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A Day of Intuitive Eating

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After several years of developing a few bad habits when it comes to food, I am making efforts to tackle them head on!  Since 2013, the majority of my food choices have been centered on “what I should eat,” and were eaten “when I should eat.”  It may sound silly, but in a way I kind of forgot how to eat like a “normal” human being.  That is all about to change.

I am challenging myself to become a more intuitive eater.  I want to eat what my body craves, and I want to eat food when my body is hungry.  For the most part, the majority of my food intake will still be pretty healthy (since I mostly purchase healthy foods), but I am challenging myself to stop eating when I am full and to eat without distractions.  I am used to clearing my plate, and I think so many of us are guilty of eating while distracted.  Eating while watching television or while on my computer leaves me completely out of check with my body and its hunger cues.  I want to change these things.  I am partaking in somewhat of an “intuitive eating challenge” with me, myself, and I (though I’d love for you to join along!).  I plan to share days of intuitive eating with you every so often so that you can see what I ate and hear my thought processes regarding those choices.

Here we go with day #1 of intuitive eating (last Saturday):

cranberry drinkI started my morning out like I have been for the past several weeks with 28 ounces of water and about half a cup of 100% cranberry juice mixed in.  Cranberry juice (not juice cocktail) has a lot of health benefits, and the added flavor encourages me to drink more water throughout the morning.

eggs english muffin breakfastWhile sipping on my water/cranberry juice, I started thinking about what sounded good for breakfast.  It took me about 20 minutes to figure out what I really wanted.  I ran through my list of breakfast ideas in my mind and looked at Instagram to see what “looked/sounded good” to me.  Ultimately, I stayed true to all of my cravings and decided on two whole eggs scrambled (with black pepper and a bit of turmeric) and a toasted whole wheat English muffin.  I topped one half with apricot jam and the other with crunchy almond butter and dark chocolate chips.

intuitive eating breakfastI challenged myself to sit at the table and just eat.  I closed the lid of my laptop, put my phone away, and turned off the TV.  It turns out that when I was really focused on eating and how full I was, I actually did not feel the need to mindlessly finish everything on my plate.  About halfway through my eggs I decided that I was not really digging them.  I also enjoyed the apricot half of my English muffin, but did not feel the need to finish it when I was full.  My love of almond butter and chocolate reigned true, and I finished that half off first!

eggs salsaShortly after breakfast, I headed out to run a few errands.  I really should have taken something to snack on because I found myself hungry around 10:45.  Luckily, I made it home shortly after 11 and finished up what was left of my eggs from breakfast.  I added salsa this time and that seemed to do the trick!

dried pruneRoughly 30 minutes after the eggs, I was craving something sweet.  I snagged a dried prune from my fridge.  These are one of my favorite things to eat whenever a sweet craving strikes.

lunch veggie BB Mexican skilletI did not plan out my timing for lunch very well.  I was perfectly hungry by the time my meal was made, but by the time I was finished photographing the dish for the blog (coming soon!), I was staaaarving.  You live and you learn.  I started with a smaller bowl than I normally would, and surprised myself by being satisfied with just that.  The leftovers went into the fridge for a different day.

green smoothie2:45 rolled around and I was ready for my sweet green smoothie.  There is rarely a day that I am not craving a green smoothie (aka what tastes like a chocolate milkshake).  I finished this up while working on a blog post.  The idea of drinking a smoothie slowly while not multitasking seemed impractical to me.  However, I might challenge myself to try that next time.

carrot and hummusI hopped in the shower around 4:00 to get ready for a fun evening.  I was hungry afterwards, so I decided to snack on a whole carrot dipped in hummus.  I ate all but about a 1-inch piece of the carrot because I was full and satisfied with just that.

kale sweet potato saladI ate dinner at 6:00.  I was not fully hungry, but had plans with friends at 7:00.  Therefore, I wanted to eat a meal prior to leaving.  I ate this kale salad topped with roasted sweet potato wedges.  I filled my plate with less of the salad and sweet potatoes than I normally would, and found that I was full by the time I cleared my plate.  If I’m being honest with myself, I probably could have stopped a few bites earlier, but it did keep me full for hours.

Descheutes Hop Hinge IPAI met up with some of my former co-workers for a game night at a board game cafe called Spielbound.  I was craving a beer shortly after I arrived, so I ordered a Deschutes Hop Henge IPA.  I sipped it slowly and followed it up with a glass of water.

cereal and raspberriesI brought an apple to snack on if I felt hungry, but did not end up needing it.  I was, however, hungry when I arrived home around 10:30.  I poured myself a smallish bowl of cereal and topped it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and fresh raspberries.  It was exactly what I was craving and left me feeling satisfied.

I was pretty happy with how my first day of intuitive eating played out.  There are some things I want to work on- stopping when I’m full, packing snacks, and not feeling like I need to clear my plate- but overall it was a great day.  I’m excited to continue on this journey!

Do you consider yourself to be an “intuitive eater?”

