In my last post i talked about all the diets i tried. I even mentioned how i gave it all up and am healthier for it. I did however, miss detailing one step. That step is what this post is about.
You see, i didn’t just wake up one morning, have an epiphany and magically start eating healthy. The process was long and slow for me. I know several people who get it right on the first try, but I am not that person.
I went from training 8 hours a day to 0. From needing more food than 4 healthy adults to needing only enough for one. From having a disciplined training plan to suddenly having no higher purpose for exercise(no tournament, no team, no trophy)
I had always eaten for one of the following reasons:
i) Training session No. <1-4> starts in 15 minutes, i HAVE to get something in.
ii) It’s healthy/good for me/ good for performance
iii) I hadn’t yet met my required calorie intake for the day and had to make up for it or suffer through sluggish session the next day.
Never in my childhood, had i needed to eat for something as simple as hunger. And yet, ironically, thats what food is for. We might abuse it in times of stress, try and use it to fill a void in our life or even celebrate around it. But, at its most basic, food is just energy. We need it to live, we get hungry for it and hunger is part of a basic but essential set of survival instincts. Foods’ uses may be manifold, but it can only, fully satisfy one goal and is wasted on everything else.
And so I decided to try out Intuitive Eating (by Geneen Roth). Her rules were pretty simple:
- Eat in a quiet surrounding and concentrate on the food.
- Be aware of what you eat and the reasons behind why you eat.
- Write down everything you observe in point #2
- Give yourself permission to eat EVERYTHING but learn to distinguish between what your mind wants and what your body really wants
- Your body… your choice. If you choose every time to eat something for reasons other than true hunger, that is your right, as long as you learn to truly embrace the consequences of those actions.
- Keep trigger foods out of the house, make the effort to drive out and get them only when you truly have a craving.
Initially i had lots of problems with #4 and #6. You see, my trigger food, is potato chips. Specifically ‘Grand Sweets’ potato chips.
So when i initially followed #4 and gave myself permission to eat potato chips, i stocked up on 90 bags of it (the theory behind it being that if you’re surrounded by it and its no longer considered a cheat food, you’re less likely to binge on it).. without realising THAT was my trigger food. The 90 bags(you read right) disappeared in 1 month.
I learnt my lesson.
I did gain weight initially, but over time i learnt to tell the difference between what my body wanted (hard to do when i had ignored it all those years) vs what i was tempted by simply because my mind wanted it.
Today i no longer constantly want junk… not because I’m on a diet but because it makes me feel like crap.
I understand that my stomach doesn’t really EVER want to deal with cake or potato chips. I do still have both if the occasion calls for it AND i decided i want it anyway.
But I’m more connected to my own hunger signals now.. and its a liberating, fulfilling place to be.
Interested in giving it a shot? I strongly encourage it. I know what it feels like. I’ve been on that side of the fence.. and while it is entirely your journey. I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.