Are You Ready for Intuitive Eating?

By Katie, 5:38 am

Have you tried to eat more intuitively – listening to your body’s natural cues rather than some external structure – only to get frustrated and retreat back into the world of calories and points and fat grams?

That happened to me, more than once actually. I jumped head first onto the intuitive eating band wagon, only to fall right off the minute I got stressed, or gained an ounce of weight, or felt frightened by my own appetite.

Why does that happen? Why is it sometimes so difficult to adhere to such a simple and natural approach to eating?

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The reason, I think, is that we need to be ready for intuitive eating, both physically and emotionally.

When I went to hear Evelyn Tribole speak, she gave the example of a broken arm. If you break your arm, she said, you’re probably not going to start physical therapy the next day. Rather, you wait until the bone has healed a bit, and then you begin the process of normalizing your functioning.

The same goes for intuitive eating.

On the physical side, sometimes our bodies just aren’t ready for it. A friend of mine who struggles with extreme food restriction recently came out of residential treatment. While she’s certainly in better shape than she was a few months ago, no one is suggesting she try to eat intuitively right now, as her illness has thrown her hunger and fullness cues totally off course. Instead, she’ll be following a structured meal plan until she’s ready to transition into intuitive eating.

On the emotional side, many people know they’re ready for intuitive eating because they’re just so fed up with every other option. This was certainly the case with me. I could only fully grasp the idea of listening to my body after I’d tried so many plans, counted so many calories, and tallied so many fat grams that I was blue in the face. I got to the point where I just wanted to scream, “No more!” Fighting with my body had become downright exhausting. That’s when I was truly ready.

One of my favorite bloggers, Elina from Healthy and Sane, recently announced that she’s done with dieting. While I can’t know what’s going on in Elina’s heart and mind, I have a feeling that she’s ready for intuitive eating. She is fed up emotionally with everything diet related, she’s tired of fighting what feels like a losing battle over and over again.

It’s important to recognize that just because we’re ready for intuitive eating doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy-breezy. Whether we’re ready or not, there are going to be struggles. Inevitably we go through mountains and valleys, inevitably we feel the urge to diet and the urge to overeat. It’s part of the process.

I also want to say that there’s no shame or embarrassment in not being ready. Maybe you really, really want to drop the calorie calculator and give intuitive eating a go, but deep down you know you’re not quite there yet. That’s perfectly fine, and it’s part of the beauty of this approach: you can go at your own pace, move at your own speed.

You can take the leap whenever you’re ready.

What has your experience been like? Have you tried eating intuitively, only to go back to a more structured plan? If you consider yourself an intuitive eater, how did you know you were ready to begin?

Moment of Zen: Punctuation Edition

By Katie, 5:38 am

In college I tutored students in grammar. Today I sometimes diagram sentences for kicks. Before you poke fun, remember this: commas save lives.

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Have a safe and grammatically-correct Sunday! ;-)

You Don’t Wanna Miss This!

By Katie, 5:42 am

There is simply no introduction that would do justice to this video. You’ll just have to see for yourself!

Move over Sir Mix-a-Lot, and make way for Katie Mix-a-Little! ;-)

Chipotle Coupon!

By Katie, 7:25 pm

I just came across this and had to share!

Click on the link below to watch a short video about Bobby Flay’s new show, and afterward you can get a Buy One, Get One Free coupon to Chipotle! Good for burritos, bowls, salads, or tacos.

https://www.facebook.com/americasnextgreatrestaurant?ref=ts

Hurry! The offer’s only good until March 6, and you need to use your coupon within seven days.

You’re welcome! ;-)

Come back tomorrow for an extra fun post!

Cooking with my Honey: Valentine’s Day Cooking Class!

By Katie, 5:10 am

Before I say anything else, let me say this:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!

My mom’s pretty much the coolest person ever. 8-)

She’s so cool, in fact, that for Christmas she gave Dave and me tickets to a Valentine’s Day cooking class. Good idea, right?

