What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

What does it mean to honor and listen to your body? Delving into what intuitive eating means…

Some of my friends who read my blog posts ask me what it means to honor and listen to your body. To be frank, listening to your body is a medium that is incredibly hard – harder than the extremes. Based on my experience, restricting or overeating and not exercising at all or overexercising is a lot easier than practicing “moderation.”

Across my recovery, I’ve been recommended to practice intuitive eating, but let me tell you intuitive is very difficult when you’ve been practicing disordered eating. Listening to your body requires a lot of time, patience, and effort.

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To me, listening to my body means to not eat ice cream because I know that my body does not process dairy well. I know that the sluggish and queasy feeling I get in my stomach after eating dairy is not worth the momentary pleasure of eating ice cream. This is not restriction. Restriction would be not getting ice cream because I know there are too many calories in ice cream.

To me honoring my body means going out for an easy run when I’m itchy for some movement. I know that I have been sitting down a lot throughout the week and want to stretch out and give the range of motion my body wants. This is not exercise addiction. Exercise addiction would be exercising despite injuries, despite your body feeling weak and tired.

To me, intuitive eating means not getting seconds because I am aware that my wanting to get seconds is emotional: I had a rough day at school, I have friend drama going on, I have a big test looming ahead. I am aware that my physical hunger has been satisfied. This is not restriction because restriction would be to not eat when my stomach is asking for more food.

Indeed, this is not easy. It’s hard to take the time to reflect, pause, and listen to what your body wants. And even when you are trying to listen, sometimes you are confused as to whether you are listening to your physical self or your emotional self.

This took me an incredibly time (maybe an upward of two years) and I’m still not near perfect. Intuitive eating is never about being perfect and listening to your body every single time. Intuitive eating is about progress, about continually getting better at listening to your body. Because sometimes, you may be physically full but you just might need a little sweet to pick you up. And that’s completely fine.

Going into intuitive eating is first a huge step. To completely ditch the calorie counting in your head, to ditch the “obligation” to exercise, to completely ditch all the rules from society but to only listen to yourself. And even when you decide to practice intuitive eating, it is a hard principle to follow. But read my examples above. Getting to that point took a lot of time, patience and effort but at the end, I feel much more energy and love and self-respect for my body.

You only get to live with your body once. Honor it. Listen to it. No matter how hard it gets.

What will you do today to honor your body?

Xoxo,

Stephanie

Summer Health & Fitness Goal

Summer Health & Fitness Goal

For a lot of girls, summer = bikini body. However, for me this “bikini body” thing does not appeal to me. I would always choose feeling energized, vibrant, and robust while not having the “cover-girl” body over feeling weak and tired and being sickly thin.

I’m not saying I don’t like looking great, but, if I could only choose one thing, I would rather feel great inside than look great.

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With that being said, my summer health/fitness goals are:

 

  • Get rid of the skinny mentality and replace with strong and fit mentality. | This means less cardio and more weight/strength training = >  weight/strength training two times a week + cardio three times a week

 

    • Last summer, I would do 40 minutes of running in the morning, three hours of tennis and some yoga. In other words, cardio and stretching but no strength training whatsoever. I did get my desired “thinness” but I constantly felt weak and tired.
    • This goal is also influenced by Serena – we were talking once, before spring break, of how we get intimidated by lifting weights because 1) we think it’ll bulk us up (which I learned it doesn’t) and 2) we’re scared to lift weights when they’re these buff guys lifting 100 pound dumbbells on one arm each, next to us.
  • Intuitive eating | This is an extension off of my previous post, but intuitive eating is just the same as anything: easier said than done.
    • Serena has been a real trooper about keeping me in check about this. When we’re eating dinner and I say, “Ugh, I’m not even hungry, but I want some yogurt.” She turns to me and says, “Remember, intuitive eating!” It’s such a simple reminder, yet so effective. (I encourage you guys to tell your health/fitness goals to someone you trust or spend a lot of time with so they can remind you from time to time.)

 

As you can see, my summer goal is not for me to reach a certain number on a scale or for me to fit into a certain article of clothing or certain clothing size, but about how I feel and how I perform.

