COVID-19 can be compared to freshmen year of college – it’s stressful, you feel overwhelmed, and it’s way too easy to pack on an extra 15 pounds! Many of us, having been stuck at home and dealing with stress for the past 4-5 months, have found our eating habits have taken a nosedive.
So how do we remedy this?
Many of us are still in lockdown mode and still dealing with the fear and stress of the pandemic. Are we supposed to try and put ourselves on a strict diet so we can lose weight and get healthy? Strict diets almost never work for most people, particularly when they are dealing with a stressful situation.
A far better solution is to turn to intuitive eating.
What is Intuitive Eating Exactly?
Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based, mind-body nutritional approach that helps people honor their body and their health. By listening to the body and giving it what it needs nutritionally, you are able to meet your physical and psychological needs.
Now let’s talk about what intuitive eating is NOT.
It is NOT a diet or a specific food plan. It is not something where you restrict certain foods or count calories, carbs, or macros. Dieting and food restriction has never worked long-term. It is not sustainable.
But intuitive eating IS sustainable. This is not a diet but a new way to become self-aware and practice self-love and self-care.
How Does it Work?
Most diets put foods into one of two categories: Spinach goes into the “good” category and cake goes into the “bad” category. Intuitive eating gives a person permission to view all food as good and to eat whatever you like because you are trusting your body to tell you what it wants and needs. Anytime we can tune out the exterior world and tune into ourselves, we are far more apt to find balance and optimal health.
There are a few steps I always recommend clients take to get started with intuitive eating.
1. Start Listening
From a young age, we’re taught to listen to others. But rarely is a young person taught how to tune into themselves. It’s time you start. Check-in with yourself throughout the day to see how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Just begin to listen to your own inner voice more over the coming days and weeks.
2. Drop Those Judgements
What foods have you been told are an absolute no-no? Red meat? Butter? Sugar? It’s time to start reevaluating what you have been told by others and let your body tell you what is “good” and “bad” for YOU.
3. Eat More
If you are someone who comes from a diet mentality that has had you eat less, try and eat more and see how your body responds. Remember, you want to really LISTEN to what your body tells you. Eat 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks. Do you find you’re still hungry? Do you find you get full easily?
Intuitive eating works and it can help you if you’re dealing with stress eating from COVID. If you need any help or guidance with this new lifestyle, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
My name is Julee Cox and I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Qualified Clinical Supervisor. I have extensive experience treating adults and teens, both males and females, who struggle with eating disorders, as well as adults who are involved in emotionally neglectful and damaging relationships, adult children of addicts, adult children of narcissists, adults who want to improve relationships with their spouses/significant others, and who put the needs of others before their own. I also see adults who struggle with perfectionistic tendencies, self-harm behaviors, and codependency issues.