For the past several years, we’ve been practicing Intuitive Eating over here at Wild Sun Wellness. What does that mean? Basically, we’ve said goodbye to diets, rules, or guilt regarding our food choices. We eat what we want, when we want, and we feel good about it.
But that doesn’t mean we’re eating a bunch of junk food every day. On the contrary!
The truth is, our body knows exactly what it needs in order to be healthy, happy, and balanced. It has the wisdom and power of the natural universe in it, and it works endlessly for us so that we can thrive at greatest capacity under all conditions. It’s seriously amazing.
If we can quiet our mind and the outside noise, dig into the primal language of the body, and act in a way that aligns with it, we’ll be on track to achieving ultimate health and wellness in our own personal life, regardless of what anyone else says. Because everyone is different. Some bodies do great with grains; others not so much. Some bodies thrive on fruit; others can’t handle it. Animal products can be nourishing for some people while causing total chaos for others. Nothing is right for everyone all the time.
***There is one guideline we believe everyone should try to stick to: eating real, natural, whole foods that are minimally processed at least 90% of the time. Bonus points if it’s local!***
So. How do you find out what your body really wants and needs? Here’s what’s worked for us.
Even if it’s only five minutes, or even five full deep breaths to start. Before you eat, when you start to feel hungry, pause and feel. Connect with your body. Notice the sensations that are arising within you, and then consider several different food options. Ask your body what it wants. The more in tune you become, the more you’ll notice your body’s response to each option you present to it, even if the presentation is just a thought. This part might take a while to get the hang of, especially if you haven’t spent much time connecting to your body in this way before.
After you eat, once your food has settled just a bit, close your eyes again and reflect. How does the body feel now? Nourished, yet light and awake? Still hungry or unsatisfied? Sluggish or tired? Does your mind feel clear and present or dull and foggy?
These are all signs of whether the meal worked for you or not. It may take a little bit of time to make the right food choices for your body. Be patient with yourself and keep practicing!
Start a Food Diary.
Write down all the foods you eat and make notes of your meditations. Write down what you thought your body wanted, what you ended up eating, and how you felt afterward. Note your digestion and elimination functions following meals. This will help you start to see patterns— maybe after a few weeks you realize your body and mind always feel fatigued after eating bread. Okay! Now we know intellectually that bread probably isn’t the best option at this time, so we
can take a break from it and see how the next couple weeks go. We can also pay close attention to how our body reacts when we offer it bread so we can start learning its language more efficiently.
Practice yoga every morning. The effects of your food choices from the day before will reveal themselves very quickly! Being physical with your body and pushing your limits (in a mindful, loving way) will highlight the kinds of foods that are serving your body’s performance for ultimate health and wellness. And, of course, it’ll help you see (and feel) the foods that are causing you more physical stress. (Write down your findings in your food journal!)
This one always trips people up. First, we need to state that if you KNOW you have an allergy to, let’s say eggs, please don’t eat eggs! But the rest of it? The things you’re not eating because someone else said it’s bad for you? Not off limits anymore.
That could mean maybe one meal you eat raw vegan. Another meal you eat paleo. And yet another you’re putting cheese on your sourdough sandwich. No rules! (And if you haven’t tried our amazing adaptogenic desserts yet… do yourself a favor and check them out. They’re made with real, whole foods and our herbal powder blends. We also encourage you to do your meditation and food diary practice around our herbal supplements, so you can see just how beneficial they really are for the mind-body-soul!)
The only thing you want leading your decisions when it comes to food is your own inner knowing and your body’s reaction to foods. Turn your awareness inward. If nothing is off limits, if there are no judgements, rules or diets to follow, what would really serve your body right now? It’s important to keep your meditation and food diary consistent because this new terrain might be a little murky in the beginning, especially if you’re coming at this as a long-term dieter or strict eater! Eventually, you’ll know the perfect meal for your present situation and it’ll a be a breeze to choose it.
The basis of intuitive eating is cultivating a healthy, compassionate relationship with yourself. You’re an intuitive eater when you listen to the wisdom of your body, trust in that wisdom above all else, and answer its call. This can be tough in the beginning, but with consistent practice, patience, and self love, it is totally possible. Before you know it, you’ll be eating in a way that serves your highest good— every single time.
About Emily O'Brien:
Emily is an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga teacher, and mother with an overall “crunchy” approach toward life. Writing about what she’s learned throughout years of study is her favorite way to share with others. She hopes her articles can spark awareness and inspiration within readers to lead happier, healthier, more peaceful lives.
Find out more about Emily and her beautiful work at https://www.emilyobrienwellness.com/
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