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{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Linda @ Veganosity March 6, 2015, 9:00 am
    Mindful eating is the healthiest way to eat. It looks like you're off to a great start! Linda @ Veganosity recently posted...Sweet Potato and Tofu Breakfast TacosMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 1:54 pm
      I think so too! Thanks. I'm sure trying :D
  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine March 6, 2015, 9:10 am
    I do need to work on slowing down my eating and NOT eating at my laptop (which I do for every meal!). So bad :/ I do want to take the time to actually savor everything I'm eating and really TASTE it!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 1:59 pm
      Eating while not being distracted by the computer/TV is definitely the most challenging part for me. It's also a habit of mine to reach for my phone to flip through my Instagram feed while I eat! :(
  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul March 6, 2015, 9:23 am
    Look at that huge carrot! Yum! Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted...Friday FiveMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 2:00 pm
      Gigantic, right?? I had to laugh at it too!
  • Tiff March 6, 2015, 11:17 am
    Good for you! I am not an intuitive eater at all. I eat lunch at "lunch time" and dinner at "dinner time." Oh, and I'm a not-so-proud member of the clean plate club! Tiff recently posted...Fit Friday: March RoutineMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 2:43 pm
      Those are both habits that I have engrained in my brain. I am really working to not focus on them so much!
  • Dana | fresh simple five March 6, 2015, 2:42 pm
    Sounds like your first day went pretty well! I love the concept of intuitive/mindful eating and know it's something I can work on. One of the biggest things for me is knowing I don't have to finish what's on my plate. It seems silly to leave a few bites there, but when I think of how much food that adds up to over time, it seems like a big difference. Dana | fresh simple five recently posted...What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 2:44 pm
      YES! I can so relate. I have always been in the habit of cleaning my plate even if I don't LOVE something on it or if I'm not hungry anymore. Hopefully I can break that habit!
  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes March 6, 2015, 2:48 pm
    I am the opposite of an intuitive eater. You make me want to be one though! Your healthy foods looks very appetizing (I normally crave the "bad" stuff).
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 3:37 pm
      I am definitely far from being "good" at intuitive eating, but it has been a fun challenge so far! Practice makes progress, right? :)
  • Miss Polkadot March 6, 2015, 5:10 pm
    Intuitive eating [or just 'normal eating' as I think of it] is a goal I keep working on. The biggest struggle is still boredom eating or snacking all day when I didn't sleep enough. Funnily enough, it was just today that I felt very intuitive at breakfast. Usually, I eat all of it out of habit but today I ate slowly and when I noticed I was satisfied put some oatmeal remainders in the fridge. I simply ate it later during the day so I could clean the bowl. And yes, I agree limiting or at best eliminating distraction - aside from maybe a newspaper or sudoku - is a key to eating intuitively. It's that kind of 'white noise' that drowns our ability to hear our inner voice if you know what I mean? Keeping my fingers crossed for your journey. It's the best feeling to go through a whole day eating intuitively - and here's to many more days! Miss Polkadot recently posted...Why I’m no professional food bloggerMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 11:23 pm
      Yes, yes, yes to all of this!!! I love how you called it "normal" eating. I am envious of my old childhood self who did not think twice about what I was eating.
  • Rachael @ Love Yourself Green March 6, 2015, 6:31 pm
    I'll admit - your post title had me super intrigued. I love the idea of intuitive anything, really. Exercise, eating, whatever! Looking forward to reading how things go for you with this. P.S. Your food looks ridonk. Rachael @ Love Yourself Green recently posted...Want to See a Paleo Cooking Show on TV? Here’s Your Chance to Speak Up!My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 11:29 pm
      I love that you mentioned other areas of life that are fun to live intuitively (not just eating). I have definitely been trying (that's the key word) to be less structured and more "go with the flow." It's a challenge!!
  • Ariana March 6, 2015, 10:55 pm
    Good job! I know that after following a fairly consistent meal plan for awhile it can be tough to move towards eating intuitively. I counted my calories and macros consistently for two years, and now for the past year and a bit I do it on and off. I find that when I just eat when I'm hungry and stick to my usual foods without tracking anything I feel better and look better. Ariana recently posted...What are Hormones & Why do They Hate Me?My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 6, 2015, 11:25 pm
      That sounds like the perfect strategy, Ariana. I feel like if I stock my apartment with all the good foods, then eating intuitively should work very well... even if I eat more than I think I "should" on certain days.
  • Ashley March 7, 2015, 4:35 pm
    My biggest struggle is dinner ... after a full day of work and then cooking dinner all I want to do is plop down on the couch and stuff my face! My husband and I have been trying to break that habit (since we both eat wayyyyy more when watching TV) but man is it hard! Ashley recently posted...Herbed Whole Grain Pizza DoughMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 7, 2015, 6:37 pm
      I agree!! This is especially a challenge for me because I often have "my shows" start at 7:00, which is right around the time that I am eating dinner. I'm not quite sure how to balance those two just yet... :/
  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies March 9, 2015, 9:26 am
    I definitely wish there wasn't such a "conventional" schedule to eat on, because I'm hungry when I'm hungry and it doesn't always line up with my noon lunch break! (And I get weird uhhh are you eating again? looks when I try to eat at 1 or 2 lol) Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies recently posted...Minty Supergreens and Strawberry SmoothieMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 9, 2015, 10:21 am
      How rude! People always comment on how much food I bring into work, but I like to be prepared! I am also VERY likely to eat lunch at 1:00 too because I am simply not hungry at the "normal" lunch hour. Lucky for me, I can take my lunch break pretty much whenever I want!
  • Courtney March 19, 2015, 9:40 am
    Hey, Hannah! I love this approach to eating. I have tried to eat intuitively before, but it always seems that I get hungry every couple of hours and it's king of annoying to have to eat all of the time! I do have a past of restricted eating, so do you think that I should still try to make sure I am eating enough in general before I attempt to intuitive eating? Love your blog and love posts like this! Thank you!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 19, 2015, 5:00 pm
      Hey Courtney! Great questions. I also have struggled with that in the past. I think it is pretty dependent on the individual person and his or her experiences. However, I definitely think your #1 goal at this point should probably be to ensure that you are eating ENOUGH! The first think I did was work on increasing my eating. I was up to the point where I was eating more than I tend to now, but it was the best thing for me to help me get comfortable with eating again. THEN once you have that down, you can try the intuitive route. I also would recommend making sure your meals are containing enough healthy fats and proteins. This will help keep you full for longer if you find snacking a lot to be annoying. Lots of yummy avocado, nuts, seeds, etc.!!

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