Thursday, February 7, 2013

Intuitive Eating

Before the doc pronounced my carb sensitivity in a way which I was open to hear, I would have told you that I was practicing Intuitive Eating. I would not have been lying to you, not consciously at least. When I started eating low-carb, I moved thoughts of Intuitive Eating to the back of my mind. But I realized this week that I am following it more closely now than I was when I actually claimed to be following it. I have really tuned in to the needs of my body. I do pay more attention to when I'm hungry and when I'm not. It does not follow the same path every day. 

It seems like eating low-carb goes against the tenants of principle 3:

Make Peace with Food. Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

But in retrospect, I don't think it really does. I have indeed experienced that intense overeating -- usually at a Mexican restaurant -- I just can't resist a basket of warm chips and a bowl of fresh salsa. A bag of tortilla chips from the grocery store? Pfffft. That has no power over me. My family has chips at home all the time. Doesn't tempt me a bit. But those warm tortilla chips in a Mexican restaurant? Forget about it. They are my Kryptonite. Knowing this helps a little bit. I try to stay away from them when I can and when I can't I give myself permission to indulge without guilt. But you know what? I feel like hell when I do! Not guilt -- I don't beat myself up for being "weak" or "bad" because I am neither of those things -- I feel really physically bad. The tummy ache that you might expect after a person who generally eats moderately eats without inhibition, sure -- but more than that -- I feel sluggish and exhausted and generally gross.

Sometimes it's worth it, though...

It's a conscious decision.

I find that I just know when it's time for me to get some carbs into my system. And it's usually -- surprise, surprise -- every 7-10 days, just like the doctor ordered. Sometimes it is a little sooner than 7 days -- and I listen to that message when my body sends it. Sometimes I actually go longer than 10 days and I listen to that message as well.

Principle 5 is one I'm still working on, too:

Respect Your Fullness. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you're comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

Man, that one seems like it ought to be easy, doesn't it? But sometimes the food is just too delicious to stop when the belly holds up its hand and I just keep eating until it waves a white flag. Lifetime member of the Clean Plate Club. I'm working on it. I'm trying to undo 5 decades of abuse, here -- it doesn't happen overnight.

I am much more in tune than I ever have been before. My body never wanted all of those carbs -- they always made me feel sluggish and -- gross. But I didn't make the association. I just thought that was the way I was supposed to feel. That was my normal. 

The new normal is better.

My body speaks.  I listen.


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