Thanksgiving - check.
Christmas - check.
New Years - check.
Chinese New Year - check.
Phew - we know all too well how exhausting this string of festivities can be.
It is then usually followed by many people setting out their weight loss New Year’s Resolutions and convincing themselves that this is the year and it’s going to be a fresh start!
Sounds familiar, or is it just me? Haha…
Well, if you’re a chronic dieter like me who has pretty much tried all the diets in the book, you would probably know that in the end, all the extreme diets will probably lead you back to square one (or even worse than where you started).
I mean, we really can’t blame ourselves. The dieting culture that we live in today is constantly bombarding us with new diets every year with the latest one claiming to be the most “effective” for sustainable weight loss.
These are a list of diets over the years (and this isn’t even the full list!)
Let’s take a look at the Worldwide Google Trends on the topic of “Weight Loss” post holidays. Guess where Hong Kong lies on the interest scale! (Stats taken as of Feb 21st, 2019).
Top 5 Countries that Googled “How to Lose Weight” the Past Year
- South Africa
- Trinidad & Tobago
Where do you think Hong Kong places on the interest scale?
Now let’s take a look at when the interest of the topic “How to Lose Weight” peaks throughout the year.
You can see that the interest on this topic spikes after New Years (Dec 30th to Jan 5th) and after Chinese New Year (Feb 17th to 23rd). Interesting huh?
What’s even more interesting is looking at the rise of the related topics search terms like “ketogenic diet” and “intermittent fasting”. That’s a 130% and 120% increase respectively!
Of course, I am not disregarding those diets that are actually followed for medical reasons and will be life threatening for individuals who don’t follow their appropriate food list. I also understand that everyone’s body is unique and what may work for some might not work for others. However, given the sheer number of diets that have spawned over the years, maybe it’s time to question whether these lifestyles are really that effective and sustainable in the long run.
Which, leads me to the main topic of this article (finally! Haha - sorry I can get quite long-winded.) What if there is such a thing as the un-diet diet approach? Yes, undiet your life with a term I recently came across called “Intuitive Eating” - a lifestyle which promotes trusting your inner body wisdom to make choices around food that feel good in your body and know when to eat and when to stop when we’re full.
Let’s stop overthinking how much water to drink, what’s the best time to eat and exercise, how many calories we are consuming and let’s start truly living our happy and healthy selves!
So how do we start this Intuitive Eating journey?
This book pretty much pioneered this popular lifestyle so I went and quickly purchased a copy for myself. I don’t want to spoil all the content because I definitely think it is something worth exploring (Scroll down to the end to see the 10 Guiding Principles of Intuitive Eating)
Do you feel...
- Guilty eating certain foods
- Like you categorize foods as being “Bad” or “Good”
- All hell breaks loose and you stuff your face if you strayed off plan even just a bit
- You have to count your calories/macros
- Religiously track your food on apps
- You use exercise to offset what you ate as a form of punishment
If you are like me and have these following tendencies, I encourage us all to try something new and challenge ourselves to stop over obsessing about food and trust our bodies to tell us when it is hungry or full.
Remember, weight loss is never the ultimate goal. Once we place too much emphasis on losing weight, the chances of being in a Diet-Restrict-Binge cycle dramatically increases, and we will most likely end up going COMPLETELY off track. This constant yo-yo dieting is what really messes up our hormones and digestive system and that is why the weight can’t seem to come off.
The Goal of Intuitive Eating is to make peace with food and exercise and truly tune into our body’s signals. While weight loss is not guaranteed, this method helps to develop healthy habits that in turn can help shed pounds off the scale.
Practice self care, sleep well, exercise for vibrancy and health, and eat foods that feel good in your tummy and satisfies you. Once you get to this level of being able to be happy with yourselves, you won’t feel like emotionally eating and your body will go to it’s super functioning optimal set point.
Now that’s a goal worth fighting for.
And that’s why we have a wide range of products at Foodcraft, all of which were created or brought in to make you feel good inside, nourish you, and heal your gut and hormones. However, we respect everyone’s journeys so we also have products available for every lifestyle if you aren’t ready to embark on this intuitive path just yet! No rush … do everything at your own pace and that will make you feel the happiest and healthiest!
*And Here’s the Bonus Material*
Without spoiling the book too much, here are the 10 Guiding Principles of Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
2. Honour Your Hunger
Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.
3. Make Peace with Food
Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
4. Challenge the Food Police
Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
5. Respect Your Fullness
Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.
7. Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food
Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
8. Respect Your Body
Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.
9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.
10. Honour Your Health
Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.
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