Another "smasher" of an RPM class this morning, even though my legs, after teaching two classes yesterday, felt like they didn't want to leave my mattress when I woke up this morning. I admit to being utterly in love with the endorphin rush I get from teaching.
Today I have had some time to read a few blogs and I came across some interesting perspectives on "intuitive eating" from Rae and Steph D. Steph mentioned that if she surrendered to intuitive eating, she'd be "lured into a sugar coma". My opinion on that is that many of us confuse the concept of intuitive eating with the idea of eating many foods that are not very high in nutritive value. All intuitive eating simply means is listening to your body's wisdom - you eat when you are hungry and you stop when you are satisfied. It's all pretty simple really - however, learning about your hunger and fullness cues is what makes most of us stumble. Have you ever felt like you've "overshot" a meal - that is eaten to a point where you think you are satisfied, but realize that you've overshot the mark a little and you're now uncomfortably full. Mastering hunger and fullness cues and realizing that all foods are morally neutral is one of the cornerstones to success in this way of eating.
Research is showing that certain foods and processes can interrupt our body's natural wisdom in determining fullness. In nature there are very few foods as calorie dense as some of the processed stuff that's on our shelves today, so it makes sense that the body can't always intuit hunger/fullness cues well with this sort of stuff. Imagine having a day of fatty fried foods and sugars - you would be craving fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein very fast. And in doing so you'd become more aware that whole foods and fewer "processes"(ie ditch the stuff with a barcode!) seems to help you work in sync with your body - so much so that you learn to say to yourself - "I could eat KFC, but I choose to eat this chicken and salad wrap instead". Looking at your children is another way of seeing the value of being more "intuitive" - for example, my girls often have morning tea at the food court if I take them to RPM. My eldest in particular will choose a protein/salad sandwich or fresh sushi over anything too processed ("I like veggies and they fill me up, Mum")
Steph's example in her blog is a perfect example of learning to be more intuitive about her eating - she knows that if she eats a lot of sugary foods in one sitting, she does not feel good physically (sugar coma) - it's like accidentally touching a hot object - you might try it once, but in the end you know to avoid it so you don't get burnt.
I think learning to be intuitive as an athlete is of utmost importance. I have a natural (intuitive) preference for fresh whole foods and I trust myself enough to know that this is what I want to eat. But yesterday with little time for digestion between 2 classes I chose to drink Biotest Surge - knew I needed recovery fuel that was quick to digest... common sense really.
You might also know that your intuition tells you that you work best when you have a plan. This is also good thinking in my book. If you are training for an athletic event where nutrition makes a big impact, it makes sense to have a plan. Your intuition may have taught you that certain foods trigger unwanted reactions in your body (which is why I don't eat buckets of bread, doesn't seem to agree with me).
None of this is relevant to dieting where you put artificial limits on things, foods become taboo, you exercise like a rat on a treadmill to burn off that fat and you become a raving lunatic.
There is a huge difference between living a healthy lifestyle and being on a diet - the key is to be vigilant to ensure that lifestyle is not "mutilated into a diet" as Dave Greenwalt says so well.