Intuitive Eating Tips For The Summer_061

Top 3 Intuitive Eating Tips For This Summer 

The Fourth of July just passed and I wanted to share with you where I used to be during this holiday. Imprisoned in my own body and having to stand up and shovel down food because I didn’t want to see what I was putting into my body. Constant guilt and anxiety during HOLIDAYS. This is a time where you are supposed to be enjoying yourself. I want to make sure that this is not your life. I’ll be giving you tips to help you with all of the holidays, family get-togethers, bbq’s, and dinner parties. The types of situations where you are not always in control of your food or what's going to be served. Unless you’re always bringing something to eat at these parties. But truthfully that is so overwhelming and daunting. 

Here’s a story for you so you can see exactly how I was a few years ago:

I went to a Superbowl party when I was a freshman in college and I went with 5th-year students (1 year over a senior) I brought my own turkey patty and green beans to the bbq because I was on a super strict diet. Looking back on it now I realize it was INSANE. So if you do that, I know what it's like and it's really not fun whatsoever.

There are a lot of emotions that come up during the 4th of July with eating habits. You are at a party and you are trying to stay on your “diet” but all of this good food (and drinks) are around. I wanted to share with you my personal experience with Intuitive eating and Food Freedom on these specific holidays. I have also talked about my intuitive eating journey before on one of The Barcode Collective podcasts. Check that out if you want to hear more. 

Before I truly became an intuitive eater and started to learn about my body, understand it, learn what it really needed, I always had this low-grade level of anxiety around any kind of holiday. If I knew there was going to be a lot of food and drinks, it was just too much for me. And when you look at it, it should be fun and exciting. You shouldn’t dread it and be anxious because of the food. But unfortunately this was my thought process:

You know there is going to be food around, you are going to want to eat all of it but you cannot. You are going to get fat or negate all of the progress you have made up to this point.

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It was this sense of control that I wanted to constantly hold onto and it was making me a prisoner of my mind. I had to control myself because I didn't trust myself. That was a HUGE turning point. Once I fell into the intuitive eating lifestyle, I finally trusted myself. Because yes, there is going to be a lot of food and drinks around but it is okay to have them. Before I fell into this lifestyle I did not trust myself to not go HAM and eat everything. It was all or nothing in my head. It was so difficult to break that cycle. I am telling you, it went on for years. Now it’s the 4th of July and I am excited to have a hot dog, hamburger, potato salad, bbq, some drinks, and just RELAX. Enjoy my friends and family and be out in the sun having a great time without thinking about all this other BS that is going on in the back of my head. And this can be you too!!

I wasn't openly telling people about this. I wasn’t saying “Oh no I can't have that I am on a diet.” I had an internal imprisonment in my brain. It was like a silent struggle that I had going on that no one could even see or notice. It was keeping me trapped and stuck in this cycle of negative thoughts. 

I will be the first to tell you that it is not going to be the easiest thing to switch into that intuitive eating mode. Especially if you have done this for years and years, it will be a hard habit to break. There are a few things that I think helped me transition into that intuitive eating lifestyle. I finally learned to trust myself again and truly believed that I could finally eat whatever I wanted with knowing that I wasn’t going to just eat the whole bowl of chips, then eat the whole bowl of guacamole, then eat all of the desserts. Or not be able to stop myself once I started. Truthfully that was just a lie that I was telling myself and what diet culture tells us. 

Here are a few tips to help you ease into that intuitive eating lifestyle. 

This isn’t something that is going to change in a day. It is a process, give yourself grace, learn to trust yourself again, give yourself permission to feel things. I know this can be scary for some.

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   1. Put Everything That You Want Onto Your Plate!

