7/14/10

Intuitive Eating

Loving the internship already!
First day with my preceptor and I was playing with fake food and organizing educational materials for a few events that are coming up next week.
There is another girl that is volunteering with my preceptor so it is great to share this experience with a future dietetic intern.



After my morning workout (2 hours on trainer w/ over/under intervals + 3.5 mile run + 1 mile Campy run) I spent 30 min. putting together snacks and meals for the day as I sipped on my recovery smoothie.
My food selections included a PB&J on a sandwich thin, peanuts, grapes, carrots, yogurt and an oatmeal packet as well as this flat out wrap + egg and veggie hash that I quickly put together. It was quick and easy and made for a yummy lunch (which I ate at The Trek Store at the beach since it is just 3 miles down the road from where I am doing some of my interning hours).
My hash included 2 eggs (1 white, 1 whole) made w/ 1 spoonful greek yogurt and a little balsamic, olive oil for the pan and mushrooms, onions, garlic, tomatoes and spinach. I cooked the veggies in the olive oil and at the end added my scrambled eggs. YUM!


I want to reflect a little on the last talk that I attended at the FDA conference on Mon. Evelyn Tribole gave a fantastic talk on intuitive eating and I am still thinking about it today.
I think we would all agree that we live in a society obsessed with food and/or looks. Americans are so hungry to be healthy yet we have a rising epidemic of obesity and health related diseases. Isn't it amazing that there is a diet book, diet, tv show, advocate/spokesperson and product for anything and everything related to nutrition, YET the US is extremely unhealthy when it comes to weight and eating proper nutrients???
We live in a society where we don't buy a product we buy the story attached.
Don't believe me? Have you ever bought Acai berry juice because of the antioxidants or fiber one bars for "the fiber"? How about a specific cereal because it is claimed to reduce cholesterol or a specific nutrition product because a pro athlete uses it?
The leading cause of death in the US is lifestyle related. No one is making you buy products or eat a certain way but due to the media and claims, Americans are practically killing themselves (or reducing years of quality life) by buying into the stories/claims of products.
Sure, we probably eat because of emotions, stress, memory or habits but when it comes down to living a healthy life, you don't have to feel intimated by creating new habits and rituals.
We all have meaning in our life and personal goals. Like I mentioned in my last blog, Your relationship to food mirrors your relationship to life.

I believe that many people go by the "eat this/not that" rule and don't truly understand what it is that the body needs to meet individual life and exercise requirements. It's easy to be told what to do and because of that, it's easy to pick up a diet book or read a forum and try to understand your body through the eyes of someone else. I am sure it is good to have a template of how to eat healthy but don't we know enough about what it takes to have a healthy diet?
You know to eat fruits and veggies but why is it that processed bars are prioritized over nutrient-rich foods? Perhaps you tried eating fruit for a snack once but that was a time of calorie-restriction and the diet wasn't balanced with other healthy foods that promote fullness and satisfaction.
As Evelyn said, it is time to make peace w/ food and reject the diet mentality. Clearly, if you haven't figured it out yourself, diets harm the body. There is no validation to dieting (good food/bad food) and living a long and healthy life. I believe that lower calorie diets are beneficial to the body but with that comes balance and a healthy relationship with food.
It's important to focus on your internal hunger and satiety cues. Listen to your body to understand when you should eat, how much and why you are eating what you are eating. This isn't going to happen over night so remind yourself that you have permission to eat any time of the day and whatever you want but your choices (regardless of heart healthy or not) do not have to be all or nothing. It's ok to enjoy chocolate or cheese or chips with your sandwich. But the idea is to build a balanced and healthy diet and to eat for physical reasons, not emotional.

Evelyn said that you are the expert of your body. I totally agree. Don't feel pressured to eat a certain way because you are worried about the "food police" and people questioning your intentions to eat a certain way. Believe me, I know all about questioning about eating habits.....I am the endurance vegetarian who doesn't eat a super high calorie diet but yet, understands what my body needs (depending on my exercise routine) and enjoys feeding it quality nutrients.

I hope that everyone is over the idea of dieting. There is no quick short term solution to lose weight. Just like with triathlons or your choice of exercise, nutrition is a journey and takes a great understanding of what it is that will work best for you. Dieting only leads to weight gain, overweight, disordered eating and eating disorders. Really, who wants to go the rest of his/her life obsessing about food? I suppose it is simple to say "just eat" but then again, Americans are just eating and eating and eating.
In an effort to understand what your body needs, focus on hunger awareness. Are you pleasant, unpleasant, neutral? Why are you eating? Are you watching TV, playing on the computer...are you distracted?
There are certainly exceptions in life such as stress, illness, mood and intense exercise that alter our eating so expect changes in your nutrition, just like in life.
Have peace with food.
There was a study done in different countries called the Food Worry Study looking at eating habits and health in USA, Japan, Belgium and France.
USA worry the most about food and health but we are never satisfied and have the worst health.
France doesn't care a lot about health but really cares about food and feeling satisfied. France is the staple for health.

Respect your body. Treat is nicely and appreciate your only body. Stop the body bashing. Criticizing your body doesn't make you feel good and only leads to anxiety. Anxiety and stress increase inflammatory chemicals which encourages emotional eating.

We live in a thin-obsessed world yet obesity is an epidemic and we are surrounded by toxic food leading to weight gain.

Take a moment and think about your eating habits and with all the knowledge you have of how to create a healthy and balanced diet (and exercise routine) try to focus on one area of weakness to work on for the next week. Perhaps it is breakfast or meal prep. Learn to have a healthy relationship with food. Food doesn't always cause people to gain weight, habits do. Learn to create healthy habits that will last a lifetime so that you can make the most out of your one and only life.