Intuitive Eating: 3 Questions That Will Change Your Life
TV chef and author Tres Hatch recently sat down with us for our monthly wellness webinar to discuss intuitive eating and reframing your relationship with food. Read about the questions Tres says you should ask yourself to eat intuitively for greater fulfillment, and watch the entire webinar: Reframing Your Relationship with Feelings, Foods, and Fulfillment to learn more about Tres’s story and other great tips.
A diet is like a mini-vacation from those original behaviors that got us out of balance in the first place. Diets can result in disconnecting us further from our body’s messages because they restrict us from eating certain categories of food. They impose rigid rules on our experience with food and we end up not getting what our body needs that day. And they are not supposed to last.
So after the diet ends, we return to those original behaviors that got us out of balance. However, we do so with a slower metabolism, and that’s why we find ourselves having these radical shifts in weight and it’s very unhealthy. It’s not good for us.
A diet plan only asks us to do a temporary thing, when in fact the true miracle is that we can have balance and peace and the absence of struggle or battle for our entire lives. And that’s why intuitive eating is important.
With the intuitive eating approach, there are 3 important questions that you should always be asking yourself: what do I need, when do I need it, and what proportion do I need it in? This inner dialogue can help you enhance your relationship with foods and find true fulfillment in what you eat.
What do I need?
First, we need to be aware of where we are with our eating today. So ask yourself, “What have I already had, and what’s missing?”
For example, if you had a giant load of oatmeal for breakfast and now it’s lunchtime and you have one of those big deli sandwiches with the extra thick cut bread, well that’s a good portion of grains and has probably satisfied a great deal of your grain requirements for the day. It depends on you: If you hike a mountain today, you’re going to need more. If you sit writing at your desk all day, you’re going to need less. So evaluate what you have had already and what’s missing.
Along with asking yourself those questions, it’s also important to have diversity in your diet. The trend in society is to cut things out thinking that somehow that will be the secret formula. We tell ourselves, “If I just get rid of X, Y, and Z” (whatever’s trending today), we’ll be healthier. But the reality is that the more colors on our plate, the more likely we’re going to get a whole spectrum of all the fuel that our bodies require in order to be in balance. You may have a clear medical need to eliminate one thing or more, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Still incorporate as much diversity as possible.
Additionally, the more we know about the sourcing of our foods and about the inputs, the better. And really what we’re learning is it’s all about the soil and the seed. So, if we’re doing things like eating seasonal foods and sourcing the highest-quality foods where possible, incorporating that diversity, that’s going to be a huge benefit. We do not need to buy strictly organic non-GMO food. But less processed food, local produce, and less pesticides is better. If you have a diverse diet with minimum processing, you will likely avoid overloading on impurities from a single item.
When do I need it?
One of the first questions that I work with my clients on is when do you like to have a treat? Because do you want a big chocolate sundae at, you know, 5:30 in the morning? Well, most people would say, “Oh no!” And that response, that kind of gross response is your mind-body connection telling you that that’s not when you want it most.
People tend to say, “Well, I kind of like a, you know, a macaroon, I kind of like that around 3:30 in the afternoon.” And that’s naturally when our blood sugar starts to dip, and we get a little bit of a lull. So the point is our brains and bodies are also designed for us to have treats, and some people need them once a week, some people need a little treat once a day.
When I was losing 110 pounds, I had a couple squares of chocolate every day—of premium good dark chocolate—and it took me about 15 minutes to eat it, and I was completely tuned in to tasting and I felt incredibly satisfied. So, when you need it is just as important as what you need.
What proportion do I need it in?
When we’ve had exactly the right amount, our bodies and brains are designed to tell us. And I call it my bliss point, where I am satisfied. I’m satisfied on a whole sort of comprehensive level. And I can project that if I have more, it won’t taste as good. It won’t feel as good.
In order to practice projecting your own bliss point, start with the rule of halves, which I talk about in my book. Take half of what you need, eat that, and then keep adding to it a little bit until you hit your bliss point of exactly the right amount. Just to test it, go 2 or 3 bites after your bliss point and rate the food on a scale of 1 to 10 to discover the truth that food is never as good when we don’t need it. Feel free to try this experiment. However, you want to rate it: Is it as good after you’ve met your satisfaction point as it was before?
And it never is, because the tender mercy of our design is that we’re designed to be in balance. So, our brains and bodies will interface with that mind-body connection and tell us when we’ve had enough. The relief is we never have to sacrifice because food simply cannot provide full pleasure if we no longer need it.
Finding fulfillment with intuitive eating
The ultimate sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with what we eat really resides in listening to our body, asking our body what it needs, and then giving it to ourselves. Intuitive eating satisfies on a very different level. When we start doing that, we are actually reprogramming our neural pathways and we start getting in tune with what our body is asking. And that’s very powerful.
About Tres Hatch
Tres Hatch is a TV chef, speaker, health coach, and author of the book ‘Miracle Pill 10 Truths to Healthy, Thin, & Sexy.’ Tres lost 110 pounds without dieting by practicing the 10 truths outlined in her book. She teaches audiences around the world to be free of food battles and to have a greater mind-body connection. Learn more at TresHatch.com.