Simply put, it’s the process of learning how to listen to your internal hunger cues. Learning to listen to when your body does and doesn’t need fuel, as well as how much it needs to be satisfied
Diet culture has caused so many of us to fear how much we eat/when we eat and has moved us away from listening to what our bodies actually NEED in regards to fuel and nutrients. Our bodies (when hormonally regulated) are smart and know exactly what they need. Tracking your food can be helpful to a point but we have taken it too far in my opinion. We’ve stopped listening to our internal instinctive cues and have focused on the external. Your calorie tracking app doesn’t know you like your own body does. It doesn’t know your metabolism, your dieting history, your activity level, your hormonal profile, your sleep patterns etc. Nor does it take into consideration that women’s bodies are constantly fluctuating and require more calories at different times throughout the month
We aren’t robots, we aren’t meant to consume an exact same amount of food every single day. Your body is NOT a calculator. There’s a reason why when you are under eating you constantly think about food or what you are going to eat next, because your body still isn’t satisfied, it needs more calories/nutrients. You should feel comfortably satisfied after each meal with no thoughts or obsessions about your next meal. This is exactly why all of the research done on dieting has proved that it doesn’t work long term. Severely restricting calories or removing specific macronutrients always leads to the same result, a lowered metabolism and more weight gained in the long run. Our body wants to achieve perfect balance and harmony at all times. It’s always working FOR US which is why it works so hard to hold on to calories and store them up again after severe restriction as a way to keep you ALIVE.
Restriction causes leptin levels to lower which has a huge effect on our appetite & energy expenditure. Once regulated, leptin levels rise and this tells our body that we are actually satisfied after our meals. How cool is that? When leptin is lowered we feel as if we constantly need more to feel satisfied which explains the constant state of hunger while being restrictive. Ghrelin (another hormone) increases with restriction, thus stimulating our hunger levels even more. This entire process creates a lot of stress on the body. Not being able to stick to a diet doesn’t make you “weak”, it’s just a biological response to try and stop that restriction.
We’ve developed a culture around SPEED and rapid weight loss but this needs to shift. The process of intuitive eating takes time and patience as you develop trust within your own body. The focus should rather be on incorporating more whole foods and learning to let go of food rules such as “no food after 8pm” and learning what foods do and don’t make you feel good/energized each day.
The same goes for body recomposition. The focus should be around gaining strength, properly fueling, feeling more energized etc., rather than being obsessed about the numbers/weight loss. You can be the same body weight yet look very different depending on muscle & body fat percentage. It’s 100% possible to get to a point to intake enough fuel each day, listen to your body & feel good without any need for restriction.
If you need get back on track with good eating habits or you are just not sure where to start then check out my 28 Healthy Habits Nutrition Kickstart HERE. Two openings available!