Yes, you heard that correctly, put everything that looks good to you onto your plate. If your family gatherings are anything like mine then you know that there is food for days. I used to tell myself “Okay don't eat any appetizers you can't eat them you don't need them” but now I allow myself to eat them if I want to. What I do is, get a plate and put whatever I want on the plate, and then nibble off of that. If I am hungry, I will eat all of it. AND if I find that I am still hungry after I eat everything on my plate, I will go and get more. Before I was an intuitive eater, I wouldn't want to get a plate because I would feel so guilty from seeing what I was putting into my body. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. The freedom you get when you can get out of that mindset is crazy good

If you chew your food slowly and stick to the plate trick your body is going to tell you when it’s full, you just have to listen to it. Before all of this I was not listening to it I was just kind of telling it to shut up and that I knew better. I was trying to think my way out of it and use my knowledge about it. But sometimes instead of thinking our way out of it, we need to feel our way out of it. We need to understand the emotions our mind and body need to feel. We need to acknowledge them so we can let go of them. That allows us to go through life so much more seamlessly, and not feel this sense of imprisonment in our own mind. That simple strategy to just allow myself to put everything I wanted on my plate was so freeing. I wasn't restricting myself. I didn’t think “no you can’t have that.” Why do that to yourself?

“So if that's a hamburger AND a hot dog, I’ll put a freakin hamburger and a hot dog on my plate”

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   2. Intuitive Eating Starts by Slowing Everything Down! 

When I started my Intuitive Eating Journey, I began to slow down my eating process. I wanted to really begin to enjoy the food and enjoy every bite. I wanted to give my body the ability to realize I was actually eating. Too many times I would just shove food into my mouth and I think part of this is because I was just guilty or afraid of what the food I was going to eat was going to do to my body. Was I going to get off track? Was I going to be hungry once I was done? Was I going to be full enough? When you restrict your calories for so long you never have a meal where you are fully satisfied. USUALLY, you are still hungry

I ended up slowing everything down. I’ll go find somewhere to sit, then I will take bites, put my utensil down while I chew, and really taste and enjoy it. Truthfully many of these foods we eat during holidays are packed with flavor if you just allow yourself to taste them. Some are high in sugar and salt and really after a few bites you will be thinking okay that's enough (because honestly, it's kind of overpowering.) Take it slow and enjoy your food, you’ll find that you appreciate it more and will get full faster than you realize.

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3. Make Drinks That You Enjoy!

A lot of times we don't realize what we drink is also affecting us. With drinks, I would think “what is the lowest calorie drink I can have” and I never even enjoyed them. Which was the worst part because you are drinking something that isn’t benefiting you whatsoever, and then you aren't even enjoying it. If you’re drinking something you thoroughly enjoy then you aren't going to binge on it. You are allowing yourself to have it. Now I will make myself a drink which is typically vodka with lemon or lime because I don't like sweet things. But whatever beverage of choice you have, DRINK IT. 

I don't want any of you getting into the cycle that I was in. It just debilitates you. Also, another thing I don't want you to get into is saying “okay this is my cheat day lets go HAM” Because at the end of the night I felt so incredibly sick, guilty, and ashamed. I wanted to give you some encouragement to ENJOY yourself. Go have fun, life is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed with friends and family. You don't have to have so much pressure AND diet culture mindset doesn't have to have all the authority over you. I guarantee you that you know how to eat healthily and you don't have to control it so hard. That’s what living is all about, it's about enjoying your life. We only have this one life to live why should you spend it freaking out, counting calories, shaming yourself, having anxiety, restricting yourself. That one cookie is not going to kill you. Yeah, you shouldn’t have ten cookies, but allowing yourself to have one is going to satisfy your craving and spark that joy in your mind. 

Those are my top tips to ease you into intuitive eating. Remember to grab a plate, chew your food slowly, and make yourself a drink that you will enjoy. This lifestyle is all about trusting yourself and you need to build that trust up. It is not going to be an easy feat on the first day but if you practice these tips you will find that it gets easier. DM me if you want any more tips or suggestions on Intuitive Eating or Food Freedom.

Summer is one of my favorite times of year, JUST behind fall. But summer can also be one of those times that trigger ALOT of disordered eating because you have the be “bikini ready” always. Today I am sharing with you how I finally released that toxic thought process and can now fully enjoy summer in all of it’s glory, while I sunbathe in all of my glory ;)

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Danielle Ferguson