Craving chocolate? Instead of torturing your mind to know if you have the right (or not!) To eat it because a devil in your brain tells you that “it will screw up your diet”, “it’s caloric” , “you’re hurting yourself” … Well, go beyond these parasitic thoughts and enjoy your square of hazelnut Milka! Basically, that’s intuitive eating, a concept that invites to decondition the “diet mentality”, to use the expression of Laura Thomas, doctor of nutrition and author of “Eat as you like” (Larousse edition). A book against the regimes which “upset the metabolism, lose the innate signals of hunger and satiety, lead to eating disorders, not to mention shame, guilt and anxiety when the diet inevitably fails”, argues the expert.
Mindfulness: I stop feeling guilty
However, intuitive eating, based on mindfulness and a certain common sense, is not a license that allows you to rob the fridge at the slightest harm. Eating according to your desires while ignoring dictates supposes a whole psychic process which leads to a change of state of mind, to a new relation to food and to your body, simpler, more spontaneous, without obsession, nor complex. The goal is to regain self-esteem, to trust your body which, intuitively, knows what is good for it. Before reaching this mental Grail, there are steps to be taken that Laura Thomas explains with pedagogy in her work. And we understand that the journey is not easy when you have 20 or 30 years of dieting behind you!
Intuitive eating: I don’t count calories anymore
Laure Thomas says that she sees parades every day in her office “dpeople who spend their day worrying about what to eat, who waste an awful lot of time wondering if their fruit salad is too high in sugar or worry about whether the paleo diet is better than the vegetarian, people who make complicated rules about what to eat, when and how much, who work out clever calculations to figure out how much time it takes to earn a cookie based on what they have already swallowed that day and the amount of carbohydrates and proteins they have assimilated during other meals, people who spend a lot of time, money, energy and precious resources to determine what they are going to eat, people who are afraid and worried about it“. And the expert knows what she is talking about because she too suffered in her flesh and suffered the social pressure that corsates the bodies.
Intuitive eating: I eat the way I am
The concept sounds simple on paper, but it takes time before you get rid of habits that are well established in your body and your head. To facilitate the process, the expert offers a plan that allows you to choose foods based on your preferences and satisfaction rather than what you think you know about nutrition. If it does not impose rules stricto sensu, it invites to gradually decondition by walking in stages:
- Get away from the diet mentality: instead of measuring progress in terms of weight loss or calories burned, or even appearance, give up the idea that you have a problem with food and try to detect innate signals of hunger and satiety. In short, we stop following inhuman rules for food!
- Drop the idea of losing weight: don’t inflict goals on yourself. “Intuitive eating is not a method to lose weight, insists Laura Thomas. We must stop focusing on the dietary side. At first, just think about it and let the idea take hold “. In fact, weight loss is a side effect, it will occur naturally after deconditioning, from the time when we no longer make a fixette on our plate and the fear of getting fat.
- Do not exclude food : “except for religious or ethical reasons, or because of allergies“specifies the expert, otherwise it is the door open to frustrations and cracks, hence the yoyo phenomenon and the spiral of regimes.
- Be lenient with yourself: Laura Thomas even uses the term self-compassion and reminds us that the process that leads to freedom to eat is difficult because you have to get rid of many years of conditioning. “Go gradually, she reassures, it will help you cultivate curiosity rather than perfectionism“.
- Learn patience: in intuitive eating, “there are no mistakes, nonsense or failures, only moments of learning, says the expert. People who consult me always tell me that they missed their diet or that they failed. Instead of berating yourself, ask yourself what lessons you can learn from this experience“.
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