I'm sure you've heard that word a few times, intuitive. What does it mean? Intuitive: using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.
Now lets focus in on the importance of being intuitive in relationship to our health. Two aspects: Intuitive Eating and Intuitive living.
Am I really hungry? or am I just eating this bowl of chips because it's in front of me and I'm at this boring party.... ? I think we've all asked ourselves similar questions. Intuitive eating is pulling in the reigns on situations like this and staying in control and in tune with our bodies, honoring its needs (but don't mistake this with giving into its desires - very different). If you've ever been on a low carb - restrictive diet you've seen the effects of depriving your body. By day 4 you want to stuff your face with any carb you can get your hands on. This is your body telling you "umm hello, I can't just live on kale chips and lemon water". Intuitive eating can be a tricky balance. Everyone is different, so tuning into your own bodies needs can be the hard part. Recognizing when your really hungry vs. a craving that is separate from nutritional needs. Finding that happy place between deprivation, and over indulgence is the key.
Try out these Tips:
1) When you feel the urge to eat, ask yourself "am I really hungry? Would I eat a bowl of vegetables right now? Chances are if the answer's no, then you've been hit with a sugar craving, or a boredom/emotional food craving. When this happens, distract yourself. Put on your gym clothes, stand up and go for a walk, call a friend or family member to catch up, etc. Chances are you will completely forget about the craving. If it keeps returning, than honor it with a healthy choice, like an apple and peanut butter.
2) Reach for the Water first. Most of the time when we think we're hungry, our body is really telling us we're thirsty. Drink a glass of water before you eat, let it settle, and if your still feeling hungry then honor that (with a healthy choice of course).
3) Eat slowly and savor each bite. When we chew our food completely, and take time to enjoy what we're eating, we allow our bodies time to relay the message that we're getting full. We can stop eating before we get to that uneasy, ready-to-blow phase of fullness. We form a healthy relation with food and get off that binge-guilt roller coaster that we've all taken a ride on.
Now to address the Intuitive Living aspect. Today I woke up with my throat all scratchy, and my head aching. I've been feeling this cold coming on for a couple of days now and here it is! Right on schedule :) I had to pull myself back from my normal Go-Go-Go tendencies and allowed myself a nice sleep in (Sleep is my ultimate healer), a warm, comfort food breakfast with some healing tea, and I skipped my morning workout. What?! Skip a workout!? If you're like me, you may feel like you're committing a sin ..... But part of being healthy is living a balanced life and listening to our bodies. Just as much as we can be too lazy and need a kick in the butt, we can also be too hard on our bodies and need to allow ourselves a day of rest every once and a while (I'm working on this).
Let me also say that in order to reach our goals, we'll have to do things that we may not want to do in the moment, and thats good for us! Don't take the previous paragraph as the green light to turn down the thought of going for a run because your body is telling you that the couch is what you need. If we always just listened to our bodies natural tendencies and desires, some of us wouldn't get very far. Thats when our healthy support teams come into play. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who bring out your best self! Hire a trainer, join a running group, follow a healthy cooking blog, set goals with your spouse, feed your kids healthy foods, read uplifting books, etc. We all need each other to get where we need to go!
So there's my rant, live an intuitive life, practice intuitive eating, and remember to stay balanced.