In this article, I’m going to share some principles of intuitive wellbeing. This approach focuses on tapping into your innate body wisdom in order to make the right choices regarding your health. The aim is to free yourself from yo-yo dieting or restrictive eating patterns and create calm around your meal choices as well as your body image.
* Honour your body. *
Remove the thoughts which scream at you to get out of bed and train when you're sleep deprived or truly exhausted. Tune in to what your body really needs at the moment. Perhaps it wants some movement or maybe it craves gentle yin yoga or a playful swim over an intense cardio session.
Shift your focus to how you feel WHILE exercising and AFTER exercising as opposed to how many calories are to be burnt. When this happens we figure out what works best for us as a whole. The benefits of exercise are most valuable when they encompass more than just burning fat. Intuitive movement can build vitality and boost mood.
* Don't let food guide your self-love. *
Kick those nasty thoughts that declare you are 'good' for restricting your calories or 'bad' for eating a block of chocolate. Surely, the food you eat may or may not be nutritious and you might feel stressed or tired when making certain food choices, but none of them can determine your self-worth, EVER! Cultivate self-love in other ways to disconnect from harmful diet cultures and reconnect with your innate body wisdom.
* Respect your hunger signals. *
Practising mindful eating allows you to tune into the signals your body sends to indicate whether you’re full or not. Observe these signs. Do not ignore them. Pause halfway through your meal and consider how you're feeling. Mindful eating will prevent binges and guilt associated with eating certain foods. It will also provide insight into portion sizes and tell you if you're not eating enough to meet your requirements.
* Make peace with food. *
Food does not need to determine your mood. No more feeling guilty over what you've eaten or haven't eaten. No more dietary or exercise 'punishments' for your food intake. Call a truce!
Food is nutrition and fuel. Sometimes it’s even food for our mind, emotions or senses. That's ok. Tell yourself that everything is allowed in moderation – this mentality will free you from feelings of deprivation which only lead to overindulgence. A natural balance with food choices and intake will surprisingly follow. No more food shame!
* Honour your emotions (without food). *
Honouring your feelings is an essential part of developing healthy coping mechanisms and emotional intelligence. Food is so commonly used to distract or comfort and this takes us away from the process of sitting with our emotions and moving through them with valuable lessons in tow.
Anxiety, stress, loneliness, boredom, irritability and anger are emotions we all experience. Using food to numb these emotions is never a useful coping mechanism. In fact, this only delays the necessity of facing them and creates an added layer of unnecessary guilt.
Jump when you’re excited, dance when you’re happy, cry when you’re sad, and walk out when you’re irritated or angry. You’re actually allowed to do all these!
How else might you be able to honour your emotions? Simply by channelling them along the right path. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up or allow them to overwhelm you to the point of hurting others or yourself. Rather, accept and feel them fully then let them go.
* Acknowledge and accept your genetics. *
Respecting your familial traits and genetic blueprint is especially important when societal beauty standards have you trying to conform to a size 6 despite your characteristically voluptuous boobs or booty. We can feel great about who we are if we embrace what we were given. It’s also difficult to reject restrictive diet approaches and feel genuine satisfaction in your skin if you’re unrealistic about your personal shape.
* Reject restrictive diet culture. *
Delete the Instagram accounts of airbrushed and photoshopped women. Bin the diet books. Never again believe that a quick-fix diet will help you achieve your goals or bring you happiness. Realise that regaining weight after a fad diet is NOT your fault and ACCEPT that health is a JOURNEY, not a destination. It's OK to get angry that we women are exposed to unrealistic media and expectations of looking slim and trim despite having developed, lived, birthed and transitioned in our lives.
Restrictive diet culture disconnects us from our inner wisdom and distances us from our true food preferences and needs.
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