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March 26, 2018

One Simple Tool to Begin “Intuitive Eating”

Okay, confession time.

I don’t love the phrase “intuitive eating.”

Not because I don’t love the concept—it’s essentially the #moderation365 philosophy—but because I’m always looking at things through the lens of its teach-ability.

And “intuitive eating” can feel so inaccessible and vague to someone who is in the middle of an obsessive relationship with food, that the advice ends up feeling more discouraging than helpful.

If someone had told me to “just eat when you’re hungry” when I was deep in my all-or-nothing dieting phrase, I would’ve told them to GET REAL, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHEN I’M HUNGRY, HA! HALP!

Maybe like me, you’ve eaten according to a clock (“every 2-3 hours”) for such a long time, that you’re not in touch with your body’s natural hunger cues anymore. Or maybe you don’t even register your cravings until you’re already elbows-deep in a bag of chips. Or maybe you know that your 2pm energy slump isn’t ideal, but you don’t really know what to do to change it.

Been there, get that 100%.

To me, traditional “dieting” advice makes us stupider.

And I say that in the most empathic way considering I was an extreme dieter for a decade. I loved having start dates, and food lists, and an Excel spreadsheet with all of my meals and times mapped out. Ha!

Dieting feels good because it feels organized. Rules keep us safe. Giving our process over to a coach or “expert” feels like relief. They know what’s best, right??

And intuitive eating seemingly has no rules. Just listen to my body? Thanks, BUT HOW??

From a marketing perspective, intuitive eating has a problem even though the concept is spot on. And part of my mission at JillFit is to help people come to understand, practice and master their eating neuroses so they can be free to do other, more enjoyable things than just stress about food constantly.

So … how do you eat intuitively?

Today I am going to give you one tool to practice, and then below, I’m gonna invite you to work with me for the next 4 weeks to master it, as enrollment for my Food Obsession Boot Camp “LIVE” course is now open through Monday April 2nd only.

But first, I’ll tell you this: If you want to eat intuitively, you have to master mindfulness.

And the first step to mindfulness is just starting to become aware of your body’s natural biofeedback—hunger, cravings, fullness, satisfaction, energy, etc. If we want to be able to eat according to these things, we have to start feeling them again.

So, your homework:

Set a timer on your phone for every 3 hours, like this for example:

It’s not a timer to tell you when to eat, necessarily. It’s a prompt to help you check in with your hunger regularly so you can start understanding your own physiology again. That’s it.

When the timer goes off, I want you to just ask yourself, “On a scale from 1-10, how hungry am I right now?”

There is no right or wrong answer. This is just a practice in checking in. That’s it. For example, “Huh, I’m actually not that hungry, I could wait an hour,” would be a useful insight.

To help myself along, I ask qualifying questions like, how much do I need to eat right now? Am I famished? Could I eat? Could I eat in 30 minutes? Am I not really hungry at all? Etc. These qualifiers help us develop the nuance needed in order to learn how to eventually eat intuitively.

You don’t have to do this forever, by the way. Mindfulness is one of those things that many of us don’t really have, but can be trained fairly quickly with just a little bit of deliberate practice.

That’s it. One simple tool to start. Try it and let me know how you do.

Aaaaand if you are feeling like, “Geez Jill, this feels even more obsessive!” Ha, I feel you—at first it can feel like that. But I promise you, mindfulness is the opposite of obsessive thinking—it eventually turns into automated thinking. Easy peasy.

Want to learn more intuitive eating? Sign-up for JillFit’s DIY program, Food Obsession Boot Camp HERE

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