Intuitive Eating Pillar 4: Explore How Different Foods Feel in Your Body
Here is Pillar number 4 out of the 6 Pillars of Intuitive Eating! If you aren’t familiar with my 6 Pillars check them out here. These pillars are a framework to structure your intuitive eating journey around. In previous posts we have laid down the groundwork in understanding the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger (Pillar 2), and learning our bodies’ hunger signals (Pillar 3). We now can start to explore how different foods work with our bodies.
Ever since my leaky gut diagnosis, I have become very in tune with how my body feels after consuming different types of food on a regular basis.
It seems to me that as a society we are slowly becoming more aware of how different foods feel in our bodies, but this is only out of necessity. We start to pay attention to our bodies only when something has gone wrong (I am a perfect example of this).
But it should not have to take an illness or an allergy for us to start paying attention to how food works in our bodies. As a society we have lost sight of the fact that food is fuel. It is here to fuel our bodies so we can sustain ourselves. That is it. That is all food is here for.
We have made it so much than it is. We have given it so much power over us and our emotions. But if we start to look at food for its quality of pure nourishment, we are able to shift our mindset from looking at food as an enemy to looking at food as an ally.
Through this process of mindset change, we can create healthier bodies and minds.
Now, I am not saying we can create thinner bodies, however depending on the situation that may be a side effect. But we can create healthier, better feeling, better fueled bodies.
When we think about the food we eat, most of the time it is to sustain us, which I call nourishment eating. However, there are other times when it is for pure enjoyment and that is OK. (For more in-depth definitions of the four types of eating go here). That is what intuitive eating is all about–finding the balance between the two types.
In order to find this balance, the first step is to find out what foods work best with your body for nourishment eating.
So now the question is, “How do we figure out what works for our bodies and what doesn’t?”
First of all this is not a hard science with fast and hard rules. We need to have some flexibility and a playful attitude with testing out different types of food. There are so many “health experts” contradicting each other, giving these grand sweeping statements about a certain kind of diet or “super food.” It can be hard to ignore their advice.
With different diets, such as paleo, vegan, low carb, ketogenic, comes different rules. For us, especially those of us who have a restrictive mindset, or are most comfortable with restriction, following these diets are very tempting. Giving ourselves a label and going with it without any concern as to how our bodies feel about the situation is often how we proceed. And I speak from experience.
My suggestion is to let go of your preconceived notions. Think about this as a time to really get to know yourself and your amazing body that is all yours. You have the power to feed it WHATEVER you want to feed it. You have to power to care for it the way you see fit.
This is your time to explore and discover.
If you do need a little structure in your exploration, the food inventory worksheet here will help you through the discovery process. Once you find a food that works for you in your body really well you can note it here on the nourishment list.
Food is fuel, but in our society food has become much more. It is not expected to only eat the foods that are on your nourishment list, as that would not be truly intuitive eating. You should be able to have cake on your birthday, and a piece of chocolate here and there. This is “enjoyment eating” which I discuss more in depth here.
The discovery phase will take some time and patience as you move through your journey of intuitive eating healthfully. Your nourishment foods might also change. Be sure that you are not pushing your body into having something that you think you “should” have because of what you believe to be true or how you did something in the past.
This is your life and your journey. Remember, you are the driver!