FOOD – Mums, have your cake and eat it!

The eager eyed amongst you will recall that I’ve already blogged about food this year.  You could revisit that blog but in summary I’m a bloody nightmare when it comes to eating.  Serial yo-yo dieter and a wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit because I’ll just drop a stone and then I can wear them again (doesn’t happen!).  All or nothing type of girl – if I leave that packet of hobnobs alone I’m fine but if I open them they’ll get inhaled at an alarmingly fast pace.

So why am I blogging about this again?  My good friend Ruth is a dietetic consultant and ironically although the word ‘diet’ features in her job title she will tell you that dieting is not the way to go in my case but ‘intuitive eating’.  Ruth runs her own business and recently posted a picture of her 2 ½ year old having left half a muffin because he was full and just left it. I was flabbergasted. Who leaves ½ a muffin? Well apparently children eat intuitively and will just stop when they feel full.  I would have seen that muffin off. I mentioned this to Ruth and we spoke about my horrendous relationship with food. Not long after she offered me a free consultation and I think I might have finally seen the light, albeit 20 odd years later!

My ‘woman on the street unqualified’ understanding of intuitive eating is this:-

You’re reaching for food – are you actually hungry?  If not leave it alone, go and do something else to distract yourself.  If you are actually hungry tuck in. Think about what you’re eating and don’t sit there mindlessly shovelling it in.  Take time to rest and if you feel full, shock horror, leave some on your plate – you will not be punished for doing this.  When you’re finished really think about whether you need seconds or whether the portion you had was a fair size. If you fancy dessert, have it.  Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t restrict yourself, labelling foods as good and bad. Everything is fine in moderation. Don’t weigh yourself, sense how you feel in how your clothes feel on you, how healthy you feel, how good your skin looks because you’re drinking more water.  Buy clothes that actually fit you so you feel good in your own skin.  NB It’s amazing how great you feel when you treat yourself to new knickers that actually fit!  Weight loss is a plus but isn’t something to address until you’re eating intuitively.    

I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and I can honestly say I feel so much better.  I’m not obsessing about food, not thinking about what I’m going to eat for the day the minute I wake up.  Not ramming a whole pot of Ben & Jerry’s down my throat of a Friday evening as a ‘reward’ for getting through the week.  I took 2 chocolate digestives from the pack the other night and then put the packet away! I don’t recognise myself.

Now I appreciate it is early days, and I have been joking a lot, but there are serious reasons behind this change.  Obviously my health being one of them and wanting to be ‘fabulous at 40 next year’ but also I absolutely do not want to project my bad eating habits onto my children.

So I’m going to step aside and let you hear from the expert with her advice and lazily back out of my lightboxblogger tips as I think Ruth is far better qualified to serve these up:

What is a healthy diet?  Many people think they know the answer to this, but healthy eating means something different to everyone and what works for one person isn’t necessarily the healthiest for another.   Many of us know the standard advice – 5-a-day, reduced salt, healthy fats, wholegrains, but we don’t necessarily know how to apply it within our own lives. The message becomes complicated when you start adding in health conditions, finances, cooking skills, behaviours, influences when we were growing up, our mental health…throw in the mixed messages from the media and wellness bloggers and we have a whole heap of confusion!

I’ve known Emma for 5 wonderful years now (vom ;)) and it is only now that everything aligned and she welcomed me to carry out a consultation.  Emma has shared with us a lot about how she has changed since becoming a Mum and being a Mum sure does change our bodies and the way we eat. When I met with Emma, I quickly decided that the Intuitive Eating approach could bring about many positive changes for her and that the cause of much of her weight gain over the years has in fact been dieting!   Here’s why:

Dieting lowers our metabolism and therefore when we come off the diet we need less calories than we did before and our weight tends to quickly increase again.

Following other people’s diet rules means that we are ignoring the natural hunger and fullness signals from our bodies and over time we forget how to do this.

When we restrict a food we want it more.  So, when we label for example, chocolate as bad and tell ourselves we can’t have it we really really want it and when we finally fold – look out Cadbury’s your about to run low on stock.

To embrace Intuitive Eating there are some important things that need to happen.  You must be prepared to never diet again. You must learn to appreciate the body that you have got.  You must prioritise feelings of mental and physical health over your weight – the number on the scales does not tell you how you feel and how worthy of love you are.  

If you are prepared to do these things, then Intuitive Eating can set you free from obsessing about food and can help you lead a healthier lifestyle whatever your weight.  If you are interested in finding out more I suggest you look at the following:

My website is Facebook @podpeanutrition and I am happy to have a quick chat with anyone wanting to know more.

Before I go, here are my top tips to achieving a healthy diet for you!

1. Listen to your body – are you hungry, what do you really want to eat, how will it make you feel afterwards?

2. Watch your portions.   It really is true that all foods are ok to eat if eaten in moderation.

3. The more veg the better – aim for half a plate of vegetables at mealtimes and variety is key.

4. Lastly, please seek nutritional information from a qualified professional i.e. a Registered Dietitian or Registered Nutritionist, or trustworthy websites like the British Dietitians Associations Food Fact Sheets.

So there it is ‘intuitive eating’.  You really can have your cake and eat it!

If you fancy chatting about this on Wednesday 3rd October @ 8.00pm with me and Ruth head on over to the closed Facebook group Light It Up: Let’s Talk

2 thoughts on “FOOD – Mums, have your cake and eat it!”

    1. It’s been a surprising game changer for me. Very knowledgeable lady is my friend. Got your email – yay – does happy hand clap. Xx

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