This is part two of a four part series on Inner Wisdom Eating (IWE)
The 4 steps of Inner Wisdom Eating (or eating like a thin person) are exactly the same as those promoted by Intuitive Eating.
- Eat when you’re hungry
- Eat what you want
- Eat consciously
- Stop when you are full
The difference lies in the approach and the detail. I will discuss each step in this four part series.
Eat What You Want
Does Your Food Sing to You?
Have a look in your fridge and cupboards. Does the food in there sing to you, does it call your name, and are you looking forward to eating it? Do you eat it because you enjoy it or because you think you should?
By choosing only to eat what sings to me, I have discovered (again!) that I am not a big fan of meat and would rather eat a predominantly vegetarian diet. Occasionally I’ll eat chicken leg and I love bacon but beyond that I’m not fussed.
Food Does Not Have a Value
There are no good and bad foods. There are no trigger foods or forbidden foods. There is nosuch thing as junk. There is a place in your diet for your favourite indulgences in moderation. Believe me that when you let yourself eat cheesecake, chocolate and hot chips, the novelty soon wears off. I mostly eat unprocessed food, not because it’s “good” but because I love the taste and prefer how it makes me feel.
You Can Still Eat Diet Food
Low fat ice-cream, Diet Coke and protein powder are still in my diet but I eat them because I prefer the taste over their ‘real’ counterparts. I can still ask for dressing on the side and no butter on my sandwich not because I’m counting calories but because I can’t see the point in eating food I don’t actually want.
I do, however, have real butter on hot toast, full fat yoghurt and cheese and whole eggs because they make my meals taste wonderful and keep me satisfied for hours. Does protein powder in your oats make a difference to the taste and how long it holds you over until lunch?
How Will It Make Me Feel Over Time?
The amount of time food is in your mouth is minuscule compared to the amount of time it is inside your digestive system. The aim of eating what you want is to maximise your pleasure over time. When you imagine what you would like to eat, also think about how it will make you feel for the next three hours. Will it make you feel light and energised, or heavy, sleepy and bloated? Will you get a sugar rush and then a crash?
If you choose to eat what you really want, and think about how you will feel for the rest of the day and when you wake up tomorrow, you can’t go wrong.
You Don’t Have to Always Get it Right
Especially if you have a long list of forbidden foods that you haven’t eaten for years, you may find that what you thought you wanted, doesn’t do it for you any more. I can remember looking at my plate of fish and chips at the pub and feeling a sense of sadness because they weren’t the gourmet delight I remembered.
It doesn’t matter if you end up eating something that turns out not to be what you wanted after all. There are thousands of more meals where you can get it right. It is an exciting game of detective work.
You Might Not Know the Whole Truth
Do you know that difference in the fat content of whole milk and skim (2%) milk is only 3g. Did you know that a teaspoon of brown sugar has only 11 calories. Did you know that most of thecalories from nuts aren’t absorbed by the body?
If you are scared of falling face first into Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner then you might need to ease into this gradually. You could allow yourself one ‘eat what you want’ meal a day, you could alternate between count it days and fuck it days , you could add a forbidden food back into your diet (hello fruit! hello bread!) or you could substitute something ‘bad’ in place of something ‘good’ (some brown sugar and milk on your oatmeal instead of protein powder).
You might still experience a mini binge if you re-introduce a perceived ‘trigger’ food, but the trick is to keep going. If you buy a packet of chocolate biscuits and you eat the whole packet, go straight out and buy another packet and then have another biscuit the next day. As soon as you realise that you can have any food you want, every single day for the rest of your life, suddenly you don’t have to finish off the packet to get them out of the house. During my recent birthday celebrations I had a slice of cheesecake two days in a row. On the third day, I decided to have banana and almond butter with low-fat ice-cream instead because the cheesecake no longer appealed.
Once you have made all those ‘naughty’ foods that you binge on as routine as eating brown rice then you will find that you only want them occasionally and that foods filled with nutrients, energy and vitality are your first choice most of the time.
If you are brave enough to do away with all the limitations all at once then you will get through the “all I’m eating is crap” phase much quicker and discover that your natural healthy preferences return along with a remarkable sense of relaxation around food. It no longer has power over you — you are the one in charge. But you must keep going – once you abandon your resolve (in spite of the fact that your pants are getting tighter) then you won’t reap the benefit of relaxed eating and the subsequent joy of eating healthy foods struggle free. It’s like planting a seed in the ground and then digging it up to see if it has grown. You have to hold on until you finally see a small tiny shoot poking through the earth.
You’ll be pleased to know that my final frontier is dried fruit and I’m still overeating it because I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t have it in the house because I can’t control myself (I should listen to my own advice!). I am pretty sure I am getting there though and writing all this down has definitely helped.