Intuitive eating. You may have heard this phrase before and wondered what the heck it is. Or, maybe you know what it is but don't know how to eat intuitively. Maybe you want to learn more about it. Well, you came to the right place.
Today we are breaking down what the term intuitive eating means, the basic principles of intuitive eating, and how I personally apply it to my life. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas of ways you can practice intuitive eating as well. Let's dive in!
What is intuitive eating? Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on tuning in to the body's natural signals and hunger cues, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods or sticking to a set "plan".
So what does that mean? To me, it means that instead of following a diet plan, counting macros, weighing & measuring food and calculating what you "should" be eating, you eat according to what, when and how your own body wants to eat. The main goal is to be able to tune in to what foods your body is craving, and in what amounts, so you can eat regularly without overthinking or overanalyzing it.
I know this can seem like an abstract and difficult thing to do, but I promise it is simpler than you think!
The authors of the original Intuitive Eating book outline 10 main principles of intuitive eating on their site. You can read that or keep reading below for my overview and condensed version of these principles.
While there are some basic principles to follow with intuitive eating, the main premise is that there are no concrete rules or perfect way of eating that works for everyone. Being able to tune in to what foods your body is craving, and in what amounts, means you will hardly even have to think about it anymore. You will know what you want, and be able to eat without overthinking or overanalyzing.
So, how do you go about tuning into your body and tuning out all the confusing diet noise?
1. Reject the diet mentality. Let go of the idea that in order to lose weight or get fit you need to go on a diet. Reject the idea that not being able to stick to a diet makes you a failure. Stop looking to diet plans and quick fixes for losing weight fast. If you want to have a healthy relationship with food and listen to what your body really wants, you can't be on a diet plan that restricts you or gives you rigid rules to follow.
2. Honour your hunger. If you are hungry, EAT. Don't let yourself get to the point where you are too hungry to think. Don't skip meals unless you are genuinely not hungry. Do not limit your food for any reason other than being honestly full and satisfied. When you are full and satisfied, notice the feeling of comfortable satiation. Being full and satisfied is a great feeling, and the fuel you get from the food will carry you through your day, giving you clarity and energy.
3. Make peace with food. Let go of the idea that some foods are "good" and some are "bad". Food is food. It is energy and nutrients and should not come with labels like good and bad. Let go of feeling guilty when you eat certain foods. Let go of your fear of certain foods. Food is energy. See it as fuel and let go of everything else. The truth with nutrition is that you will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. Likewise, you won't magically make yourself healthier by eating a superfood or a "100% clean" meal. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. My favourite line from the Intuitive Eating site is "you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy."
4. Being physically full is not always the same as being fully satisfied. You could eat a bottomless amount of food you consider "healthy" and feel physically stuffed, but mentally still feel hungry. How is this possible? You know you can't physically still be hungry, but for some reason you can't stop thinking about cookies and peanut butter and nachos. This doesn't mean you have an eating disorder or a food problem, it means you are not satisfying your craving for food pleasure. Acknowledging that food is a form of pleasure as well as fuel is important if you want to fully be able to tune in and trust your body's signals.
5. Respect your body and honour your health. Respecting your body includes moving it. You don't need to have a strict exercise plan to be fit and healthy. Incorporating some kind of activity most days of the week is enough to keep your body and all its processes functioning properly. Respecting your body also includes accepting it's genetic shape and size. Accept that everyone is meant to be a different size and focus on being your best self.
Some examples of ways I practice intuitive eating on a daily basis:
1) I never restrict my food intake. I cook enough food for either a second helping (or third) or to save for another day. I serve myself how much I think I want, then if I finish eating and want more, I eat more. If I feel full, I save the rest for a meal another day.
2) I don't count calories. I could not tell you how many calories are in any given food. If I did look at calorie counts, I know I would start associating food with numbers and that is NOT a way I want to live.
3) I pause to think about what I really want. I really do pause in my kitchen, picture some different food options in my head, and pick whichever one I feel like eating most. Sometimes, I swear I am craving a salad or smoothie or big bowl of veggies. Sometimes, I can't decide between tomato basil pasta and coconut quinoa stir fry, so I make both, have a some of both, and save the rest for meals later in the week. Other times, I want chips. And chocolate. And cookie dough. So I eat chips and chocolate and cookie dough. Not enough to make me feel sick, but enough that I feel happy and satisfied and not deprived at all. I find that everything really does balance out over time, and I fully trust my body to steer me in the right direction.
