To stay in shape, it’s always a good idea to couple eating well with your workout program. Are you constantly in weight-loss mode, cutting out sugar one month, following a Paleo Diet the next? Dietary restrictions, such as calorie-counting or eliminating certain food groups, lead you to listen to external signs rather than listening to your own body. For example, if you are super hungry, but your diet restricts you from eating at certain times in the day, you end up ignoring your own body’s hunger signals. Long-term dieting for weight loss is actually associated with eventual weight gain, dissatisfaction with one’s body image, depression, and lower self-esteem. Not only do weight-loss diets fail to maintain your weight loss, they contribute to making you feel miserable. One more reason to stop this madness altogether!
Add healthy habits to your training program
A new approach to weight maintenance is intuitive nutrition, based on the concept that your body knows what and how much of something you should eat in order to maintain your health and your weight. In the same way that infants know when they are full and cease eating, intuitive nutrition aims to reacquaint you with your body’s signals. No food is forbidden or “fattening”. It seems almost too simple, right? Well, it isn’t as easy as it seems! Most of us rely on external signals to stop eating – like the sight of an empty plate. However, imagine if you were eating 1-2 extra bites at each meal, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. It could make all the difference at the end of the year! Here are some habits to adopt in order to help you listen to your body and stop all that calculating.
Learning to listen to your hunger and satiation is a lengthy process. Be patient with yourself! The best advice I can give you is to avoid skipping meals and to eat regularly, approximately every 3 to 4 hours. In this way, you’ll be able to detect your hunger more easily.
FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE
Instead of aiming for the impossible, choose healthy foods at least 80% of the time, and allow yourself some sweet treats the other 20%. This perfectly healthy perspective will help you to improve your relationship with food. Allowing yourself to eat treats in moderation will reduce the guilt you feel about a food that you would have otherwise considered “off limits” or “cheating”.
THINK BEFORE YOU EAT
The next time you open the fridge, pause and ask yourself what type of hunger is propelling you to eat. If it is a physical hunger, you should feel your stomach gurgling, feel empty, or you may even have a headache. If that’s the case, you must eat! You may also have an emotional hunger – an urge to munch on something that would subconsciously relieve a certain feeling. Learn more about this by reading Eating your Emotions, by Guylaine Guevremont, Dt. P
LEAVE A BITE IN YOUR PLATE
Like most people, you are probably used to always finishing whatever is in your plate. You can train yourself to undo this habit by leaving 1 bite in your plate at every meal. Also, take breaks while you eat. Stretch, put your utensils down, and breathe. Ask yourself if you are still hungry, and listen to your stomach. With time and practice, you will become an expert in listening to your body’s signals, I promise!
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Marilyne Petitclerc, nutritionist for over 6 years and author of the menoum.co blog. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she’s a great source for advice to help you lead a balanced lifestyle.
SCHAEFER, J. T., & MAGNUSON, A. B. (2014). A REVIEW OF INTERVENTIONS THAT PROMOTE EATING BY INTERNAL CUES. JOURNAL OF THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS, 114(5), 734–760. HTTP://DOI.ORG/10.1016/J.JAND.2013.12.024
VAN DYKE, N., & DRINKWATER, E. J. (2014). RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN INTUITIVE EATING AND HEALTH INDICATORS: LITERATURE REVIEW. PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION, 17(8), 1757–66. HTTP://DOI.ORG/10.1017/S1368980013002139
MATHIEU, J. (2009). WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT MINDFUL AND INTUITIVE EATING? JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION, 109(12). HTTP://DOI.ORG/10.1016/J.JADA.2009.10.023