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From my experience last summer where I lost 20 pounds from tracking and restricting my calories to a mere 1200 when I ran two miles every morning and did 3 hours of tennis daily, I was just not happy. When I went to visit Korea, aka Food Haven, I restricted myself so much, that every day was a struggle and an emotional roller coaster. I learned from summer 2015, that life is meant to be enjoyed and that while, yes, it’s important to be healthy, emotional health is as important if not more important than my physical health. For me, if my emotional health is poor then my physical health becomes even poorer.

 

So for all of those girls and guys out there who want to have the “summer bod,” I URGE you to rethink. Having a summer health/fitness goal is great, but make sure that this goal is not about your physical appearance but more about your emotional wellbeing.

 

What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

 

xoxo,

Stephanie

What does “Intuitive Eating” Mean?

What does “Intuitive Eating” Mean?

My favorite type of YouTube videos, podcasts, or Instagram accounts revolve around the topic food (shocker I know …). Anyways, these days, I’ve been seeing the topic “intuitive eating” on these social/entertainment platform a lot. After watching a handful of videos and podcasts (there’s seriously so many of them that are all readily and freely available to us), I have decided to jump on the the “intuitive eating” bandwagon myself.

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Now you may be asking, what is intuitive eating? Intuitive eating is at its simplest, “Eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full.”

 

Isn’t that so simple? However, I know from my own experience and obviously from the astounding number of videos and podcasts on this topic, eating intuitively is not as easy as it sounds.

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The Principles of Intuitive Eating … sounds simple, in reality: NOT

When we were babies we were intuitive eaters. I know this because when I eat with my five to seven year old cousins, they don’t have three meals a day. They just eat whenever they want to eat (and also when their moms are willing to cook something for them) which means it could be anytime of the day eating any size of a meal. However, why is that when we become adults, we choose to have three square meals a day? Like where did that number three come from?

 

Serena and I can both attest to getting “food greedy” when something is too good for lunch or dinner that we get seconds despite obviously feeling full. Along this health journey that I took and am still taking, I realized that both quantity and quality matters. However, I’ve been obsessed so much about the quality, that I lost control of my portions. Calories are still calories and if you eat more than you need, you’re going to gain weight. You can still gain weight by eating clean foods. You can still lose weight by eating junk foods.

 

However, as you guys may know from my “Healthy Journey” post, I have decided that my motivation to eat healthy and be active is NOT so I can be a certain weight or appearance. I am motivated to eat healthy and be active because I want to feel energized and happy as well as nourish my body with the nutrients and activity it needs (key word = what MY BODY needs, not what I think my body needs)

 

And this nourishment that I’m talking about is not only physical nourishment but emotional and mental nourishment too. Personally, this means slacking up on my food quality. It means that sometimes, if I want peanut butter, if I want to eat a cookie, I can and have perfect freedom to eat it.

 

So that’s why intuitive eating attracted me. The “diet” (ugh I absolutely despise that word) seems to urge people to listen to their body for hunger and fullness cues. To be honest, I feel like my hunger cues have been so messed up after my extreme diet and weight loss this past summer.

 

But you know what? Just because my hunger cues are messed up, I’m not going to mess them up even more. I’m going to stop and turn around and work towards making myself a more “in-tuned” eater.

 

I decided to write about this topic because Serena and I ran a 5k race “together” (together isn’t quite the right word because she ran a good 3 minutes faster than me). However, after the race, we went straight to brunch and while I was going to straight to the food, Serena paused and said, “I’m actually not that hungry right now.”

 

This struck me because for me, I thought in my head: ran a race = burned calories = able to eat something. While Serena thought: ran a race = not hungry = should I eat?

 

Serena’s logic makes much more sense and “normal.” The fact that my eating has to be justified because I burned x amount of calories is ridiculous. The fact that I stop eating because I know I reached my calorie limit is ridiculous. I mean who lives like that? Life is meant to be enjoyed.

 

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Look…the foods I crave are all different. Some are “healthy” and some are “unhealthy”

 

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This is the beauty of intuitive eating.

 

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Isn’t the color of this persimmon divine?

 

Anyways, summing up this rant, I hope you guys, whoever you are: whether you’re like me who is recovering from an unnatural or restrictive eating lifestyle or someone who is perfectly in peace with food, were able to learn about intuitive eating and the freedom and happiness it can give to people like me.

 

How do you eat? Intuitively?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

P.S. : If you do eat intuitively, what are your tips to reach intuitive eating? Or do you have any success stories to share?