I’ve read a lot about intuiting eating and, to be quite honest, it wasn’t a term I was familiar with until I started blogging, though the concept makes perfect sense. Intuitive eating is letting your intuition tell you when you’re hungry and to therefore only eat when you’re actually hungry.
So I’ve been thinking about intuitive eating because I was debating with myself about whether or not I am an intuitive eater. The simple answer is: sometimes. You see, I’m such a routine kind of person that even my eating schedule becomes routine. Are you ready?
5:15 am: alarm sounds
5:20 am: eat a granola bar or ½ a banana
7:30 am: eggs/toast/other breakfast item
9:00 am: coffee
11:00 am: lunch main course (sandwich/some sort of veggie)
12:00 pm: snack food (popcorn/pretzels)
2:00 pm: granola bar or almonds
4:00 pm: fruit
6:00 pm: dinner
8ish: snack <<this is the only one that definitely varies from day to day as far as the timing goes
That’s pretty much my eating schedule to a ‘T’, and while that’s all fine and dandy, some days I’m just hungrier than others, and other days I’m not very hungry at all, and that’s ok!
Something I’ve been noticing lately is that on the mornings when I do mostly cardio, I tend to be really, really hungry throughout the day (duh, because I’m burning a lot of calories), so hungry that a sandwich, popcorn, granola bar and an apple just doesn’t cut it. But I don’t properly prepare myself, so I end up feeling hungry at work. Properly preparing myself with enough food is crucial, and is something that is more challenging for me than it sounds. My body is used to consuming a certain amount of food each day, so when I have to feed it much more, it feels strange. Reminding myself that I worked my ass off at the gym in the morning usually helps–oh yeah, this is fuel, my body NEEDS this food.
Other days, however, are the complete opposite. Sometimes, I go a few days in a row without working out, which slows down my metabolism and therefore I’m not as hungry throughout the day. BUT because I am a routine person, I will look at the clock, see that it’s 2 pm, and tell myself it’s granola bar time! Just because it is 2 pm and I usually eat a snack does not mean that I have to eat a snack.
I like to think that I’ve made a more conscious effort to eat when I’m hungry, and to not eat when I’m not hungry, especially when I’m at work. I try to bring extra things so on hungry days I’m not starving and I try to ask myself if I’m actually hungry before reaching for the popcorn to avoid overeating on not-so-hungry days. Honestly, every day is different.
Another thing that really helps me is staying hydrated. If I think I’m hungry, I make sure to take a big gulp of water beforehand, and if ten minutes later my stomach is telling me it’s hungry, then I eat! It’s a simple concept that, at least for me, is much trickier than it sounds. Staying hydrated is a whole other topic, but it’s important to stay hydrated on hungry and not-so-hungry days.
I need to continue to be aware of my hungry cues and to be prepared for when hunger may strike <<<dramatic? Yes. I also need to remind myself that just because it is 2 pm and I usually eat a snack at that time doesn’t mean that I have to if I’m not truly hungry. I don’t count calories anymore and I certainly love my sweets, so if I’m craving chocolate then you better believe I eat a late-night Reese cup 😉 I think it’s something that everyone must learn at one point or another, but avoiding foods because they are “unhealthy” isn’t healthy. Listening to your body, respecting your body and honoring your hunger cues are key.
Q: Are you an intuitive eater? Do you tend to eat around the same times every day or does it vary from day-to-day?