If you want to lose weight, what would your answer be if I asked you “why do you struggle to lose weight”? Answers I commonly get to this questions in clinic is to do with emotional eating, eating out of boredom, portion control, struggling to say no to “office treats”, feeling too restricted or losing motivation. This doesn’t come to surprise me, a lot of people I see in clinic often have tried dieting, restricting foods, followed a new food trend (paleo, low carb, fasting) or followed what worked for their friend or family member, which is a problem. One size does not fit all. Typical methods of losing weight are often too restrictive, lack flexibility and this doesn’t often fit into your schedule and everyday life.
“If you don’t give up dieting, don’t let go of food restrictions, don’t listen to your body losing weight may always be a struggle”
The truth to having sustained and achievable weight loss is that you can have all the tools at your fingertips and know everything about all the recent “weight loss” trends, but if it’s not genuinely what works for you, it will be a constant struggle to stay motivated and consistent with your weight loss plan. So many programs out there emphasise low daily calorie intake, macronutrient ratios, food restrictions, fasting, excessive exercise plans, but they fail to actually help you be aware and learn what is actually going to work for YOU and what YOUR body actually needs for long-term sustainable weight loss and great health.
So, what's the answer to long-term weight management? Intuitive eating! Intuitive eating is a tool that can help you connect with your body and find out what's working for you and what's not working for you. Instead of focusing on your daily calorie intake or restricting food groups, intuitive eating helps you focus on YOUR specific needs and preferences. It allows you to set your own pace, find a healthy balance of macronutrients (protein, carbs and healthy fats) that you’re comfortable with, and ultimately create a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight for life.
When you slow down, become more mindful, tune in and figure out what foods work for YOU, it becomes second nature to eat them.
Intuitive eating is also an amazing way to naturally change your habits and turn toward healthier meals. This is because when you start to become more mindful of how food affects you, you then pay close attention to your eating habits and how certain foods make you feel, physically and mentally. Then, you can improve your food choices based on what makes you feel your best, naturally phasing out the foods that leave you feeling lethargic or bloated—or foods that often trigger overeating. Also, our food preferences can change frequently, often on a daily basis. Intuitive eating helps you adapt to those changes. Some days you might feel hungrier than others or crave certain foods and nutrients. If your weight loss approach isn’t flexible and too restrictive, it will be a struggle to stay on track, and it will leave you feeling burned out.
Here are a few tips on how to tune into your body and strengthen your intuition with food:
- Eat your meals away from technology (yup, not in front of the TV, away from your phone, away from your work desk). Sit down at a table or in a quiet area and eat mindfully.
- Incorporate a mindfulness practice into your day (meditation, put your legs up against the wall for 10-15 minutes). Life is busy. Slowing down allows your mind to create more space, allowing you to have a clearer head and be present throughout the day to make better food choices.
- Tune in and listen to your intuition. That little voice that say tells you you’re eating too much, or you’re not hungry right now. This is your intuition telling you what feels right and what doesn’t, start to listen to it.
It takes time to become an intuitive eater (I can vouch for that personally), but you can do it! And remember, change is never easy, it truly does take time to adjust to a new mindset and way of eating.
I hope this helps you understand a bit more about how intuitive eating can help you lose weight.
If you need help with exploring this or new ways to move forward, please don't hesitate to make contact.