Good morning! How has your week been going so far? Mine has been a complete clusterfuck, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Do you ever have those weeks where nothing is working out, so much so that by the end of the week you’re not even surprised by things going haywire anymore? I walked into work yesterday morning to a leak in the espresso machine, and I was completely unfazed because it felt expected after several days of things going awry. I am so glad to have a couple of days working at my other job to give me a mental break.
This morning, I wanted to share a little bit about what my attempts at intuitive eating have looked like lately. I say attempts at intuitive eating because, honestly, I don’t consider myself a wholehearted intuitive eater just yet. Behaviorally and physically, I believe myself to be recovered from anorexia. But I still get trapped in the diet mindset sometimes, and I see intuitive eating as a process, that I am continually working on and experimenting with. Yesterday, here is what that process looked like:
Over the weekend, on account of the above mentioned clusterfuck happening at work, I had gone into work early and hadn’t had time to sit down and eat before leaving the house. Yesterday I wanted to give myself the time to do that. I made a bowl of oatmeal with banana, yogurt, granola, and chia seeds and ate it quickly before work.
Mid-morning, after the early rush had died down a little bit, I decided to experiment with a smoothie for a little snack. This one had spinach, milk, a banana, and cinnamon in it. Unfortunately, it was not very good, but I was hungry and it helped tide me over. Sometimes, food isn’t perfect. Sometimes it isn’t exactly what we wanted, but it can still serve its purpose of keeping the hangry away.
Working in the service industry, it’s important to eat when you have the chance. That can be tricky when you’re trying to be intuitive, and I certainly used to use that as an opportunity to under-eat or “forget” to eat. These days, I use my lunch break as a time to truly feed my body because I know that it could be a while before I get another chance to sit down and enjoy my food. Rather than skimping during my break as I used to do, I have found ways to throw together a lunch that is a bit more nutritionally dense to hold me over until I get home. Lately, I’ve been enjoying salads with roasted turkey, avocado, and fried eggs. Sometimes I throw a piece or two of bacon in there for good measure, too.
As I was cutting up brownies to serve at the bakery, I helped myself to a few edge scraps. Was I hungry? Not especially. Did I want some chocolate? Absolutely. It’s incredible how satisfying something can be if you just let yourself eat it.
After my shift at work was complete, I rode my bike to Powell Butte, which has a number of little hiking trails to enjoy. It had just rained and the air was nice and cool, so I locked my bike up and hiked to the top. I called my brother while I hiked and listened to a Food Psych podcast, which was a great way to decompress after a busy day at work.
When I got home from work/my ride/hike, I was pretty hungry for a snack. My roommate just came home from a long vacation, so I sat with her and caught up while eating goat cheese, crackers, baby carrots, and mixed nuts. Yum.
After my snack had brought down my hunger level a little, I did some yoga and started thinking about what to do for dinner. It was a pretty cool day and I have an inexplicable amount of soup, so I decided to heat some up and eat it with a piece of buttered toast. Trader Joe’s Organic Lentil Vegetable soup was calling my name, and it paired excellently with Franz’s Columbia River Sweet Dark bread (Ugh. Ignore the blaring nutrition facts on that link. The bread is good, damn it). And, because they’re just so cute, I sprinkled a few parmesan Goldfish crackers on top.
I let myself go to bed early because I was utterly exhausted, but I wanted a little chocolate before bed. I usually crave chocolate before bed, and I’ve pretty much decided that I’m just going to eat it. FYI, chocolate covered banana chips are DOPE.
I hardly ever feel like I eat at a place of perfect intuition; rather, I am continually practicing and observing. Just the other day, I was insanely busy at work and skipped dinner. When I finally made it home on my bike at 11:00pm, I was ravenous and ate chocolate covered raisins and Chex Mix for dinner. Was that the perfect representation of intuition? Absolutely not. I had been hungry hours before, and ignored my body because I was overwhelmed at work. But the beauty of intuitive eating is that it is judgement-free. Days like that are met with curiosity, not shame and scorn.
I titled this post “Just Food” because at the end of the day, that is the goal motivating my exploration of intuitive eating. Food should just be food. All food is a combination of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. It is not good or bad, and eating is not something that is done perfectly or imperfectly. It is something that is done to help us survive, enjoy each other, and fuel us to lead the lives we want to live.