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Can Intuitive Eating Lead to Your Natural Healthy Weight?

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from a new member in my online community:

 

“Can intuitive eating lead to a natural weight?”

 

This is a great question. The short answer is yes, I believe that it could. But the longer answer requires us to have a bit of a conversation.

 

What does ‘natural weight’ mean to you?

 

Do you mean that if you “do” intuitive eating, will you lose weight? The truth is, some people lose weight, some gain weight initially, and some people’s weight remains stable. Keep in mind that the process of becoming an intuitive eater is NOT a weight loss program.

 

I’m going to repeat that. Intuitive eating is not a weight loss program. And if anyone tells you that it is and promises you weight loss, then run the other way.

 

Intuitive eating helps you change your relationship with food and your body, it helps you regain the trust in your inner body wisdom to guide your eating. You have this ability deep within you, it’s just buried under years of dieting and trying to interfere with what your natural weight is.

 

Back to the question…what is a natural weight?

 

A natural weight is the weight your body will maintain with ‘normal’ eating and ‘normal’ movement. This means no food restriction and no boot camp exercise regimes pushing yourself beyond your limits.

 

The problem is that your natural weight may not match the weight you have in your mind that you desire, which is likely influenced by the surrounding diet culture, current fashion, celebrities and even recommendations of your doctor to lose weight to an unrealistic number based on outdated height and weight charts and calculations.

 

So take a moment and ask yourself if you are chasing an unrealistic weight or body size. A lot of clients that I start working with are. They have a number or vision in mind of what they want to look like, but that is not realistic for them. And, let’s add to this equation your genetics. Genetics also plays a role in determining body size, and this may not match up to the weight or size you have in mind.

 

I do believe that your body will balance out at your natural healthy weight by practicing intuitive eating consistently, respecting and caring for your current body, and practicing self-care.

 

How long will this take? No one knows. Just enjoy the process as it’s happening.

 

 

Celebrate NO Diet Day

Have you skipped a meal because a “diet” told you to?  Have you replaced meals with shakes or avoided entire food groups?  Do you restrict your favorite foods or force yourself to eat foods you don’t like because your “diet” says you should?

 

You may have fallen prey to the many fad diets out there, but you don’t have to anymore.

 

Let’s celebrate International NO Diet Day tomorrow, May 6th by stopping the diets.  Use this day to celebrate body acceptance, body shape diversity and to raise awareness of the harmful effects unhealthy dieting can have. The goal of International No Diet Day is to teach people how to have a healthy relationship with food and ditch restrictive eating habits.

 

Effects of Dieting

 

Diets can be filled with restriction, deprivation and cravings, which may lead to bingeing, emotional eating and guilt.  This can move you further away from having a healthy and balanced life.

 

Diets can cause you to ignore your internal hunger signals that your body naturally gives you for when and what it wants to eat.  This can lead to an altering ability to recognize these signals and affects how you feed yourself.  The change in mindset also alters the “brake” system your body has in place to avoid overeating.  If you restrict, you are more likely to binge.

 

Remember, a diet provides you with a set of rules about what you can or cannot eat.  They are a short-term strategy to reach long-term goals.  Fad diets, diet products, and the way body image is portrayed in the media are detrimental to forming healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Body discrimination can be seen all around, from advertisements showing off thin models to the current “fat acceptance” movement which is quite the opposite and celebrates curves while shaming smaller physiques.

 

Here are 3 tips to help you break the never-ending diet cycle:

 

  1. Become an attuned eater. Choose foods based on an internal sense of hunger, appetite and satisfaction. This will help you learn more about what your body craves and help avoid overeating.

 

  1. Eat without distractions. Chew thoroughly and enjoy what you’re eating.  Listen for the internal cues your body will give you as you reach satiety.

 

  1. Do not deprive yourself. Instead, eat what you want and savor it.  Avoiding deprivation will help limit the temptation “avoided foods” have.

 

Remember, dieting is about restriction which can lead to feelings of guilt and ultimately alter your relationship with food and your body.  Stop the diets by accepting your body where it is now.  With acceptance comes admiration and you will naturally feed your body better and avoid restricting to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.

