In honor of the 100th episode of the Feed Your Soul with Kim Podcast, we asked our community (all of you) to submit your questions. Let’s see what you all want to know.
1) What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting?
This question is very timely with the rise of intermittent fasting.
These are two different approaches to eating.
First, intuitive eating is all about tuning in to your body’s natural signals and cultivating a healthy relationship with food.
Intuitive eating encourages you to listen to your hunger and fullness cues, honor your cravings, and find pleasure in eating.
It’s a mindful and flexible approach that emphasizes self-compassion and body acceptance.
On the other hand, intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. This method has gained popularity for its reported potential benefits. However, it’s important to examine intermittent fasting through an intuitive eating lens to understand its compatibility with this mindset.
From an intuitive eating perspective, it’s crucial to consider the underlying motivations behind utilizing intermittent fasting.
- Are you doing it to listen to your body’s needs?
- To feel more connected to your hunger and fullness signals?
- Or are you using it as a tool for restriction or weight control?
The problem with intermittent fasting is it requires you eat during a certain time block, say 8 hours during the day and then not eat for 16 hours.
Some individuals may naturally gravitate to a time-restricted eating pattern, based on their hunger/fullness.
Intuitive eating promotes individualization and flexibility.
You are encouraged to trust your body’s wisdom rather than adhering strictly to external rules or prescribed eating patterns.
I ask my clients to consider the questions:
- Does this feel like a diet?
- Are you restricting food?
- Do you eat when you are hungry?
An action step is to take a deep breath and listen to your body’s wisdom for what you need next.
What feels intuitively right for you?
It takes trust and embracing your own needs and values not based on a societal norm of restriction.
2) How can I have a day-to-day approach to my relationship with food focused on living life versus weight loss?
Imagine that you can wake up every day feeling empowered AND embrace food. To have the ability to make food choices from the needs of your body, rather than relying on what a diet guru tells you to do. Have a sense of peace in your relationship with food.
First, let’s look at breaking away from constant dieting and embrace a new perspective. I know this takes work, but there is a need to end the pursuit of weight loss and instead, focus on nourishing your body, listening to your body’s cues and look for food satisfaction.
This is a mindset shift that begins to lead you to food freedom.
Intuitive eating encourages you to trust your body’s innate wisdom.
Instead of rigid meal plans or calorie counting, listen to your hunger and fullness signals.
Take a moment to pause and ask yourself,
- Am I hungry?
- What foods would truly satisfy my cravings?
- How can I honor my body’s signals and cue to eat?
Second, let’s look at food pleasure. Food is meant to be enjoyed, savored, and celebrated. Give yourself permission to experience and enjoy the flavors, textures, and aromas of food.
A simple question to ask is, “Am I enjoying this food?”
Incorporating intuitive eating into your life takes a mindful approach. This can seem like a daunting task since others often discuss their latest diet.
Here are some ideas to incorporate intuitive eating:
- Surround yourself with a supportive community that champions intuitive eating.
- Seek out resources, books, or podcasts that inspire and educate you about intuitive eating.
- Get a supportive counselor, coach or registered dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating, guiding you on your journey towards food freedom.
It is critical to remember that this is not an overnight fix.
You do have the power to eat intuitively and enjoy your relationship with food.
3) “How can I reframe my ideas about food and nourishment to make overall well-being a priority rather than weight loss?”
It can be tough to look at food as nourishment when we are often taught to limit food and calories. It is a bold step to look at food as nourishment and part of our overall wellness (without restricting).
Start by appreciating the nourishment provided, the energy it instills, and the pleasure it brings to taste buds. It’s time to shift our focus from numbers on a scale to determine what health and wellness might look to each of us.
How do we start this movement from weight loss to food as nourishment?
- How can I honor my body, nurture it with nourishing foods that support my well-being?
- How can I savor each bite, finding joy in the flavors and textures that bring me happiness?
- How can I support myself fully mind/body/spirit?
It’s through these inquiries that we pave the way for a new, empowering perspective.
Start by challenging the status quo of diet culture. The diet industry makes a lot of money off us being brainwashed that we must be a certain weight to be accepted, healthy, and worthy.
Let’s get into action by examining your relationship to dieting, diets, and weight loss.
How did you get to the spot?
This self-reflection can lead you to question more of your mindset around food AND what you have been taught.
When we were little, we knew what to eat, how much, and when. We lost track of this inner knowledge a long time ago. Dieting takes us out of this inner knowing.
I know it can feel scary to think of being on your own with food. Seek out support. You do not have to do this alone.
4) What is intuitive eating and how can it help me develop a healthier relationship with food?
Intuitive eating is not another diet fad or quick fix. It’s a totally different way of looking at food, weight, bodies, emotions, and mindset around food.
Truthfully, it is about listening to your body’s internal cues, utilizing your body’s hunger and fullness signals, and making food choices from a place of what you really need.
First, intuitive eating is not restrictive, and it relies on your ability to determine your body needs at any point in time.
It can be scary to trust your body’s signals, pleasure, and satisfaction.
We tune inside of ourselves to listen to physical hunger and emotional hunger. We, also, tune into what foods will satisfy us.
The goal is to heal your relationship with food, by ending shame/guilt and the cycle of restriction and binging.
Second, intuitive eating is not just about the food; it is about your whole being: mind, body, and spirit. It’s a transformative journey that ripples into every aspect of your life.
Third, the path to intuitive eating is to:
- Start listening to your body.
- Follow your body’s signals.
- Release external rules.
- Look for a supportive group that embraces intuitive eating.
Remember, we are looking for a relationship with food that is nourishing, peaceful, and totally free from guilt.
It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can guide you in making informed decisions about your eating habits. They can help you navigate the potential benefits and considerations of intermittent fasting and how it aligns with your overall well-being goals.
Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Psychotherapist, Speaker, Author, and Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration.
You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms.
Wondering if you are an emotional eater? Sign up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz.