Healthy Eating in the New Year: Intuitive Eating

Written by: Laura Chimenti BSc (cand)

Reviewed by: Andrea Miller MHSc, RD, FDC

 


The year 2020 was definitely one for the books and one we definitely will never forget. However, with the New Year comes a new opportunity to hit the reset button and better yourself and your health.

With the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions and many people often set resolutions that pertain to their eating habits. This often includes the start of a new diet, however, for those of you who have dieted before, you may know that most diets are not sustainable and can lead to a negative or restrictive mentality. Improving your health doesn’t have to be stressful or unenjoyable. In fact, you can still eat all the foods you love minus the guilt through intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is all about listening to your body and your hunger and satiety cues. To put it simply; eat what your body craves, when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. There are 10 principles of intuitive eating and you can read more about these principles in another one of our blog post’s here: http://amillerrd.ca/intuitive-eating-during-a-pandemic/

For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the 10th principle which is honouring your health through gentle nutrition. Gentle nutrition is all about making food choices that honour both your health as well as what your body is truly craving. For example, maybe you’ve been craving some chips, but before you decide to have the chips, you check in with yourself and see if that’s what your body is really craving. Maybe you decide to make a more nutrient dense snack or meal and afterwards if you’re still craving those chips, then go for it! Or, maybe you realize it wasn’t chips that your body was craving after all. Either way, you will have nourished your body and you will be left feeling satisfied.

We often say that New Year’s resolutions don’t last for more than a month, and maybe this is simply because the goals we set for ourselves aren’t realistic or sustainable. If your New Year’s resolutions often centre around eating, consider setting a goal to eat intuitively this new year. Rather than focusing your goals around foods that you want to exclude from your diet, you may find that it’s easier and more rewarding to focus your goals around foods and habits you want to make sure that you do include in your everyday life. Some goals could include:

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Eat foods from every food group each day
  • Allow myself to enjoy the foods I love without guilt
  • Allow myself to eat when I am hungry

Often times, when goals are centred around limiting your intake of energy dense foods that lack nutrients, eating becomes very restrictive. Typically, this restriction leads to an inevitable “binge”, followed by feelings of guilt, only to revert back to restrictive eating. This negative cycle can continue for long periods of time, creating an unhealthy relationship with food.

By focusing your goals around ensuring that you include enough nutrient dense foods in your diet, you will ensure that you are properly nourishing your body without restricting yourself from typically “unhealthy” foods that you love. This allows you to nourish your body while still enjoying other foods that you love, contributing to your health, as well as fostering a positive relationship with food.

As exciting as it is to leave 2020 in the past, the pandemic is not over yet and many people will continue working or attending school from home. While this has made healthy eating difficult for many, we can also look at this from a positive perspective. During pre-COVID times, a frequent barrier to healthy eating was time, as many people did not have time to prepare healthy lunches to bring to work or school every day. However, now that many of us are working and attending school from home, this provides us with a great opportunity to prepare more of our meals and to have more control over what we eat.

Taking a break in your day to prepare a healthy lunch could also be beneficial towards your productivity; giving your brain and body a chance to relax and separate from work for an hour or so. This can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work for the second half of the day. This will also give you a chance to get up and move.

Meal prepping is, of course, still important and could give you more time during your lunch break for other activities. During this hour you could get in a quick workout, go for a walk to get out of the house, or even catch up on a show you are behind on. Regardless, this break can also be beneficial towards your productivity throughout the second half of the day.

It is important to keep in mind that we are living in unprecedented times and pandemic living can often make even the simplest tasks much more difficult. If things do not go as planned this new year, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and most importantly, be kind to yourself and listen to your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions and many people often set resolutions that pertain to their eating habits. This often includes the start of a new diet, however, for those of you who have dieted before, you may know that most diets are not sustainable and can lead to a negative or restrictive mentality. Improving your health doesn’t have to be stressful or unenjoyable. In fact, you can still eat all the foods you love minus the guilt through intuitive eating.

 

Intuitive eating is all about listening to your body and your hunger and satiety cues. To put it simply; eat what your body craves, when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. There are 10 principles of intuitive eating and you can read more about these principles in another one of our blog post’s here: http://amillerrd.ca/intuitive-eating-during-a-pandemic/

 

For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the 10th principle which is honouring your health through gentle nutrition. Gentle nutrition is all about making food choices that honour both your health as well as what your body is truly craving. For example, maybe you’ve been craving some chips, but before you decide to have the chips, you check in with yourself and see if that’s what your body is really craving. Maybe you decide to make a more nutrient dense snack or meal and afterwards if you’re still craving those chips, then go for it! Or, maybe you realize it wasn’t chips that your body was craving after all. Either way, you will have nourished your body and you will be left feeling satisfied.

 

We often say that New Year’s resolutions don’t last for more than a month, and maybe this is simply because the goals we set for ourselves aren’t realistic or sustainable. If your New Year’s resolutions often centre around eating, consider setting a goal to eat intuitively this new year. Rather than focusing your goals around foods that you want to exclude from your diet, you may find that it’s easier and more rewarding to focus your goals around foods and habits you want to make sure that you do include in your everyday life. Some goals could include:

 

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Eat foods from every food group each day
  • Allow myself to enjoy the foods I love without guilt
  • Allow myself to eat when I am hungry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Often times, when goals are centred around limiting your intake of energy dense foods that lack nutrients, eating becomes very restrictive. Typically, this restriction leads to an inevitable “binge”, followed by feelings of guilt, only to revert back to restrictive eating. This negative cycle can continue for long periods of time, creating an unhealthy relationship with food.

By focusing your goals around ensuring that you include enough nutrient dense foods in your diet, you will ensure that you are properly nourishing your body without restricting yourself from typically “unhealthy” foods that you love. This allows you to nourish your body while still enjoying other foods that you love, contributing to your health, as well as fostering a positive relationship with food.

 

As exciting as it is to leave 2020 in the past, the pandemic is not over yet and many people will continue working or attending school from home. While this has made healthy eating difficult for many, we can also look at this from a positive perspective. During pre-COVID times, a frequent barrier to healthy eating was time, as many people did not have time to prepare healthy lunches to bring to work or school every day. However, now that many of us are working and attending school from home, this provides us with a great opportunity to prepare more of our meals and to have more control over what we eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a break in your day to prepare a healthy lunch could also be beneficial towards your productivity; giving your brain and body a chance to relax and separate from work for an hour or so. This can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work for the second half of the day. This will also give you a chance to get up and move.

 

Meal prepping is, of course, still important and could give you more time during your lunch break for other activities. During this hour you could get in a quick workout, go for a walk to get out of the house, or even catch up on a show you are behind on. Regardless, this break can also be beneficial towards your productivity throughout the second half of the day.

 

It is important to keep in mind that we are living in unprecedented times and pandemic living can often make even the simplest tasks much more difficult. If things do not go as planned this new year, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and most importantly, be kind to yourself and listen to your body.

 

 

 

 

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