I feel very blessed. Blessed with a healthy body and mind. I love to nourish and nurture myself with healthful foods and energising movement. But it has not always been this way. My relationship with myself has for far too long been driven by guilt and self-loathing instead of love and self-acceptance. I was obsessed with the idea of skinny weight perfectionism and self-punishing body ideals. Food was a scrumptious temptation and exercise my way to punish myself. Can you relate? I am shivering thinking of how restricted and deprived my life was back then and how abundant and fun it feels now in comparison. I kind of feel stupid looking back at the old me. Wasting my precious time and health over so unimportant matters as some trivial, worthless numbers on the scale that did not make me look and feel more vibrant, radiant or healthful. Not being in tune with my body and not listening to its unique cues and signals was the painful result of all this weight obsession.
So, what has changed from back then to now? And how did I change it?
One morning I woke up and had enough. I was completely fed up with making dieting my daily battlefield. I was sick of tired of not being able to enjoy exercise for what it really is: a celebration of the strength and wonders your amazing body is actually capable of. So, I embarked on a new journey. I vowed to myself that I would from now on hold my body precious and treat it with the respect it more than deserves. However, I knew to be able to truly do this and step away from my old ways of fear-driven deprivation, I needed some empowering tools at my hand. So, I immersed myself in studies to find out how I could nourish myself best with a wholesome diet and balanced, loving, fun movement. I am so glad I did because it has changed my whole rigid, quantitative and perfection-seeking world to pleasurable body satisfaction and self-kindness.
Are you ready to move from nagging guilt to liberating intuition?
Then this this toolbox is for you:
Here are my 4 steps how you too can become an intuitive eater:
- Stop measuring your self-worth on those numbers of the scale or dress sizes.
Every body is different and uniquely beautiful. Agreed – it is not always easy to appreciate those dimples on your thighs, a flat butt or sagging breasts. But how about focusing on those things about your precious body you are truly blessed with. What about your stunning strong arms, the long graceful neck, full lips, cute freckles, long legs, white teeth and dazzling smile that has made so many men break out in an awkward sweat? Focus on your positives and work towards embracing your little imperfections. They make you YOU and not a boring Barbie doll. Trust me, men get quickly bored by plastic perfection. What they do love is someone with warmth, someone who cares, someone who makes them laugh. Do you think you could possibly follow their lead and start loving yourself for all the amazing qualities and features you have to offer to the world?
Start listening to your self-talk and replace any negatives with positives. Be kind and gentle with yourself for once and see what happens. Oh, and of course don’t forget to throw out your scale or hide it somewhere really hard to find and then simply forget about it. From now on you will focus on how amazing healthy feels – because there is no look that is more sexy or radiant!
- Forget about calories and kilojoules instead start nurturing your body with wholesome deliciousness
If you are used to thinking of foods in terms of calories, it is time to totally and utterly overhaul your quantitative thought pattern. Dieting and calorie counting did not work for you and research shows it does not for anyone… not on the long run that is. So, it is high time to reset your brain to qualitatively nourishing yourself with what your body and mind need to feel, look and be the best version of themselves. You are no machine that you can feed a certain amount of energy and if you keep that balance you will stay slim. No. Our bodies are much more intrinsically complicated and magic than that. The simple equation of calories in and energy out is faulty. It does neither take your metabolism into account, nor that not all calories are created equal. Our bodies do not do particularly well on foods that are low in nutrients but high in energy such as all the processed stuff that is now so readily available on every corner. What they do need however to thrive on are real wholefoods that are bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beautifying and health-promoting phytonutrients. So, every time you make a choice to eat, choose to luxuriously pamper yourself with the most delicious, freshest wholefoods in all the colours of the rainbow that you can find. And as you do so think about what the different nutrients do for you. Which ones are putting this irresistible glow on your skin? Which ones are making your hair lusciously strong and shiny? Have you eaten enough of those that provide you with strengthening muscle tone? Have you smothered your central nervous system with properties that soothe, calm and release those happy hormones? You will find that our delicious list of rejuvenating, energising nutriments is endless and that eating has never been more fun.
- Learn to listen to your body’s cues of hunger, satiety and fullness again.
It is kind of grotesque that we have to learn this again. We were born with all of this and were in complete satisfying control of when we needed to eat and when we had enough. Where did all this trusting, intuitive relationship with your body go? It is time re-awaken this innocent child in you again – at least when it comes to eating. Start by really tuning into your body whenever you are about to eat. Ask yourself how hungry are you on a scale of 1-10? How full are you? When did you eat last? Why do you want to eat? Is it out of hunger, appetite, boredom, tiredness, for pleasure or to relieve your stress? Then sit down and truly enjoy your food. One slow mouthful at a time. Stay mindful. No distractions. No TV, iPhone, newspaper, work or laptop. Just you and your delicious, nourishing meal. Eat slow. Chew every bite well. Savour it fully. Put your cutlery down in between meals. Notice when you start to feel fuller, satisfied, when you are no longer hungry. Stop eating before you are too full. Try to eat regularly. Do not leave too long of a gap between your culinary explosions. This will keep your hunger at bay. A rumbling stomach is not your friend because it will very likely make you over-eat or choose the wrong foods. This might all sound super simple and yet a bit tedious at the same, but trust me doing this everyday with every meal will reward you with the intuitive pleasure of hearing and understanding your body cues. There is an incredible lightness and easiness in knowing when you need to eat because you are hungry and when you need to stop eating because your body had enough. It also means you can now kiss good-bye your old guilt-inducing ways of binging, over- and under-eating or endless struggles with portion sizes and cravings.
- Fall in love with moving and strengthening your gorgeous physical self
Not because you need to punish yourself. No. Stop of thinking of exercise as a chore. It is nothing that you have to do. It is something you are lucky enough you may choose to do. You are doing this for you. Not to burn any calories. Instead you are doing it because it feels amazing to activate all those wonderful muscles in your body. Because strong is beautiful. Because there is no better feeling than sensing your blood rushing through your veins with energy and aliveness. Because at times it is awesome to rise up and beyond you thought your physical self was possible. Because the confidence it equips you with is so much better than the self-hatred of a wrong body image. Let physical activity be your stress release, your cure against anxiety, depression and insomnia. Let it empower you with inner strength, focused balance and amazing peace of mind. Make it your best friend who you greet with passion every day. Whom you are thankful for that he/she so loyal sticks by your side. Allow it to be your joyous beauty secret and very own superpower. This is just between YOU and YOUR BODY. No one else.
Whenever you realize you are falling back into old habits, ways of thinking and rituals, take it a step back and re-invent your physical-self new. What were you missing out on? Which signs did you not see? Do you need to slow down? Have you chosen the wrong from of movement? Has boredom crept into your routine? Are you making it fun enough? What else do you need to make movement and physical exercise your joyful YOU-time? Do exactly that. Do it in a form you love and that is right for you. Do it daily and do it from a place of self-love, joy and self-care.
Don’t let your mind every bully your body again. You can do this – in fact: you have totally got this. It is your time to shine now, gorgeous. Start trusting in your own body’s needs, abilities and intuitive beauty. Fall in love with a life that tastes abundantly delicious, feels joyously empowered and beautifully strong. When you choose to make mental and physical health your utmost priority, the maintenance of your perfect weight comes as an effortless and welcome side effect. Write it on all walls: guilt is out and intuition is in!!!