it hitting the spot? Are you going to be satisfied?  

If the answer to any of these is NO, then put the food down and try again. Why waste time and taste buds on foods that are just going to lead you back to that pantry or vending machine in a little while?

Key Point: Food has to be enjoyable to truly satisfy. Sure not everything is going to be AH-MAZING, but if you know you can do better at the time, then you might as well try again. 

End Before You’re Finished

About 10 minutes into a meal or snack, it’s good to do a full systems check.  

How full are you right now? Check-in with another 1-10 scale, 1 being not full at all and 10 being super-Thanksgiving-dinner full.  

If you’re still under a 5 halfway through the meal, then decide what you need. If you’re over a 5 consider how many more bites until you’ll be satiated. 

Key Point: You are the translator between your stomach, brain, and the hand that holds the fork. They need to trust each other and work together to keep you feeling your best. 

Take Notes

Lastly, when you finish a meal or a snack, take a mental (or actual) note about the food you ate and how you felt.  

For example: Remember that when your hunger was an 8 and you had a PB&J for breakfast, you felt really good, had enough energy and didn’t get hungry again until lunchtime. Remember that when you ate a salad and a banana for lunch it kept you wanting more and you ended up grabbing a candy bar around 2 pm.  

This type of information allows you to choose differently next time. Use your internal checks and balances to choose the foods that will ultimately keep you feeling your best. It’s also good to remember that sometimes feeling your best is having a margarita and nachos with your besties. Perhaps, feeling your best is a banana split on the beach or a green drink with avocado toast. When you use your body cues you can enjoy all these foods to build your healthiest and happiest life. 

Sara Foote is a Registered Dietitian and City Mom of 2 Boys. Being an RDN for 13 years, grappling with being a working mom, and struggling with her own food issues, she now coaches women to reach their health goals with the concepts of Intuitive Eating and Behavior-Based Changes. Sara believes that women shouldn’t have to restrict calories or beat themselves up to love the amazing bodies they already have, but they do have to believe they deserve better. You can find Sara on Instagram @sarafootewellness or her website

Check our blog for more tips on how to organize yourself healthy

, ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: