A mom who likes to live outside the norm

Follow your body’s cues

Okay, this is one of the hardest health related posts I’ve written.  As a person with poor body image and who has regularly been on some sort of diet for a majority of my life, this is something I have personally struggled with.

You need to follow your body’s cues.

This totally goes against most of what mainstream diets tell us.  They all have the same sort of advice:

  • Eat lots of this stuff
  • Avoid things from this list
  • Drink lots of water
  • Ignore the cravings

Well, of course I have said some similar things, but the main point of my advice is to Eat real food.  Avoid packages, items with an ingredients list, preservatives, etc. Drink when you are thirsty.

But what do you do about cravings or aversions?

Eat what sounds good to you and avoid what sounds bad.

The avoiding what sounds bad is super easy.  I’ve never done many diets out there because I don’t like soup, beans and other things that affect my texture issues.  And many sweet foods just don’t sound appealing to me, so I naturally avoid many foods that have excess sugar.

The part I really struggle with and am working on now is eating what sounds good.

What do most diets tell you to do when you crave sugar?  Don’t eat it, be a martyr, use self-control!  And what do you do?  You can avoid it for awhile, but then you cave in after a week or a few days and binge eat.  You eat a whole package of cookies, or eat several servings of ice cream.  And then you give up.  Or you tell yourself it’s just one day and you’ll do better tomorrow.

And then we are told to drink tons of water.  The advice varies from 64 ounces a day to half your body weight in ounces daily.  I read this recently: 8 Reasons NOT to Drink 8 Glasses of Water A Day.  In most cases we are not following our body’s cues and are actually over hydrating!

So what is a Real Foodie to do?

The first thing you should do is listen to your body.  If you are craving sweet, give your body sweet.  I would start with eating some fruits to see if that takes care of the craving.  But if you are really wanting dessert, go for it!  Find some recipes that use whole food ingredients.  You can try out my recipes for whole grain cupcakes (no icing necessary) and cookies.  Eat one and move on. If a few hours later you are still craving sweet, re-evaluate.

Craving salty?  Nuts may be exactly what you are craving.  A slice of homemade bread with butter may take care of it.  Make some soft pretzels.  The main point is to stop the cycle of reaching for the normal chips or pre-packaged pretzels, find a way to take care of the craving while actually feeding your body.

And I’m learning with the water.  Of course your body needs water, that is what we are made of!  But if you are eating real foods, you are already getting a lot of water from the fruits and vegetables you are eating.  The main point is to swap out all the juice and soda for water.  If you are thirsty, fill up a glass of water.  If you want some flavor add a slice of cucumber or lemon, or try out some other flavoring options. Maybe go for a glass of full-fat milk.  Drink when you are thirsty and stop when you are satisfied.  Stop focusing on quotas and minimums!

Remember the words “is this feeding me, or hurting me?”  If it is hurting you then see if you can find something else, but if it is feeding your body, go for it!  If you are constantly denying your body what it wants, you are setting yourself up for failure.

And stop focusing on the scale.

The goal is not rapid weight loss or a perfect body.  The goal is balance and health. So eat what is not only good for you, but also what you are craving.  Get active.  If you are truly overweight, your body will slowly shed the excess.  It may take months for your body to realize that it is being regularly nourished and getting what it needs to function, and then (and only then) will it start to lose its fat stores.  And if it doesn’t you may want to consult a doctor about underlying issues.

Is there anything about this that is new to you? Is there anything encouraging you can share?

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7 thoughts on “Follow your body’s cues

  1. I agree with you on many counts. However, I have almost completely given up grain and added sugar. Our bodies convert treat grains much like sugar and adjusts our insulin levels according to how much sugar we input. I found the first few month or so difficult and so I would actually push through for a while and then, if the craving did not go away, give myself a reasonable sized treat. After a while, however, the cravings go away as your body adjusts and begins regulating your sugar levels better on its own. 6 months in, I only treat myself to sweets about twice a month. When I do, I can feel my blood sugar spike. Most of the time I don’t think about them at all. I feel more energetic without them and have lost some weight in the process!

    • I completely agree with you! I have a definite sugar addiction. I do fine when I don’t indulge regularly in processed sugars. When I give in, I spend the following days craving sugar. Personally, I try not to eat any refined sugars and our bread is baked at home by me with freshly ground wheat.

  2. Pingback: Start your day off right | UnorthadoxMomma

  3. I agree completely. I found that a preliminary elimination diet to get rid of all the junk in my system and allow my body to start craving real food, not processed junk, was necessary. After that I have been able to listen to my bodies cues, which are very clear now. It is very sure to let me know when it wants something, or when I ate something horribly wrong and should never do that again (gluten and eggs). I don’t give my self any guff for that 85% dark cocoa bar I eat. It prevents binge eating.

    Great post!

    • I know exactly what you mean. When I eat things with hydrogenated oils in them, I feel horrible the day afterward. It’s just not worth it. I’m dealing with cravings horribly right now, trying to figure out what my body is actually wanting. I’m going to be writing soon about food elimination.

  4. Spot on!!! I have been urging friends and family to start going for real foods to get healthier. I am currently struggling to gain weight as I lost a TON of weight while breastfeeding my baby. We have been working hard to cut out processed foods – especially with all the GMO stuff going on – and starting to switch to more organic items when possible, and learning to make a lot of things at home (granola, granola bars, larabars, etc). I also love the information on water intake. We are all so different and don’t need the same amount of water as the next guy. People forget, too, that tea, coffee, soda, etc all contain water as well (along with all the other stuff), so you do have to take into account all your water sources. I don’t believe in the “everything in moderation” mindset, because I definitely think there are things you should avoid completely, because there are such better alternatives out there to curb the cravings as you point out 🙂 I always crave something sweet at night, and I’ve switched from a giant bowl of ice cream to a big bowl of full-fat greek yogurt with homemade granola. Really hits the spot! Even just grabbing an apple in the evening helps a ton. So sweet and so good for you!

    • I’ve really been working hard on trying to understand what my body is wanting, not just jumping for the first thing that sounds good. It’s so hard! I’ve really been re-evaluating everything I’ve believed and heard over the years as far as health and weight loss advice. Even the things that sound good like “Drink 8 glasses of water a day” can be wrong for certain people, especially if that’s on top of lots of fruit and a little tea or coffee daily. Of course you should sub water for soda, but I think some people really drink 8 glasses over their other beverages…I would explode!

      Thanks for taking a break from your day to read!

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