Right. :-)

We learned many things, including but not limited to:

  • the difference between a pepper and a chili (do you know?)
  • the smell of a raw Maitake mushroom (also known as “Hen-of-the-Woods”) is very distinct (it smells like dirty feet, honestly!)
  • food mills are pretty neat kitchen gadgets (have you ever used one?)
  • the proper way to cut a chunk of chocolate (with a serrated knife, so you’re basically shaving it)

Of course, we also cooked and ate some seriously delicious food.

Pizette with Wild Mushrooms, Garlic, Goat Cheese & Truffle Oil

Honey Caper Grilled Shrimp

Risotto with Lobster, Dried Cherries & Mascarpone (best dish of the night!)

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Ginger, Chili & Honey, served over Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sweet ‘n’ Sour Walnuts

The sweet potatoes were awesome (Dave and I cooked them!) but I didn’t even finish the duck. Everyone else seemed to like it, so maybe I’m just not a duck person.

Roasted Beet, Cashew & Jicama Salad

Dessert was Chocolate Fondue (with Cognac!)

With strawberries, pretzels, almond macaroons, and candied orange peel for dipping.

Working in the class kitchen was great – it was totally upgraded with fancy equipment, and I got to cook with Dave while chatting with some really fun new people. Oh, and someone else was doing the dishes – not bad! We hope to do it again sometime soon. This particular teacher’s next session is called Bakin’ with Bacon…sounds yummy!

Have you ever gone to a cooking class?

What kind of cooking or baking class would you like to take?

Conquering the Urge to Diet: Three Steps

By Katie, 5:18 am

Monday I shared with you an audio recording in which I chat about how my self-image improved  when I let go of my obsession with my weight. Lest you think that means my time in front of the mirror is all roses and butterflies – “I’m so glad I’ve dealt with my issues! Now I love the way I look all the time!” – I decided this post would be an appropriate follow-up.

Because believe me, it ain’t all roses and butterflies.

Despite all the work I’ve done on honoring my hunger and the intensity with which I’ve pursued a positive body image, there are still days when I look at my reflection and think, “Ugh. This is not good.”

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Many times I am able to catch myself, remembering that those thoughts illustrate a problem with my perspective rather than with my body. But there are still times when I’m certain my stomach and my thighs are the problem, and the solution is to go on a diet and lose a few pounds.

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Before I explain how I deal with this urge, let me make a qualifying point about dieting:

I define “dieting” as anything that goes against our bodies’ natural course. Dieting is enforcing an external structure or plan on our eating in attempt to control our bodies in a way that is more harmful than helpful, both mentally and physically. Simply paying more attention to our food choices and how they affect our bodies in an attempt to feel our best is not, in my book, dieting.

Moving on.

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So last week I looked in the mirror and instantaneously felt an urge to diet. I wasn’t happy with what I saw; although I’ve been feeding my body well and listening to its cues, I desperately wanted it to look different, more like our society’s ideal. And I knew I could make that happen by cutting a few side items here and a few desserts there.

It would be so easy, I thought.

I’ve had these kinds of thoughts before, and chances are you have too. Here’s how I handle them.

Three Steps for Conquering the Urge to Diet

1. Call It Like It Is

The first thing I always do is admit to myself what’s going on. This seems so simple but is incredibly important because we can easily trick ourselves into thinking what we want to do isn’t really dieting. “I just want to be healthier,” we think, even though deep down we know we just want to change the way we look. “I just want to look my best,” we think, even though deep down we know we’re using society’s definition of “best” instead of our own.

Dieting takes on many disguises and shows up through various code words. Sometimes we just gotta call it like it is.

2. Uncover the Underlying Beliefs

For me, the urge to diet is always about something more than just my body. I want to drop a few pounds before the party next weekend…because I’m scared of being judged or rejected, and I think that being thinner will protect me from that. I want to start counting calories again…because then I won’t have any mental space for confronting the fears and anxieties I’m avoiding.

When I think about it like that, I remember this crucial point: Dieting isn’t going to fix anything.

3. Eat Double Intuitively

Like I said above, going on an itty-bitty diet would be pretty easy for me. No one would know if I skipped my afternoon snack (except my grumbling tummy). No one would think twice if I started eating half sandwiches at lunch instead of whole ones (except for my energy levels). But once I start, it’s easy for the diet-binge-repeat floodgates to fly wide open.

