So...if you're like me, around the holidays, you probably don't want to be entering “chocolate truffle ” into MyFitnessPal or counting how many carbs are in your mashed potatoes and then calculating how much cardio you'll need to do tomorrow. Am I right?
Now, I don’t have a problem with MyFitnessPal, calorie trackers, container systems, etc. But what happens when we are following something strict like that, is that we start taking our own body wisdom out of it. We start looking to an outside source to tell us what and how much we should be eating instead of tuning in to what our body is trying to say and NEEDS. Some of those systems can be great for awareness. For example, I was talking with someone who was using a tracking app . She told me that she averaged about 2,000 calories per day and she was totally shocked and freaked out at the number. She immediately wanted to cut back to “1,200” calories. (Seriously, why is this some magical number by the way?) But WHY I asked her? Why would you suddenly start restricting and driving yourself nuts when you’ve been able to maintain your body weight eating the way you want for several years? (And we ALREADY KNOW dieting doesn’t work, and can make you gain MORE weight. Read more here: )
Here’s the thing. When you are following instructions from someone else, you're taking away your ability to listen to your OWN body signals. There are so many factors about how and what we eat in a day. You could have worked out extra hard the day before, you could have used up more emotional and mental energy the day before, you could have eaten less than normal the day before and today you’re more hungry, or, you are just having a hungrier day! Also, if you aren't enjoying what you're eating because you're following a meal plan, this will most likely results in overeating or binge eating.
Imagine for a second, you’re in a world that when you wake up, you had an easy relationship with food. You ate when you were hungry, stopped when you were full, had no emotional eating, no binge eating. Believe it or not, it's not a fairytale. I experienced it myself. After being sucked into the the fitness industry and restricting my diet, I've created a better relationship with food. You just have to trust your body. And that takes TIME and practice.
These whole body eating steps will help you become more in tune and empowered with your body and feeling free around food:
Before eating or drinking anything,...
1. Consciously choose whether or not to eat. (Am I really hungry? Will food fill me up?)
2. Tune in to the body to help determine what you need. (Ask yourself, what will nourish me/give me energy right now?)
3. Eat with awareness through the whole eating experience
4. Listen to your body for feedback after the meal. Did the food satisfy you? Would you eat differently next time? Faster, slower? Consume more food, less food, different food? Did you overeat? What would make your meal complete?
5. Release the meal: once you have finished your food, let it go. Forget about eating for awhile. Ask yourself, what's next? and go on to a new activity.
Letting go of calorie counting, MyFitnessPal, and tracking every morsel of food can be challenging. But I promise, the more you’re in a dieting and restriction mindset, then more “out of control” you will feel with food. Experiment with letting go of these tracking tools for a couple weeks and using your body wisdom. I promise you’ll learn a lot and maybe even release some excess weight you might be holding onto because you’re less stressed!