Are food rules stressing you out? Have you tried keto, veganism, paleo and Whole30, only to be stressed out constantly? Intuitive eating might be right for you.
Pros and cons of food rules
For pretty much my entire life, I’ve followed specific ways of eating. Vegetarian, vegan, Whole30, gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, sugar-free, low-carb, ketogenic, bulletproof. I’ve tried them all.
Without going vegetarian or vegan, I may not have highlighted that gluten and grains are detrimental to my health, or known that this way of eating was keeping me constantly hungry.
Without trying Whole30, I never would have self-diagnosed my food intolerances.
Without keto, I wouldn’t have realized how I felt when my blood sugar and energy stabilized.
Putting rules on food has given me structure, and has really helped to facilitate my healing in the past. Without rules, I never would have gotten to where I am now, which is a place where I am really in tune with my body’s needs.
What I mean by being “in tune” is a deep knowing of the foods that truly nourish my body, not that “omg I need three cupcakes now because I’m so stressed” feeling.
That food you’re avoiding isn’t inherently “bad”
If you’re following a paleo or ketogenic way of eating, there are specific foods that are considered “off limits” and “bad”.
But reality really isn’t that black and white. I don’t want to say no to my body’s needs just because something doesn’t fall within the framework of Paleo or Whole30.
For example, on keto you are allowed small amounts of things like blueberries and blackberries, but if you eat just a little too much, then you’ve crossed a line.
Plus, I know there are foods outside of the keto and paleo framework that I can eat and feel perfectly fine after. So why do I keep avoiding or feeling ashamed when I do eat them?
If I want a bite of a beignet when I’m in New Orleans, you can bet I will do so, even though in the past, I would have considered gluten to be completely off limits.
I already know there are foods I don’t do well with, and won’t be eating large amounts of in the future, or at least until I’ve found a way to heal those sensitivities.
If I want to eat a little, or even a lot of something “bad”, and it feels like a good decision at the time, then why do I have so much stress during and after?
Sugar is one of those foods that has caused me SO much stress for so long. There is so much stigma about how terrible it is for our health.
Eating small amounts of sugar does not have a negative impact on my body, so why am I SO hesitant to eat even small amounts? Perhaps it’s the fact that I ate keto for so long. I really don’t know. It’s time to change that.
Stress has such significant impacts on our body. Not only does it so negatively impact our mindset and thoughts, but it can affect our physical bodies, and even keep us from losing the weight or healing from that underlying health condition we are suffering from.
Since I am currently healing from Lyme Disease, and some other health issues, I am trying to eliminate as many negative things in my life as I possible can. A big one for me is food rules. We impose such stringent rules on our lives that really aren’t serving anyone, especially not ourselves.
My path to intuitive eating
So what is intuitive eating anyway? Simply put, it is being in tune with your body and realizing what it needs. It means eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full.
It means getting rid of food rules and giving yourself the permission to eat what you want. It means eating to nourish, rather than eating as a form of therapy. It means not believing that food is your “worst enemy”, and that food is just food.
Every step of the way, I have allowed my body’s needs to dictate the path I take in my healing.
But I don’t think continuing to label myself as “paleo” and “keto” would benefit me any longer.
There comes a point where the rules and structure of a “diet” can become too limiting, and it’s time to simply listen to your body’s needs.
If your body is telling you that it wants celery juice or a fruit smoothie one morning, and a bulletproof coffee the next, who is to say that we can’t do that?
There are no “bad foods”, only the labels we put on foods that create a bad stigma around them.
Some foods are better for us at certain times along our path. For some people, their food allergies and sensitivities will be a life-long struggle. For others, it is temporary while they allow their bodies to heal.
It really comes down to finding what works for you, and not being ashamed or stressed that what you eat doesn’t fall within someone’s framework. We are all so unique, and our bodies need different things from day-to-day, week-to-week and year-to-year.
Being in tune with your body is the ultimate way to find health and healing.
So what is your take on all of this? Have you reached the same conclusion, or are you hoping to one day get to this point? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to talk more about this topic if you are interested!
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