- 3 months ago
Intuitive eating and regular exercise is what’s working for me.
I had to change the way I thought about food and my body. Because I had been eating restrictively on and off for years by trying to stick to a high caloric deficit, I was hungry all the time and had lost the ability to accurately tell when I had eaten enough. This led to binge eating during and after periods of restriction. While I would be able to lose some weight during caloric restriction, I always gained it back and then some, because it wasn’t a sustainable way of eating. I also found that counting calories had a negative effect on my mental health.
A lot of research into weight loss does show that while restricitive diets may cause weight loss short term, the majority of people who participate in them gain the weight back, and have more weight gain over time.
Intuitive eating isn’t easy to start with if you have issues with food, or have been dieting for any significant period of time. You have to learn how to do it properly, otherwise people just end up eating loads of foods tehy proviously saw as “forbiddden” or “bad” , gaining weight and thinking it doesn’t work for them. You need to learn how to get in tune with your body’s needs.
It took me 8 months until I was able to accurately recognise when I was satisfied vs overfull. I did gain around 6-7lbs during this period of learning, but then my weight plateaued and I’ve been losing around 0.5lbs/month since then. I know that sounds slow, but its sustainable for me and has helped me get rid of the diet mentality that I’ve had since I was 14. The following books helped me to learn about how to eat intuitively:
I tend to eat nutritionally dense foods 80% of the time, and “fun” foods 20% of the time. Most of my protein sources are plant based, and the majority of my carbohydrates come from wholegrain sources. This the balance that makes my body and mind feel best. I get the nutrition I need while also getting to enjoy food and not worry about it. If you don’t know much about nutrition, I’d recommend looking at Canada’s food guidance. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
Encorporating regular exercise really helped too. Before, I always felt drained – probably because of the restriction, so I never felt energetic enough to exercise consistantly, and when I did exercise I just felt exhausted.
Now, I do some form of exercise every day for at least 30 minutes, usually 45-60 minutes – either walking, swimming, yoga or dancing as those are what I actually enjoy. I’m not someone who’s ever had that endorphine rush feeling from exercise, but afterwards I no longer feel drained or tired. I have noticed my stamina and strength improving.