Lately there has been an increasing change in consciousness around the reason to workout. Women are being encouraged to workout for the health benefits rather than to be thin. Campaigns like "Healthy is the New Skinny" state it plainly "It’s not about a size. It’s about a movement." I love that change in perspective! Early on after my decision to improve my fitness, I realized that my focus on weight loss and thinness was stressing me out! Many of you know that the scale can make or break your mood. The obsession with the is extremely unhealthy! Yet, most of the promotion of fitness is still firmly connected to losing weight and getting thin. The damage of this mindset has been documented. Research has found that women were more likely to exercise for weight or appearance related reasons. Exercising for thinness was also associated with higher levels of body dissatisfaction and a predisposition to eating disorders. It’s crucial that we readjust our thoughts from reducing fat to increasing fitness. As women our desire has to be for strength and flexibility, not skinniness. That mindset has long term physical and mental health benefits.
If exercise is one part of the equation then the other part is eating. Many times we eat because of emotional or social cues. We are at a cook-out so we eat. We are bored so we wander to the refrigerator and we nibble. Often we are quite unaware of the signals our bodies are sending us in general and keenly unaware of hunger cues. Intuitive eating is a practice of actively paying attention to the feedback our body gives us about being hungry or full. Intuitive eating has been connected with less body dissatisfaction, lower BMI and fewer symptoms of eating disorders. Many women have lost the connection between their body and mind when it comes to food. Fad diets, diet pills and the demonization of certain food groups has made listening to our internal messages very difficult for many of us.
Taking time to listen and actively heal our relationships with our bodies and food is important if we are intending on having true, lasting health and wellness.
Intuitive eating is simply letting go of the obsession with calories and kinds of foods ~ the diet mentality. The focus is on the messages our bodies are sending about when they are hungry and when they are full. The only foods you shouldn’t eat are the ones your body doesn’t like. This level of body awareness will benefit all aspects of your life. Our bodies are constantly giving us feedback about whether our environment is beneficial or toxic, it is our job to listen and make the appropriate adjustments.
For the next 7 days try these eating practices:
- Eat only when you are truly hungry, not when you think you SHOULD be hungry.
- Stop eating when you are no longer hungry. This is not the same as when you feel "full".
- Pay attention to how you feel after your meals. Are you energized or more tired? Play around with eating different combinations of proteins and carbs, raw foods and cooked and observe your body’s reactions.
The great thing about trying these mindful eating techniques is there is no downside. Incorporating mindfulness into any aspect of your life is going to enrich your entire life, so give it a shot! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!
Wishing you nothing but the best!
P.S. If you would like to support implementing these practices and more, check out my NEW FB coaching group at "Brooklyn Fit Mami Coaching Group"
P.P.S If you are up to a SERIOUS health and wellness challenge, join my Chalean Extreme challenge starting on June 25th!!