4) I move my body in ways that help me feel connected and grounded. I love yoga. I also love walking, pilates and weight lifting. Activity that allows me to be mindful and present while also making me sweat is my ideal way to move. Find some form of movement you enjoy and do it. You will see and feel a noticeable difference in your body as well as your mind and improve your ability to connect the two.
I hope this post was helpful. I know that I went through an adjustment period while trying to figure out if i wanted to eat a food because I wanted to or because I thought I should. Following the tips and principles I outlined above were how I overcame any disordered eating thoughts and patterns I had and how I learned to fully trust my body.
What do you think about intuitive eating? I would love to hear from you!Leave your thoughts in a comment below.
I made this video almost a year ago but I still follow this advice myself! Watch the video for my tips on successful grocery shopping, and then look below for a sample typical weekly shopping list for myself and my boyfriend.
GROCERY SHOPPING TIPS FOR VEGANS - YouTube
I have gotten a few questions about my weekly shopping list/grocery order so here is what we buy on a weekly (and monthly) basis. Don't feel any pressure to make your list look like this- this is just what works for us.
Produce: bell peppers zucchini or cucumber carrots kale/spinach/mix greens bok choy or broccoli snow peas raspberries or blueberries (if on sale) bananas
Grains/Starches: pasta (usually a box or two of spaghetti or rotini) quinoa or rice (if needed that week, the packages we buy can last for 3-4 weeks) rice noodles packages of oatmeal granola or cereal
Sauces/Condiments (don't buy every week, but stock up when needed): Thai yellow curry sauce soy sauce ketchup vegan Mayo plum sauce
Frozen: spring rolls frozen berries/fruit for smoothies fries vegan mock-meat like vegan chicken strips
Canned: chickpeas black beans tomato sauce pumpkin puree
GUYS. Yesterday was the official FIRST DAY OF FALL in this hemisphere. YESSSS.
I love summer, I really do. But as soon as my birthday is over (August 26th) I'm like NOPE. BRING ON THE SWEATER WEATHER.
Does September make anyone else want to do all the fall things all the time? I made a fall vibes collection on We Heart It (which I just joined the other day... super behind on this one. Find me @itslivb) and I also am starting to make all cozy fall-inspired recipes on my channel.
I decided to make a post just talking about all my favourite fall things and of course including photos that give me the warm fall fuzzies.
1. FALL FOOD Those warm, melty, cozy, ooey, gooey, chocolatey, spiced, pumpkiny treats and recipes. I want them ALL.
These salted caramel cinnamon rolls are PERFECT for an early fall treat. And, when it gets closer to thanksgiving, add a few tbsp of pumpkin into the filling and turn these into pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls! Recipe here.
photo from weheartit
photo from weheartit.
photo from weheartit
VEGAN RECIPES FOR FALL - YouTube
This video I uploaded last fall has 3 super cozy recipes that are perfect for any chilly fall day.
2. FALL FASHION Is there any better weather than sweater weather? Not for me. Being able to wear a sweater without sweat droplets running down your back is one of the simple pleasures in life. Some of my current fall favourites include white sneakers, cropped sweaters, bit chunky knit pieces, faux fur and all kinds of boots.
photo from weheartit
3. FALL ACTIVITIES
Cozying up with a book is such a satisfying way to spend a sunday afternoon. An instagram account that has become one of my current favourites is @pollyandbooks her photos are the epitome of fall and coziness.
Let's not forget the classics like apple picking, going to a pumpkin patch, going for a walk or playing with your pets outside, and decorating your room with slightly cheesy but relevant fall themed items (hang those fairy lights already!!).
photo from @kalynnicholson13
photo from weheartit
photo from weheartit
photo from weheartit
photo from weheartit
4. FALL MAKEUP
Dark lipstick and bronzed eyes, halloween makeup, I love it all. Here are some of my favourite looks and videos. And a video I made because I apparently am trying to become a beauty youtuber now...
Wearable Fall Makeup - YouTube
My two favourite lipstick colours for fall are Stevie by Anastasia Beverly Hills and Molasses by Bite. Obsessed!
Gina (ginsmakeup) is the queen of fall looks. I love her.
Pumpkin Patch | Get Ready With Me - YouTube
As FALL As Makeup Gets - YouTube
I also love this video Sammy Robinson made. She makes brown lipstick look so good!
