Hey guys! Ever since I posted my blog article on my experience with the keto diet, I have received many questions and requests with regards to this topic. It seems like you guys were very interested in my approach to dieting and nutrition, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about my intuitive style of the keto diet.
First of all, I just want to make clear that I am by no means a dietitian or certified in any manner to give out advice on dieting and nutrition. I simply enjoy sharing my experiences with you, however, I strongly recommend that you consult a health care professional before following any of my suggestions.
Moreover, I am convinced that everybody needs to find their own way of eating intuitively and I am always happy to support anyone who is looking to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
Now that this is clear, let’s dive right in.
When I started my training to become a yoga teacher a few years ago, I quickly became obsessed with the idea of having to look like the “perfect yogini”. Scrolling through my social media feeds and seeing all these perfect yoga influencers, I felt like I had to become one of them. Back then, I was already well into my forties, so I put myself under even more pressure, because I was convinced that all yoga teacher always looked flawless.
On top of that, I was very often reminded by other yoga enthusiasts that only “real yoginis” follow Ayurveda and all its principles. As vegetarianism is one of the main pillars in Ayurveda, I decided to completely cut out meat out of my diet and to follow this type of diet strictly.
As you can imagine, I struggled a lot and more than often I ended up binging at the end of a whole week of strict dieting. Even though I started the morning off “well” and remained “good” throughout the entire day, I would sooner or later not be able to follow through and give in to “bad foods”. This quickly became my weekly ritual, where after a few days of clean eating, I would spiral down a hole of relentless binge-eating.
This went on for many months and instead if seeing any desired results, I just grew more and more frustrated with myself.
One day, after an especially bad episode of binge-eating, I remembered that there was a time when I barely used to binge. Back then, I was actually just happy with myself. I realised that I only became so obsessed with “good” and “bad” foods after I placed those labels on them and restricted myself so much.
I knew I had to let go of these rules to find my inner balance again.
In the following, I will share some of my recommendations on how to get started with intuitive or mindful eating, although I do not really like using the word “started”, as it implies that there is an end. However, this is not the case, because trust me: Once you start listening to your body and acknowledging all its needs, you’ll never want to go back again!
1) Don’t be afraid to give in:
I know it may sound very daunting at the beginning but letting go of all the rules you have lived by all this time will probably be one of the most liberating experiences you’ll ever make. Many people fear that they will “let loose” and start binging like there is no tomorrow, but this is not true.
It is possible that you might crave certain foods more than others, but in my experience, this happens in rather short cycles of up to a few weeks or so and once you satisfied that craving, you will be surprised how many healthy foods your body will actually be craving! So, do not be afraid to listen to your body, because it only means well for you.
2) Respect your emotions:
This is probably much easier said than done, but instead of trying to avoid unpleasant emotions, you should try to investigate them: Why am I suddenly feeling sad? Why am I overcome with anger? Also, try to find out where that feeling is located within your body. How does that emotion feel? Is it maybe a stinging sensation on your stomach? Or perhaps a pulsing pain in your chest area? I always used to be terribly afraid of facing my emotions, however, the great news is that feelings come and go again.
Moreover, the more you make yourself aware of certain emotions, you’ll see that it actually starts fading again. Try to find out which situations or people cause these feelings and you will see that it will not be necessary to eat your feelings immediately. However, this does not mean that you must become “perfect” at intuitive eating. Instead:
3) Listen out for your body’s needs:
Sometimes it is totally okay to “mess up” and to eat a whole bar of chocolate or any other type of your favourite comfort food. As humans, we have been brought up to be consoled with food from the very day we are born. By allowing yourself to have comfort food again, you will notice that over time you will crave less of it.
If you read my last post about the keto diet, you will remember that I sometimes still go through phases where I can’t help myself and overeat. But do you know what? This is fine, because we are human and there is no such thing as the perfect body/yoga teacher etc.
4) Learn to admire food:
Intuitive eating does not only mean that you can eat whatever you want, but you will learn to enjoy food in its entirety. This means that you should start being aware of the food you are eating.
If you are struggling to incorporate mindful moments into your everyday life, you could try to practice mindful eating instead: Devote your whole attention to the food or meal you are about to eat. What does it look and smell like? Examine its texture: Does it have a smooth or rough surface? What does it feel like on your tongue? Is it grainy or crunchy?
The great thing about this exercise is that it can be basically done anywhere and anytime and it does not take long at all. This is just about acknowledging what’s on your plate and being present in this given moment.
5) Experiment as much as you can:
Don’t be scared to try out new foods. This is basically how I discovered that I really love keto-based meals. I noticed how well my body feels after meals that are high in fats and protein. Also, it is only a coincidence that such meals are considered “keto” or “low carb”. So what? If my body likes it, I will enjoy it.
I really hope that the above suggestions will help you on your intuitive eating journey. Please let me know what you think, I am always more than happy to receive your feedback. After all, without you guys this second part to my previous keto blog would not exist!
So thank you and until next time!