intuitive eating

Intuitive Eating Is Great - But What If I Can't Trust My Body?

IE.jpg

Lately i’ve found myself at a bit of a crossroads with the message of this blog, and the direction that I want it to go.

I am constantly learning, evolving, and changing, and it only seems fitting to me that my blog posts reflect that. Being authentic and real is the backbone of Rebelle Nutrition, and when what I am writing about is not in alignment with how i’m truly feeling, it is obvious and…uninspired.

I’m sure over the course of time I will take this blog in many different directions, because that’s me. I will never fit into one specific box, or category, and thats the way I want Rebelle Nutrition to be as well. Keeps things exciting, right? Thanks for sticking with me!

Of course Rebelle Nutrition is ALWAYS going to be pro- body positivity, self love, real food, anti “diet” and so forth. But lately i’ve been thinking more about the concept of intuitive eating (which I still promote!) and where it falls short.

YES, intuitive eating is an amazing tool for those who are able to tap into their bodies signals for hunger and fullness.

But what about people who can’t trust their cravings?

For example,

Someone who has eaten mostly fast food for their whole like is probably not going to crave vegetables, even if that is what their body needs.

Someone who has restricted their calories or dieted most of their life may legitimately only feel hungry for 1200 calories of food per day, even though their body needs more.

Someone who craves candy and sweets all day probably has some blood sugar handling or candida related issues - and eating intuitively may be making their problems worse.

…and to be honest, these scenarios ARE most of us. Intuitive eating is like the magical unicorn that we aspire to; the "after-we-resolve-your-health-concerns" phase of the work we do together - to ensure that the changes we've made are lasting and sustainable.

Unfortunately, eating intuitively is probably not going to help you improve your IBS or adrenal fatigue. The reason you got into a state of digestive problems or adrenal stress in the first place is probably due to some of the seemingly “intuitive" habits you have become accustomed to over the years, like drinking coffee all day long, or continuing to eat cheese despite the fact it hurts your stomach (but tastes delicious).

The bottom line is that the way we fuel ourselves matters.

Food will always have an emotional component, and that is totally fine! It's part of what makes birthdays, holidays, and home-cooked meals enjoyable and memorable. But sometimes an outside perspective is necessary if the way we have been eating and living is not getting us to where we want to be - physically, mentally or otherwise. Sometimes having a “plan” is the jumpstart we need for our bodies to return to place where we can trust her signals again.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel amazing in your body - whatever that means for you.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to wake up feeling energized without 3 cups of coffee.

There is nothing wrong with removing certain foods from your diet that make you feel like crap.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

I feel a rant coming on...

As much as I sometimes get fed up with the health-obsessed culture that we live in, we can’t deny the fact that food has profound impacts on the way we feel both mentally and physically.

To be honest, there have been times when I want to say “fuck it” with nutrition; like when nearly every person I meet wants to sell me their “nutritional shake” that somehow automatically makes them a “health coach”.

In a perfect world, we could all just eat whatever the fuck we wanted, feel great, and start talking about things OTHER than health and food - like love, fun, ideas, inspiration, joy or LITERALLY ANYTHING other than nutrition.

But then I come back down to reality and realize that no one is immune to the increasing number of modern and preventable diseases like diabetes, hormonal problems, chronic fatigue, heart disease, thyroid problems and so many more.

Even I am not immune - despite the knowledge I have about nutrition and the gut, I still sometimes think I can get away with eating gluten, and then pay for it for days afterwards.

Like it or not, the way we fuel ourselves is PARAMOUNT in us leading happy, healthy lives.

There are things that I started doing (and eating) on a daily basis because I knew they were good for me and would make me feel my best, like:

Drinking enough water.
Getting enough healthy fats.
Eating lots of salad/ cooked vegetables.
Avoiding raw, cruciferous veggies.
Taking a probiotic.
Avoiding gluten.
Banana ice cream!!
Sleeping 8+ hours a night.
Green smoothies.
Yoga/Walk/Swim/Surf/Play.

And now, I do each of these things intuitively every day because I literally crave them; not just for how they taste or because they are 'trendy', but because of how they make me feel afterwards.

So, if you aren't at the stage where intuitive eating is an option for you, don't worry. I created a program EXACTLY for you, and the best news is...

IT'S FREE!

Introducing: The Rebelle Reset

 

The Rebelle Reset is a 21 day program that aims to help you:

- Learn to eat real food
- Identify your food triggers (i.e foods that may be causing inflammation, digestive distress, etc)
- Get in tune with what your body is truly craving
- Eliminate artificial, processed foods
- Manage cravings for sugars, alcohol and refined foods
- Prioritize self care
- Get out of your current food rut!

The first program is going to start September 5th! So make sure to join my email list to stay up to date and receive your guide, which will include:

- Foods to choose
- Foods to avoid
- Exercise recommendations
- Daily self-care challenges
- A grocery guide
- Access to the Rebelle Reset Facebook group
- ...and more!

To make sure you are on my Rebelle Reset email list - go here and enter your name/email address. Also be sure to join the Facebook group to receive a daily FOCUS during each day of the challenge. 