Autumn/ Fall Inspired Makeup Look - YouTube
And then theres all these amazing halloween makeup tutorials that are a work of art.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! If this doesn't get you in some kind of fall mood I don't know what will! Love you all so much! If you are looking for more fall inspo, check the links below!
For me, and many others, Sunday is typically a day to get your shit together. Meaning cleaning, laundry, planning, face mask, movies, relaxing etc.
While Sunday is a perfect day to play catch-up and do all these things, at the beginning of this week I got a cold and it was a really good reminder to take a cue from the most chill day of the week- Sunday.
Instead of forcing myself to push through the sneezing and fatigue to go to the gym or complete my whole to-do list, I decided to take the day to reboot. I think my cold has partly to do with how stressed I have been feeling mentally these past couple weeks. Thus: I made my Wednesday a Sunday.
Today I set aside some time to do laundry, clean up the office, rewrite my calendar and schedule things properly, and do a face mask& full body scrub. This doesn't mean I didn't work today, and in fact I actually got some work things done that I had been hoping to do, but they got done with ease.
Taking time in the middle of my week to reboot, have some me time, relax and reflect is just what I needed. And I have a feeling you need it too. Next time you are in the middle of one of those weeks where everything seems chaotic and your body is responding by physically trying to slow you down, set aside a bit of time to reset and give yourself a break. Whether this is cleaning up the pile of dishes on your counter, taking a bath, organizing your closet, washing your sheets, putting on pore strips and catching up on your favourite series, do something today that reminds you of Sunday. The feelings of accomplishment and relaxation are sure to follow you throughout the rest of the week and make everything a little bit easier.
Try it, and let me know how it goes in a comment below!
A huge thank you to Gentle Touch Spa & Laser for inviting me in to try the ever popular HydraFacial!
If you follow me on instagram you would have seen that yesterday I went to one of my favourite spas in the city, Gentle Touch, for a HydraFacial. I had heard great things about it and was super excited to try it out and see what it could do for my skin!
The actual process only takes 30 minutes. It is said to "remove dead skin cells and extract impurities while simultaneously bathing the new skin with cleansing, hydrating and moisturizing serums". The way they do this is with a machine that uses a silicone vacuuming tip.
It was definitely a sensation I had never felt before (kind of a suction feeling as they run it over your face in small sections) but it didn't hurt. It is also super soothing when the serums are smoothed over the part that just had the suction on it.
I have extremely sensitive skin that is prone to uneven redness and dryness. Most days my skin is quite red on my cheeks and chin for no reason. Lindsay the aesthetician informed me that I am showing some early signs of rosacea (going to get this checked out soon!) However, this facial is safe and beneficial for all skin types, so I wasn't worried about it hurting my skin in any way. Due to my rosacea-prone skin, I was very red after the procedure. But the redness went down considerably within an hour, and almost completely after 2-3 hours.
I didn't do anything to my face the rest of the day and only cleansed my skin briefly with water before bed. When I woke up, my skin felt hydrated, plump and looked a lot more even in terms of red patches. I didn't take a before photo (I'm new to this haha) but my skin had quite a bit more redness. When I asked my boyfriend if he noticed anything different he said "your skin looks more smooth, and more all one colour" - he's great with words... lol. This is me this morning, no editing, makeup etc. Although my cheeks are pink, this is MUCH less colour than they normally have, and it is much smoother and less patchy.
Overall I am super happy I tried this facial and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a non-abrasive, hydrating facial! You can find more info on the Gentle Touch site here.
Thank you again to Gentle Touch for inviting me in for this facial. :)
The second episode of my cooking show with CBC and Makeful is out! In this episode I show you how to make a tahini butter cup pie! The original recipe was supposed to be a peanut butter cup pie but since I am allergic to peanuts they changed it to tahini, and everyone said it tasted even better than it would with peanut butter! Win!
This is the second instalment of my new "what balance means to me" series. In my last post I asked you guys to share your own piece! This one was written by Kristen who recently started her own blog Joy & Wild. Make sure to check it out after reading this beautiful post :).
My morning started early - waking up at 6am on a day off work. A smoothie full of healthy fats and a mug of green tea later, I was in the car heading from the city to the mountains. I had packed two backpacks: one for a hike to an alpine meadow, and the other to begin researching for a 15-page paper. The former held water, a camera, and some dark chocolate, while the later contained my laptop, notebook, and a knotted charging cord. Both packs carried my ambition.
