The Daily Question To Eat or Not Eat?

The concept of intuitive eating is to listen to your body, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. It is simple and we are born with those survival instincts. I am trying to put this into practice in my own life. Last night I did encounter a dilemma with this concept. My daughter decided to have some popcorn after dinner and it smelled so good, I had a couple kernels of hers and decided I wanted some too. Oh, the power of suggestion!!!

I had a little debate in my mind about it. It went like this.

Am I hungry? No, I had plenty of food today and I am not hungry. Hello, clue number one, I said I was not hungry!

I even had a dessert after dinner consisting of a low calorie muffin and a Weight Watcher frozen fudge bar instead of my usual bowl of fruit and yogurt. Clue number two, I had a sugary dessert that I usually don’t eat!

Are you wanting to eat because of some underlying emotion? No, I feel just fine, I just want to eat some popcorn. Upon reflection I have to say that I was tired and I wanted to write a post for the blog but I didn’t have the brain power to do so and I was a little frustrated about it.

At that point I took a look at my food journal and saw that I did have room in my food intake for the day to allow for some popcorn. I decided to go ahead and have some. Clue number three, just because you could, does not mean you should!

Later when I went to bed I had regret! I am trying to not eat if I am not hungry and this felt like a back slide. I was disappointed that I justified eating the popcorn and looking back I really didn’t enjoy it that much. I was on the computer while I ate it and it was actually mindless munching. I didn’t stop to ask myself if eating the popcorn was going to help me achieve my goal of living healthy, losing weight and being an intuitive eater.

This morning I was thinking about last nights snacking. I looked over my food journal for yesterday again and I see that I had more carbs yesterday than normal. I had two Kashi party crackers with lunch, white potatoes with my dinner and that muffin and fudge bar after dinner. It was not the healthiest most balanced food day. I still feel full this morning so clearly I ate more yesterday than my body needed.

With the popcorn I was at  22.5 WW points for the day so I was well within a healthy amount of points for the day. I had walked 3 miles earlier in the day so I also had activities points banked. But that does not take away the fact that I snacked with out being hungry and I munched mindlessly while being on the computer.

I think the extra sugary carbs set me up to want to eat more carbs. I was tired and a little frustrated that I wasn’t going to crank out a blog post. It was emotional eating after all. I didn’t recognize it for what it was last night. It is this type of snacking and eating that eventually can become a daily habit and lead to weight gain. I surely don’t want to go down this path.

Those old coping habits will come back if I don’t stay acutely aware of my body signals and my thinking. I feel so good this morning that I have clarity and insight. I choose to see this as a break through moment and not a failure!

My plan today is to have less carbs, more protein and fiber. I will also pay more attention to Geneen Roth’s Eating Guidelines from Women Food and God. I am going to print the list out and put it in a visible place as a good reminder today.

The Eating Guidelines

1. Eat when you are hungry.

2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.

3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety – producing conversations or music. I will add the computer to my list!

4. Eat what your body wants.

5. Eat until you are satisfied.

6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.

7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

If you are practicing intuitive eating how do you handle wanting to snack outside of hunger? Do you ever allow it to happen?

Being more aware, mindful and present.


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  1. WaistingTime says:

    I can so identify with you! Every time lately that I have overeaten, it has been something “healthy” like your popcorn. But I ate it when I was not hungry. And that is a behavior I want to change. I also think that, like you, certain foods set me up to want others. I need to either cut them out or really cut them down. This is such a learning process.

    1. Tami says:

      You are so right, it is a learning process and I am learning to think it through and look for the hidden message.

  2. Helen says:

    Unfortunately most people have abused their shutoff system so badly that they have to have guidelines like points or calories. My hope is that as I work myself away from the dieting mentality that I can put those guidelines into effect.

    But you know, there is the other side of this with the eat what you want rule: sometimes I want popcorn as my dinner! And that shouldn’t make me feel guilty or bad – which is a whole other set of guidelines, isn’t it?

    1. Tami says:

      Yeah for popcorn for dinner! I have done that before with an apple and a little piece of low fat cheese.

      It is a learning curve and some day I might be able to eat with out counting points but it is so much a part of me that right now I don’t seem to be able to stop counting! I guess it is still me trying to be in control!

  3. LAF says:

    That was a very insightful post. I could relate to much of what you said so the guidelines were very helpful.

    1. Tami says:

      Glad you liked the guide lines. They are a good road map!

  4. Kat says:

    This is a great post and timely Tami. It has been a challenging week for me. I really like the guidelines and find it helpful to slow down and ask myself how I am feeling before eating. I have been journaling my food for all of May and am going to start adding my emotions with the entries to start looking for patterns.

    1. Tami says:

      Kat I think it is a brilliant idea to also journal your feelings along with the food! You are one smart cookie!

  5. Weight Watcher Wannabe says:

    Fantastic post… Thanks.. I can’t wait to read that book…

  6. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I really like the premise, but on the other hand I don’t need ANYTHING else to feel guilty in my life about. This is generally what I’m aiming for, so I don’t feel too bad…I hope you can make peace with it soon.

    1. Tami says:

      Oh, I decided to chalk it up to a learning experience and move on!

  7. Genie@dietof51 says:

    I think that popcorn saturates the sense of smell rendering all logical defenses helpless.

    Intuitive eating sounds so lovely and natural, but I don’t trust my intuition that much… I like learning about it, however, and how it works for others.

    1. Tami says:

      Genie you are so funny! You made me laugh out loud when I read your response.

  8. Deb Willbefree says:

    Hi, Tami! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment and found a very timely post. 🙂

    I loved the whole moderate/intuitive eating thing. I just had to drop the intuitive part as you saw in my last post. chuckle. Like other commenters, my intuitive eating part is not trustworthy. Maybe someday… For now it’s the old modified calorie count and I eat what I want withing HEALTHY limits. Uh-hmm. That is decidedly NOT exactly what I want. (Being diabetic, I’m pretty sure that a dinner of ice cream and cake would be bad.)

    I just got Geneen’s book yesterday. I’ve read the first few pages and have enjoyed listening to her interactions with the retreat peeps.

    We’ll see about the food part… This I know, one way or another I will eat moderately and without bondage.


    1. Tami says:

      Hi Deb thanks for taking the time to post on my blog. I think what ever method works for each one of us is okay. It is not a one size fits all kind of thing to fix!

      After you read the book I would love to have some conversation about it.

  9. karen@fitnessjourney says:

    Very interesting. I think most of the time I practice intuitive eating though I’ve never given it a label. It seems to me that we are all born to instinctively eat intuitively. It’s our socialization that gets us in trouble. Who knows how to change that.

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