What I ate Wednesday #18: intuitive eating

Last week I wrote about how I use carbohydrates to fuel my exercise.  I’m going to continue the nutrition theme by thinking about how intuitive eating affects my world.

In the past I have been VERY strict about what I eat.  I tracked every morsel that passed my lips. The thought of something that wasn’t approved as part of my diet made me shudder.  Cravings for unhealthy foods were squashed down, and ignored.

Lately I have found that my willpower isn’t as strong.  Or, there is a force deeper than my desire to stick to my planned foods.

Robyn hit the nail on the head with her post on binging vs hunger.  A few points from Robyn’s post, if I may:

Over time, the body will also compensate for the calorie deficit that continues to occur by shutting down {bodily systems}.

With all that going on, the body is eventually going to rebel. And hard as you might try to have “willpower” and not eat that extra serving or not eat past a certain time or whatever- your body will physiologically take over and you might find yourself eating way more than you anticipated which leaves you feeling out of control. And then you feel guilty and the next day so you restrict your calories in an attempt to not gain weight and the cycle continues.

But these “binging” episodes in the presence of a history of calorie restriction aren’t really binges at all. It’s your body physiologically crying out for energy- for food.

And if I look at what I’m binging/picking at, then it seems to correlate.  When I was eating low carb/low fat, I found myself making granola for my husband and of course I would sample bits here and there.  Now I am eating a plant based diet I seem to find myself making protein ‘treats’: desserts, protein mousse, protein flapjack.  You name it, I’m making it ‘protein-style’.

Hence, intuitive eating – my body is making up for the nutrients I am lacking in my ‘assigned diet’.

So lets check out what I ate on Saturday:

WIAW, What I ate Wednesday, protein, intuative eating

What I ate Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Buckwheat rice toast with a homemade pumpkin, banana and cacao spread, topped with a date and half a dried fig
  • Nibble: While waiting for my exercise class to start I found myself making a two-layer protein bar for Ben’s dessert – he wasn’t even going to be home that evening as he was going out with a friend.  Of course, I had a good nibble here and there while I made it.
  • Exercise: Then I went to a BodyCombat class, with a section of abdominal work at the end. I kicked off the session with 10 minutes in the gym to get my heart rate going. I would usually do a BodyPump class to follow my Combat class, but this time I went in the gym to do my own thing.  I was in there for 50 minutes, and I covered: warm up on the cross trainer, arm session with light weights, 4 abdominal sets on the BOSU, chest and arems on the fitball and more abdominal work.
  • Snack: I met Ben and we went for a coffee – I had a soya cappuccino, my current favourite now I’m off dairy. I kept it light because I was planning on going into town for falafel that I seen some weeks ago, and really fancied.
  • Lunch: I went home, had a quick bath and then dashed out the door to catch the train into Exeter.  I went straight to the falafel stall in the street food market, only to find that they didn’t have falafel – I was gutted.  I had a hunt around the other stalls for falafel, and all I could find was falafel that was currently cooking in a deep fat fryer.  The guy selling it assured me that the fat wouldn’t have been absorbed into the middle of the falafel, just made the outside crunchy – but that wasn’t how I wanted it! 😦 I had a hunt around, and eventually settled for supermarket veggie sushi.  Mega disappointed, it then started to spit with rain, so I found some shelter to eat my lunch.
  • Snack: When I finally got home I made myself a green tea latte with almond milk and a dash of maple syrup, and curled up on the sofa before making dinner.
  • Dinner: Following the failed falafel, I decided to make my own.  Chickpea, carrot and coriander baked falafel, in a gram flour ‘wrap’ (basically a thinner, larger version of my socca/pizza) with roasted butternut squash and a spicy tomato and tofu dressing, served with iceberg lettuce. It really filled me up before I went to a friend’s house to watch Eurovision.
  • Drink: My friend had made an amazing spread of sundried tomato hummus, crudites, spicy rice crackers, and amazing vegan, no processed sugar cookies.  But I was so full from dinner I just stuck to a glass of Kombucha.

Do you eat intuitively, or do you stick to a meal plan?  Do you count calories/macros?

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9 thoughts on “What I ate Wednesday #18: intuitive eating

  1. Marjorie @APinchOfHealth May 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm Reply

    Oh girl! Yes! I am learning this lesson too, and I have posted about it a ton. I did a vlog post yesterday in fact!

    Willpower is so overrated in my opinion. I have to give myself permission to have anything I want. With that freedom to choose, I feel less deprived. And the irony? I almost always choose something healthy because I truly enjoy it. And not only do I like the way it tastes, but I like how I feel when I eat real wholesome food.

    Being healthy Is not about harsh restriction and willpower. In my opinion, we are all much better off when we flip the script in our minds and turn our energy to finding ways to make healthy food more delicious and enjoyable. Thanks for posting this!

    • Emily Hawkes May 15, 2014 at 7:39 am Reply

      Hi Marjorie. Thanks for your comment – really helpful!

  2. Anne May 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm Reply

    I pay attention to macros, but to make sure I have *enough*. I’ve learned that if I skimp on breakfast or lunch, I’m hungry at night. (You’d think it would be right after the meal – but no, not for me…) So I actually have about the same amount of food in all three meals – which many people see as a heavy breakfast and a light dinner, but it means I’m not craving anything after dinner.

    Your homemade felafel sound good.

  3. Miss Polkadot May 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm Reply

    It’s great to hear you’re trying to eat more intuitively! I’m working on this, too, and for me this and ditching the macro counting made a huge positive difference.
    The term ‘willpower’ is one I don’t like. Because it suggests we should feel guilty and were lacking said willpower if what we crave isn’t the most nutritious food around but probably just a bar of chocolate or some french fries – food for the soul. When I let myself eat what I feel like I’m usually surprised by how yes, sometimes a meal or a day seems lacking in certain departments [looking at you, vegetables] but in the bigger picture it all balances out. So if you feel like having one of those two-layer protein bars – which look great, by the way – why not? (:

    • Emily Hawkes May 16, 2014 at 6:55 am Reply

      Thanks 🙂 Not sure I am ‘trying’ to eat more intuitively, but my body wants to 🙂

      • Miss Polkadot May 16, 2014 at 9:14 am

        Well, then good for you letting it happen! (:

  4. Carly May 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm Reply

    Hi! I was just wondering if you had a recipe for the protein snack? looks chocolatey and delish(:

    • Emily Hawkes May 19, 2014 at 7:08 am Reply

      Oh goodness, it was a bit of a ‘kitchen sink’ protein snack – throw in everything but the kitchen sink 🙂 The topping was made with avocado, chocolate protein powder and cacao with something to sweeten. The base was more healthy flapjack inspired – but I didn’t measure out or anything. it was inspired by Angela http://ohsheglows.com/2014/05/08/two-layer-raw-chocolate-brownies/ if that helps 🙂

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