 

Celebrating and loving your body and yourself is the drive behind much of the work I do. Rather than restricting yourself, focus on nourishing yourself. I stress this to all my clients. Self-care and loving yourself go hand-in-hand. Please stop comparing yourself to others! Embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your body by treating it with nourishing foods and mindfulness.

 

If you need help celebrating your body, head over to www.TalkWithBonnie.com and request a time to chat!

 

Take the “International No Diet Day Pledge”.  Repeat the following as many times as you need to:

 

“I will accept myself just as I am.
I will feed myself if hungry.
I will feel no shame or guilt about my size or eating.
…and I will LOVE MYSELF for who I am, not who I feel pressure to be!”

 

 

How to Love Your Body Just As It Is

banner-2If you’ve been searching for the perfect diet to get the body you’ve always dreamed of, chances are you are still searching.

 

The truth is, chronic dieting and yo-yo dieting will not give you a body you love.

 

Diets are not maintainable.

 

Dieting to drop the last 10, 20 or 50 pounds can only backfire.  It is only a short-term solution to a problem that needs a long-term solution.  Chances are, when you reach your “ideal weight” (What is considered ideal anyway?  A topic for another blog), you won’t be able to stay there for long.  The reason for your need to overeat or feed your emotions will still be there.

 

You may be asking yourself, “If diets won’t get me the body I love, what will?”

 

Here’s the solution: learning to love your body right now.

 

The way to start loving your body is to step away from diets.  If all you’ve ever known is dieting, this might seem a little scary.  But, when you stop dieting, you become more in tune with your body’s internal hunger cues.  You are able to listen to your body and feed it when and what it wants.

 

Here are 3 steps you can take now to start loving your body:

 

  1. Respect your body. Respecting your body does not mean accepting your body how it is now and thinking you have to stay this way the rest of your life.  It means accepting your here and now body.  When you respect your body, treat it with dignity and provide your body with what it needs, then you’ll make room for loving every aspect of your body and what it does for you.

 

  1. Trust your body. Start listening to your body’s inner hunger cues and feed them.  Your body has the ability to tell you when it’s hungry, when it’s full and what it wants to eat.  When you listen to what your body wants, you’ll start to change your relationship with your body and see it differently.

 

  1. Stand in front of the mirror and tell your body what you love about it, whether it’s a physical trait or something your body has done for Use this as a way to show your body the same support that it has given you over the years- I love my ears, eyelashes, smile, butt or stomach.
  • I love how strong my arms are.
  • I love the freckles across my cheeks.
  • I love my legs because they take me where I need to go.
  • I love my hips because they help me carry my child.

 

When you love and respect your body, something wonderful happens.  You no longer obsess over it and see weight release happen without all the worry.  Having the ability to do this will help you succeed on your intuitive eating journey and you might be surprised to learn what your body is capable of when you show it love!

 

If you’re looking for more tools and techniques to learn how to love your body, come join my Love Yourself, Love Your Body free giveaway event happening now until September 30th.  I have complied 25+ experts who are giving away programs and gifts to help you make peace with food, enjoy guilt-free eating, a life free of dieting and a body you love.  Grab your free gifts here.

 

If you’d like help on learning to love your body again, contact me here.  I can help you.

 

7 Tips to a Mindful Morning Routine

Woman barefoot walking beachIf you are like most people, your morning is one mega rush! Quick jump out of bed, shower, get dressed and run out the door! You’re lucky if you grab a coffee and muffin to eat in the car as you head out to start your day. Or, you stop at the local convenience store and pick up a bagel with butter and a ginormous cup of Joe. Worse yet, you don’t eat any breakfast and your first meal of the day is lunch.

 

Sound familiar?

 

If so, you are probably not stopping long enough to figure out how your body feels when you treat it like this. You are on autopilot, doing the same routine day after day and wonder why you crash by the time you get home from work.

 

Nourishing your body from the moment you open your eyes in the morning is key to a healthy mind, body and soul.

 

I recognize it may take some time for you to change your morning routine, so focus on slow changes over time, at your level of comfort.

