Thursday, June 24, 2010

Instinctive Eating & Why I Won't Ever Pay Attention to Numbers Again

You know my feelings about numbers when it comes to weight scales, and now I have some things to say about calorie counting.  A couple of weeks ago, before Scottie Cat was sick, I came to some realizations that I have been wanting to share.

I've long understood that to get in really great shape, to seriously increase my fitness level for dancing, I have to eat enough -- not cut how much I eat.

If I don't eat enough, I simply do not have the energy I need to dance hard almost every day or to lift weights or to focus on whatever physical skill I am currently focused on.

Yet, thanks to my past filled with disordered eating and body image issues, I also have this nagging desire to just get thin, damn it.

I am constantly struggling to keep all of this balanced in my mind -- to remind myself why I am getting fit and how it has nothing to do with smaller clothes.  Though I am human (and female and American) and I enjoy those smaller clothes no matter how much I try not to.

Back to a couple of weeks ago:  I realized that I do not have any freaking idea whatsoever of what "good and proper" eating amounts even look like.  I have no clue how much I should be eating to eat enough to workout as much as I do.

I decided, in my limited wisdom, to start counting calories.  But! Wait!

I explained to Marcy that I was counting for good reason!  I was counting to make sure I ate enough.  She was not convinced at all and went into some (annoying at the time) speech about how this was still representative of my warped relationship to food and that if I would just listen to my body...

Blah blah blah!!!

I was convinced I was right.  And that I was "good."  I would count calories for a few weeks until I learned again (or really, for the first time) how to eat correctly.

It took me a couple of days (as usual...sigh...) to catch up to Marcy's Wisdomosity.

It happened while I was dancing.  I realized that because I have a great diet in terms of content (we are very "clean" eaters) and because I am so physical every day that if I would just trust my stomach and my body, I could never really over eat.

Sure, I splurge like anyone.  I eat chocolates and goodies but they are high quality chocolates and goodies, and if my body wants those things there is a reason...and I listen closely enough now not to eat them until I could POP.

This is my New Lesson:  Intuitive Eating.

I have never trusted my body and this is another way to learn to do that.

Our bodies know best.

Our brains get in the way of that so we end up relying on external things like calorie counting and scales.

Those numbers are not the solution because they are part of the larger problem of disconnect.

Our disconnect from our needs and our mistaking our wants for needs...that is the core issue.

Now I just ask:  what does my body need?  Is this food making me feel good?  Is this intake giving me the energy I need to dance?  Is it satisfying my basic human sensual needs?

Part of a good "diet" is appreciation.  If we would just become connoisseurs of excellent food and drink, we would never put junk in our mouths.  If we would just let ourselves be playful in this life, we would never again have to exercise.

No more numbers!  Listen to your body and your heart and have fun and ENJOY!


cocosparkle said...

Wonderful words to live if I could just get my body to stop lying to me (ie: I WANT CAKE, I WANT ICECREAM...etc) I'd be off and running...literally!

Christine Claire Reed said...

Coco! As Martha Graham says, Bodies never lie, and I believe this with all my heart.

Our brains, though, often mis-translate what the body is saying.

For example, there is nothing wrong with cake or ice cream, but our brains put us on automatic eating mode and we eat too much of it.

OR there is something about the cake that your body desires rather than the cake itself.

Try to filter messages like that through your heart, with kindness, and their true meaning will come to you -- again, via the body.

Elize said...

great post!! Am just about to write a blog about my week long experiment of raw vegan feasting, and my conclusions, pure and simple, are to listen to one's own body. That's what I ended up doing, beyond any self-imposed guidelines I had for the week.

Lisa said...

Congratulations, you have just become your very own wellness coach!

Listening is key, as our needs change over time. Outside 'rules' need not apply (other than research-based evidence suggesting what really *works* for sustainable health).

Your readers who comment on this post ~ about still needing help in this area ~ are free to contact me for a complimentary coaching session :-)

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

I deeply agree with you! Wonderful advice!

Christine Claire Reed said...

Lisa, What an awesome and generous offer.

I would still side with INSTINCT every time. The "science" behind "healthy" food is just always changing. Think about how much people feared butter in the 80s -- to the point of putting plastic food in their bodies and calling it healthy. Blech.

Carolynn said...

So true. Eating when we're hungry and only until we're full. Not by what the clock reads or how much is on our plate. It really is the key. Everything in moderation. I work with a guy who seems to eat non-stop all day and he's in great shape. He nibbles on small portions though. It's different for every Body.

lucy said...

I'm with you! If you haven't met Tonya Leigh yet, I think you'd enjoy her wisdom. She's playing your (and my) song. said...

Oh, amen!
I eat like this, although it took me years to get here. I do loads of exercise too, and if I don't eat enough. Well, things get ugly. Tired, cranky, not good.
Also? I eat chocolate or cake most days. Just not a lot of it.

Laura said...

I love your phrase..."intuitive eating" That's exactly the healthy way to nourish your body Christine...good for you...keep listening (to your body and Marcy)