My Biggest Problem With The Paleo Diet (Rebelle Nutrition)

paleo diet.jpg

I love the Paleo style of eating. Meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fats - what's not to love? These cover all of my favorite food groups.

In terms of nutrition, there is so much value in eating a paleo, nutrient dense dietPeople have literally healed themselves from the inside out by eating this way.

However, a huge problem that has become increasingly blatant to me in the real food-sphere is the tendency to throw intuitive eating out the window and instead follow militant food guidelines for the sake of "health".

I am as guilty as anyone else; when I first switched over to a paleo-style template, I created hard and fast rules that never allowed me to eat grains of any kind, or dairy, or anything but the highest quality cuts of meat. I also focused on meats and veggies so much that I actually started to fear carbs and worried that my beloved fruit had 'too much sugar'.

My biggest problem with the Paleo Diet is that we have abandoned the idea of using it as a 'template' of the most nutritious foods to choose from; and turned it into a set of strict rules intertwined with feelings of morality and judgement.

(I believe this can be said about ANY diet, i’m just picking on paleo because it’s closest to what I follow and recommend :) )

Just like nearly everything in western culture, we think it must be taken to an extreme in order to be effective. This black and white thinking about whether something is or is not "paleo", is what keeps people trapped in the ‘diet-mentality’ and leaves us feeling guilty for “falling off the wagon” because we ate a gluten-filled chocolate chip cookie.

I have noticed this trend in my work with clients, as well as with other bloggers and people on social media. Someone begins eating paleo innocently enough as a way to focus more on quality of food and nutrition, and suddenly becomes wrapped up in a sea of unnecessary food restrictions and "righteous eating".

What if we could eat what we wanted, when we wanted it, in a healthful way, devoid of feelings of guilt or restriction? (hint: we can)

Enter: Intuitive Eating

What is Intuitive Eating? from this website:

"Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body--where you ultimately become the expert of your own body. You learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and gain a sense of body wisdom. It's also a process of making peace with food---so that you no longer have constant "food worry" thoughts. It's knowing that your health and your worth as a person do not change, because you ate a food that you had labeled as 'bad' or 'fattening'".

In simple terms, intuitive eating is identifying hunger cues and satisfying them with the food that your body is truly craving, and then moving on with your life.

To someone who has never had a fucked up relationship to food or body image, this probably sounds like what you do on a daily basis, every time you eat.

For those of us who have years of dieting and body image issues under our belt, eating intuitively can sound daunting and extremely challenging.

Here are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating: (from the book, Intuitive Eating)


1. Reject the Diet Mentality - Clear out any diet books, “fitness” magazines or social media accounts from your life that provide you with the idea that ‘X' new diet will be the solution to all of life’s problems. Beware of the ‘Leanness Fantasy’


2. Honor Your Hunger - Make sure to eat adequate meals at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the day. When starvation is perceived, our bodies are biologically programmed to overeat once the next meal comes. This is why low-calorie diets are destined to backfire; and has nothing to do with willpower; bingeing or overeating after a period of scarcity is simply a biological response to ensure your survival.


3. Make Peace with Food - Give yourself permission to eat whatever you want (assuming you have no allergies or sensitivities). Telling yourself that certain foods are “off limits” or “bad” will only lead to feelings of deprivation and result in overwhelming guilt once you finally give in to said food.


4. Challenge the Food Police - Learn to identify the beliefs you have around certain off-limits foods or ways eating. Do you avoid eating until noon because you aren’t hungry, or because some internet guru told you that was the best way to burn fat? Identify and challenge the beliefs you have around food that are contradictory to how you feel intuitively.


5. Respect your fullness - Pause mid-meal to ask yourself your current level of fullness. Begin to identify signals from your body that indicate you are no longer hungry, such as physical fullness or food not tasting as satisfied as when you first started eating.


6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor - Find pleasure in the food you are eating! Eating what your body is craving, in a calm and relaxed environment is one of the most powerful ways to feel satisfied and content after a meal. Alternately, imagine a time when you have rushed home to eat frantically in front of the TV. It doesn’t really matter what the food was that you ate, but it is very likely that you were left feeling unsatisfied, snacky, and looking for something else to eat afterwards.


7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food - Loneliness, boredom, anxiety and anger are all emotions that will arise at some point in our lives. Finding ways to cope and resolve these emotions without using food is paramount. Food may provide comfort or distraction in the short term, but will most likely make you feel worse in the long run when you have to deal with the discomfort of overeating in addition to the difficult emotion.


8. Respect Your Body - Learn to accept that every single person has a different body size and shape. Respect your body as it is right now, even if you want to change it. Rejecting the ‘diet’ mentality is nearly impossible if you have unrealistic goals and expectations about your body shape.


9. Exercise - Forget exercising as a way to “burn calories” and shift to focusing on how it feels to move and be active. Do you feel stronger, more energized? These are long term motivators of exercise that will ensure it becomes a lifelong habit, rather than exercising as punishment or for aesthetic goals.