 

Here are 7 tips to get you started.

 

  1. When you first wake up, take some time to meditate, even if it’s for just 3-5 minutes. It will allow you to connect with yourself on a deeper level as you start your day.

 

  1. Set your intention about how your day will be, for example “Today will be an incredible day. I feel positive and alive”.

 

  1. Spend 30 minutes to get your blood flowing and heart pumping through an enjoyable exercise routine or body movement activity.

 

  1. Shower and get dressed in clothes that you feel comfortable in. Respect your body at the size it is now, no matter what size that is, and wear clothes (including undergarments!) that fit you well and comfortably.

 

  1. Sit down and enjoy a balanced breakfast that includes wholesome food that you enjoy. Savor each bite, noting the taste, texture, temperature and aroma. Appreciate the food on your plate as you stay fully present in the eating experience without any distractions (avoid reading the morning newspaper or watching the news as you eat).

 

  1. Pack your lunch and get ready to leave.

 

  1. Hug your loved ones (for a boost of “feel good” hormones) and head out the door.

 

True, this morning routine takes some time, which means you will have to wake up a bit earlier than you are used to. And, that likely means that you will have to go to sleep a little earlier too.

 

But let me ask you, aren’t you worth it?

 

 

Your turn to take action: Practice incorporating this morning routine into your life and let me know how you feel in the comments below.

 

 

Gotta Love Your January as an Intuitive Eater

Healthy HabitsThis time of the year can seem like the hardest time for an intuitive eater.  You can’t go anywhere without being bombarded with headlines like, “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!” or “The Hottest Diet Secret Nobody Ever Told You About!”

 

It can be easy to start your year off getting swept up in these empty promises, and by February find yourself feeling lost on another diet road.

 

By being an intuitive eater, you know your journey leads you down a better road: a journey that doesn’t end when “failure” sets in mid-February.  January is truly the beginning of a brand new year, with many exciting discoveries ahead of you.  Unlike those with a diet mentality, you know better than to waste your money, time and energy on buying into new fads, expensive gym memberships, and those quick fix “magic bullets” that have failed you in the past.

 

Your personal January headlines read something more like this, “I Continue to Make All Foods Fit by Honoring My Hunger and Respecting My Fullness”.  Or, “I’m On My Way to Loving and Respecting My Body!”  These headlines are much more encouraging and much more fun.  For you January is a continuation of all the positives you have been building on since last year.

 

There is usually so much stress involved in choosing which diet will accompany you into the New Year.  But since you are creating an intuitive lifestyle, you get to build off success, rather than focus on flaws which diets often lead you into doing.  By being an intuitive eater you get to truly enjoy the start of a new year, by knowing that it is a continuation off of everything you have been achieving.  Make a choice to love what you have done and know you can keep working towards the body you love without dieting!

 

Your turn to take action: Please share with me how this New Year feels different, starting it as an intuitive eater versus a dieter!

 

Are You Ready for Bathing Suit Season?

Swimsuit pictureWhen you think of summer, the beach and the pool, what comes to mind?  Perhaps getting into a bathing suit?  How does this make you feel?  Many of my clients shy away from these summer fun activities because they don’t like the way they look in a bathing suit.  Do you compare yourself to others and criticize your body?

Summer is a time for vacationing, relaxing in the sun (of course with sunblock) and chilling out.  Don’t let your negative thoughts about your body prevent you from enjoying this wonderful time of year.

Let this summer be different!  Look back at the progress you have been making in the last few months learning to love your body.  One of the things I recommended in a previous blog was to look at yourself in the mirror and find at least one thing that you like about your body.  It could be your eyes, ears or wrists.  If it’s hard for you to find a body part you like, think about what your body does for you.  Your legs help you walk and your eyes help you see.    Think about how this journey to becoming an intuitive eater is helping you to love and respect your body.

When you put on a bathing suit this summer, be proud of the accomplishments you have made so far.  Stand proud, hold your head up high and dive into the ocean.

Your turn to take action:  Take a picture of yourself wearing your bathing suit and write five things on the back of the photo that you love about your body!  Please share your photos and/or comments below.