Create healthy habits, not restrictions: Intuitive eating
As a health professional, Intuitive and Mindful eating are the only 'diets' I really stand by. Both attune the individual to their body's own knowledge of what it needs, with a huge dose of self-compassion and flexibility.
Some of the integral components of these are that we listen to and trust our body's message to tell us what, when, and how much to eat. These capacities develop over time, just like any skill.
Wellness Journaling can be a very insightful way to begin understanding our relationship with food and how food makes us feel. Take some time to reflect on your emotional and mental experiences around food.
Some ways to start:
Limit distractions when eating. Or, better yet, do nothing but eat when you're eating. Oh yea, you heard it here first folks (not really): do one thing at a time. What happens when you include food and eating in your multi-tasking?... Over eating? Under nutrient-ing? Okay, that is definitely not a word, but you know what I mean. Allow your brain and stomach to talk to each other without the noise of so many distractions. This way, your body can talk to you and you can hear when it is full, hungry, or what nutrients it may be lacking.
Chew each bite at least 20 times. Not only can this aid our digestive system (it thanks you profusely, burp), it supports the mindfulness I casually dropped above. This from a gal that loves food. When I get hungry, it takes a very concerted effort to slooow dooowwn. How often are we so excited about a meal that we shovel it so quickly down our gullets and, boom, gone. Taste, textures, simple pleasure? Too late, gone. Take some time with your meal, like the great relationship that it is!
Stay hydrated. That’s right: food can start with drink. Research has found that for many of us, our awareness of thirst is more often mistaken for hunger for calories, thereby depriving our bodies of what they are in need of in favor of calories it may not have needed. Adequate hydration can also allow us to curb our high appetite and allow us to slow down and enjoy the food we consume.
More than that, dehydration has many of the signs and symptoms of low mood and depression. Low energy, headaches, apathy, sluggishness, difficulty concentrating… sounds like a tough day. Try a tall glass of h20. In fact, make it three.