10. Honor Your Health - Choose foods that are health promoting and make you feel optimally. Many people are under the impression that eating intuitively and removing food rules will send them into a downward spiral of doughnuts and pizza rolls for the rest of their life. Let’s say you do crave doughnuts and pizza rolls as your first 'intuitive eating' meal. Assuming you ate slowly and stopped when you were satisfied, the craving would then be gone and you could go on with the rest of your day. More than likely, by the time your next meal came around, you would be in the mood for something a bit lighter and more nutrient dense. Surprisingly, “giving in” to cravings can actually have a positive effect on your weight as well as your mindset. This allows you to consume the food that you want in a reasonable portion, instead of stewing over the thought of it for months and months only to result in a binge.

Obviously, eating intuitively with food allergies or intolerances can be a little more tricky, although still doable. Check out this blog post for more information!

Tell me: Do you eat strict paleo? Do you find yourself feeling restricted or “guilty” around certain foods? What are your thoughts on intuitive eating?

How to Eat Real Food and Not Drive Yourself Crazy

I realized I have skipped over the most basic principles of where to start (nutrition-wise) if you want to improve your health. (If you already know all of this but are looking for more on a specific health concern, go HERE or HERE )

I am super passionate about helping people change the way they eat, in order to alleviate health problems (i’ll get into the specifics down below!).

I am ALSO passionate about helping my clients eat in a way that won’t drive them crazy, make them feel deprived, or feel like they are on another diet. 

The focus of this post is to start with the basic template of the most nutrient dense foods to fuel your metabolism, energy, skin/hair/nail health, digestion, and basically every other function of the body.

Here is a very basic, nutrient dense- paleo template:

Proteins:

(preferably organic)

- Grass fed beef/bison

- Wild caught fish, seafood

- Pasture raised chicken

- Pastured eggs

 

Veggies:

All, preferably in season and organic

 

Fruits:

All, preferably in season and organic

 

Starches:

- Potatoes (white, sweet, purple)

- Cassava

- Plantains

- Parsnips

- Squash

- Pumpkin

 

Fats:

- Avocado

- Coconut

- Oils (olive, coconut, avocado, cold-pressed nut oils)

- Ghee

- Nuts/ seeds

 

The ideal macronutrient breakdown for each person will be different depending on your goals (we get into the specifics here), but a good place to start is 40% carbs (fruit, veggies, starches) 30% fats and 30% protein. Remember that fat has more energy (calories) than protein or carbs, so the amount of fat you need will be less (volume-wise) than the other two macronutrients.

If you are constantly suffering from things like seasonal allergies, joint pain, slowed metabolism, headaches, congestion, chronic sinus infections, brain fog, etc. the list above is a great place to start, in order to figure out if the source of your health problems could simply be processed foods or a food sensitivity.

What most people don’t realize is that chronic nagging symptoms like these are DIRECTLY tied to the food you eat and your nutritional status.

The list above is also somewhat restrictive, and feeling like you can’t go out to eat or satisfy your cravings is NOT how I ever want my clients to feel. Enter: my Rebelle food guide pyramid 😃

 

 

I’ll use myself as an example for how I use this food guide pyramid. I focus about 80% of my meals around the nutrient dense foods I listed above. This is because these are the foods my body craves on a daily basis (the base of the pyramid). However, some mornings I wake up and I want gluten-free cereal with almond milk, so I have it.  My craving is then satisfied in a way that is not going to effect my mental health or joints, and by the time lunch comes around I am usually ready for a good amount of protein and fat. I also make sure to satisfy my chocolate craving on a daily basis by choosing the highest quality cacao powder (I LOVE this brand) and making homemade hot chocolate or coconut oil chocolate bars. (Foods like my gluten free cereal or chocolate would make up the middle part of the pyramid - they are not quite as nutrient dense, but they are also not harmful to my health in any way either). Finally, sometimes when I am traveling, celebrating, or just have a craving, i’ll have a margarita, or frozen yogurt, or try a new restaurant dish that i’ve never had before. (These would fall under the top triangle).

I know that these choices won't make me feel optimally, so I save them for special occasions. However, it is important to me to enjoy celebrations, traveling, parties, etc. and part of that is enjoying the food! The next day, I usually feel like upping my intake of vegetables or drinking more water, and that is the beauty of listening to what your body needs.

These are just a few personal examples, but every client is different and will have different cravings, needs, and goals! The takeaway here is to figure out what foods make you feel deprived when eliminated. For me, this is chocolate. I know that a store-bought candy bar is not going to make me feel good or promote health, so I make my own. This way, my craving is satisfied in a way that will not negatively impact my health. I can also go on with the rest of my day, choosing (mostly) nutrient dense foods without making my self insane trying to resist a chocolate craving. 

 

Remember, stressing out about your food choices or feeling like you can’t go to a birthday party or out for drinks is going to do your mind (and body!) way more harm than good. My goal is to inspire people to seek a more balanced way of eating and living, where LIFE comes first and food comes second.

Tell me:

What is your biggest struggle when it comes to eating in a nutrient-dense way that still allows you to feel sane? Let me know in the comments below :)