So instead, I vow to do the opposite. I vow to make an extra effort to tune into my body the next time it calls for a meal or snack. I vow to listen carefully to see what kinds of food would be most satisfying. I vow to eat every bite as mindfully as I can.

Sure, it feels a bit exaggerated, but it’s exactly what I need to conquer that dieting urge.

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In my experience, it doesn’t matter how passionate I am about intuitive eating, or how dedicated I am to improving my body image, the urge to diet is still going to strike every now and then. But I am determined to fight it. Following these three steps gives me the strength and perspective I need to do just that.

Have you ever faced the urge to diet, even though you knew it wasn’t good for you? How did you handle it?

Let’s Talk About It: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

By Katie, 5:12 am

I got pretty excited when I learned that the theme of this year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – which goes from February 20 – February 26 – is “It’s Time To Talk About It.” I certainly espouse the idea of breaking the barriers of shame and silence and instead openly discussing the food and weight issues that plague so many of us.

The only problem, however, is that “talking about it” is what this blog’s all about. It’s what I do almost every day, with almost every post. And yet I still wanted to do something special this week, something I don’t usually do.

After a few days of mulling over what to do, I found my answer: Project BodyTalk.

Harriet Brown – professor, author, and positive body image activitist – created Project BodyTalk to encourage all of us to share our stories and express ourselves openly. From the website:

Project BodyTalk is a safe place where people can share how they feel about their bodies and body image, their relationship with food and eating, and the cultural pressures that are so much a part of American life today.

A lightbulb went off when I read that. I thought, I can promote the theme of “talking about it” by doing just that: talking about it. That is, instead of writing about it like I usually do.

And so I present to you my submission to Project BodyTalk. Take a listen!

Player above not working? Listen to the MP3 here.

I encourage you to get involved as well by sharing your own personal story. I truly believe we can only move forward by engaging with one another, by discussing and learning and supporting one another. It really is time to talk about it.

For more information, check out the National Eating Disorders Association and the Project BodyTalk website.

Did anything in my audio submission strike you? Anything you could relate to?

AND/OR

Do you feel comfortable talking openly about your body/body image? Why or why not?

Moment of Zen: Napping Edition

By Katie, 5:02 am

Hope your Sunday is nice and relaxing!

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Also, be sure to check out Lindsey’s new project called Shot of Happiness. Every Wednesday she’ll be posting uplifting photos sent in by readers. Stop by for a smile and to submit your own photos!

Guess What We Did???

By Katie, 5:00 am

I’ll give you some clues. ;-)

It costs a lot of money…

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It requires a lot of crates and boxes…

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And it will give us a nice little tax break…

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Yes, that’s right, we bought a house!!!

Ok, so not really a house, since it isn’t actually built yet. We bought a building lot which will include a house in just a few short months.

We’re so stinkin’ excited I can’t even find the words. The view from our backyard is downright beautiful (minus the construction debris – both of our neighbors-to-be are having their homes build right now).

I should mention, however, that this house will take me away from my beloved city of Baltimore. You all know I love it here. But our new home will include a whole lot more space – both indoors and out – than anything we could have purchased in Maryland (yep, I’m going back to my home state of Pennsylvania). Plus we’re crazy close to several parks and walking trails, a quaint bakery/orchard/coffee shop, and my mama. 8-)

The only problem? A whole lot more space means a whole lot more decorating, and I know not a thing about interior design! And unfortunately I can’t drop the bucks to hire a professional designer.

Are any of my readers an interior design student looking to bulk up your portfolio? Do you know anyone who can give some basic design suggestions for free or very, very cheap? Pretty please?

Any tips on new houses, or on the whole moving process?

EEK!!! My very own HOME!

Don’t forget to send me your kitty footage by tomorrow! Just 30 seconds or so of your cat being his/her wonderful self!

Chobani Love

By Katie, 5:35 am

I know Valentine’s Day is over, but this has stolen my heart.

Have you tried this new flavor yet?

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