Our car sped around the mountain highway with the ocean on our left and rocky cliffs to our right. Though nowhere near our destination, I could feel my tensions ease, as the promise of nature grew more tangible. We stopped at a gas station in the first town we passed. I bought a pack of trail mix and promptly inhaled it as my soft hunger grew to a growl.
After getting a little lost on old logging roads, we found the trailhead to our hike. It was steep. It was challenging, yet, somewhere within me comes alive in the woods. Finger tips to hipbones, palms to rib cage, my breath became art and my arms became wings. My heavy city soles evolved to fairy footprints among the moss. I floated over forest floors in a weightless dance. I found myself running over roots to return to my own. I grew up in a small mountain town but moved to the city for university. Wilderness feels like home to me. I was satiated and safe in the caress of Mother Earth.
We spent hours in that meadow. Frolicking in fields of wild flowers while the wind played with our hair and silence embraced our bodies. Time did not exist in those hours, and neither did our phones. It seems funny, looking back, how the outdoors does not seem like the “outside world” when you’re there. Schedules, social media, and work seem like reality when truly it is all a craft. In nature we feel we are in a sanctuary being rocked slowly awake to find our raw state of being.
We left feeling whole.
And then we returned to our schedules. We nestled into a cozy café in a comfortable seaside city. My friend ordered a soy turmeric late and I ordered a soy lavender London fog. Each sip was like drinking a cloud. I pulled out my notebook and began to search my university’s online library for barriers to competitive sport for people with spinal cord injury. The results blew my mind. Though studying is considered to be a hassle, I threw myself into the task. I became consumed by the literature and thrilled by successful interventions. I sat there and realized for the first time in a while how much I love rehabilitative science, neuro-anatomy, and education.
The “real world” is what you make it to be. For me, it is balancing my creative, raw, adventurous side with the part of myself that adores education, structure, and a professional healthcare career. They are not mutually exclusive. You can have it all.
You may have heard me mention I was in Toronto back in April working on a secret project. Well, the secret is out! I was working on a vegan cooking show for CBC Life!
The show is a 6-episode series called Vegan Eats! The first episode is out and I'll put a link to it below. Filming this was the real deal. There was a full crew, director, producer, hair and makeup artist, multiple camera people, sound guys, lighting experts, a food stylist... the works! I probably don't have to tell you how nervous I was filming with a 20 person crew standing there behind the scenes watching me! I'm used to filming my videos alone in my apartment, so this was quite a change.
That said, it was a really fun experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity. If you are interested in checking it out, the link is below!
I love you guys so much, thank you for all your support. If it weren't for you I probably would never have this opportunity. I hope you enjoy the series :).
This is a new series that is part journal entry, part "what I ate today". The foods I eat vary greatly on a day to day basis, and my food choices are very influenced by what I do each day. This gives you a peek into my every day eating habits and what balance looks like for me. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post is not meant to recommend a specific diet, amount of calories or any sort of nutritional counselling. This is merely a look at what I eat on any given day and what works for me.
Wake up. Immediately head to the gym after a glass of water and washing my face.
Super sweaty workout. The kind that makes you feel like a new person because you sweat everything out. The bad and the good. Come back for a stretch and then have a nice warm shower. Hair smells clean but stomach is growling.
A smoothie for breakfast, with added coconut yogurt to stabilize the blood sugar.
A snack of some jalapeño potato chips at 11 am after filming a video. Work work work.
For lunch, quinoa with yellow Thai curry. A huge handful of spinach that wilts underneath the quinoa. Feeling very full but very satisfied. Work some more.
2 pm. Need to get out of the apartment. Meet up with friends at my parents' house outside the city. Sit on the porch in the heat having a drink and talking about travelling to China.
Decide its time to cool off. A dip in the lake. Swimming out and treading water for what feels like ages, chatting, laughing and basking the sun and sparkling water. It was cold at first but now the water almost feels too warm.
Wear a towel like a dress and head to the only fast food place that has veggie burgers. Get a bowl with fries, crumbled burger, salad and guac. Plan to only eat half but end up eating the whole thing and washing it down with iced tea.
Head down a few floors to our friends' apartment on the opposite side of the building to catch the fiery sunset and lavender skies.
Sit chatting for hours while the room gets darker and darker. Sipping coffee with almond milk creamer and eating cookies that didn't have enough flour.
they're too gooey! You can't pick them up!
They taste so good.
A few more glasses of water before bed. Climb into the cool white sheets, feeling tired in the best way and so, so content.