"If I give myself unconditional permission to eat, I'll never stop eating". This is a common concern that I get from people in regards to Intuitive Eating. I’ve had another dietitian say to me, “What is Intuitive Eating? If I eat "intuitively" I’ll go on the seafood diet.. everything I see, I’ll eat”.
Last night was my partner’s birthday, so I offered to make him whatever he wanted for dinner. He said that he wanted caramel popcorn, so that’s what I made. With the popcorn, he also opted for sweet potato fries, and of course, cake. By the time we ate a few bites of cake, our tummies were feeling sore. We listened to our bodies and we stopped eating. Listening to our sore stomachs is also called interoceptive awareness. Interoceptive awareness is the ability to be aware of internal sensations (being “in tune” with your body).
When I woke up this morning, my stomach was still a bit off. Since I didn't eat a well-balanced meal for dinner, I felt a bit hungry, but I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to eat. So, I drank water, and ate a piece of fruit. I started walking with my dogs. My muscles were primed with glucose from last night's foods and I innately felt like running. I trust my body to regulate itself and tell me what it needs. Eating caramel popcorn for dinner was a good reminder of what my body really needs.
If you think that by giving yourself permission to eat what you want, that all you will eat is "junk" food, I say try it! Chances are, that you won't feel great from eating a lot of sugar. You might even start craving some fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean protein.
This is all part of Intuitive Eating. Listening to your body. Being curious and honest. Using the feedback to guide future decisions.