Last Day to Sign Up for April Intuitive Eating Challenge

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to say that today will be the last day to sign up for the April Intuitive Eating Challenge. We’ve gotten a good group of people so I am going to close the sign up a bit early… if you’re on the fence and still want to sign up, just let me know by the end of the day.

Thanks!

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April 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge

Good morning!

As many of you know, I’ve been running Intuitive Eating challenges for the last couple of months. Each time, I keep refining the program to be better, based on how the women work through the program and what I feel needs to be changed.

Today I am happy to say we will be doing the Challenge again in April, starting April 1st. Below are the updated details:

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The point of the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge is to make steps toward becoming more Intuitive Eaters. This means:

– breaking the Diet Mentality

– taking a hard look at Emotional Eating and reducing the amount of times we eat for emotional reasons.

– listening to our own bodies instead of outside rules telling us what and when we should eat

– eating what we want when we are hungry and learning how to be truly satisfied with our food choices

– respecting when our bodies are full and satisfied and reducing the amount of times we overeat

The Challenge is for you if: 

– you feel like you constantly need to control your diet and exercise

– you deprive yourself and then overeat/binge

– you often times eat for reasons other than pure hunger

– you know what you “should” eat to lose weight, but aren’t able to

– you feel guilty when eating unhealthy food

– you have a constant chatter in your head telling you what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat and you just want it to stop

Here is what the challenge entails: 

– Three 15 minute one-on-one coaching calls with me. One will be before the challenge starts. During this call, we will hone in on your personal, specific struggles with emotional eating, overeating, controlling your diet, and intuitive eating and figure out how you should personally approach the challenge to get the most out of it. The second 15 minute call will be a checkpoint in the middle to touch base on how the program is going for you and any questions that you have. The last call is at the end. This will give us a chance to debrief and recap how the challenge went for you, discuss any questions you have, and talk about how you can work on being more Intuitive in your life going forward.

– Daily newsletters from me that arrive in your inbox every single morning at 6am. Each newsletter outlines a different topic and lesson pertaining to Intuitive Eating and challenges you to try to incorporate the lesson into your life from that day going forward. The newsletters have a flow to them – they strategically guide you so that the lessons can build on one another.

– Personal one-on-one coaching with me through email. I respond within 24 hours and coach you through your own personal struggles, questions, and successes. Some people like to email me daily to check in, others email me with road bumps or situations that are specific to their own lives and schedules.

– Access to the private Intuitive Eating Challenge Facebook Group. This has been really active with each group- people have posted pictures of their food, how they are taking the lessons each day and incorporating them into their day-to-day, “ah ha” moments that they have, and questions for the group.  As Clare says “This group is AMAZING. Just knowing you have a place to quickly share ANY thought, fear, success, question and be greeted with helpful answers and calming words is incredible. I want to stay in it forever.” Note: It is not mandatory to be part of this group if you want to remain private.

The cost of the Challenge for the month of April is $49.

I will be closing the sign up on Friday, March 22nd (if not earlier, if we fill up) so that we can schedule the initial private one-on-one coaching calls for the last week of March.

To see what people are saying about the challenge, head over to the main Intuitive Eating Challenge page and scroll down. 

Please email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com with  “April IE Challenge” in the subject line if you’d like to join the challenge. From there, we will get you signed up.

The Week I Talked To 35 Women About Their “Food Issues”

After running the February Intuitive Eating Challenge, I strongly felt that the next time I did the challenge, I should add an initial and final one-on-one coaching call for me to connect with each of the women, personally. I wanted to understand them better, and I wanted them to feel a connection to me as I guided them through a three week journey that was going to drastically challenge their “dieting” beliefs. Most importantly, I wanted to give them the opportunity to just talk.

So, as part of the March Intuitive Eating Challenge, I added in two 15 minute one-on-one coaching calls for each of the participants.

And last week, before the March challenge started, I held all of the initial calls. I sat in my little studio apartment and spent my time talking to 35 women about their relationship to food, their bodies, and themselves.

The week that I talked to 35 women about their food issues was one of the most meaningful, touching and eye opening weeks I have had in a long time.

Each of these women has her own story, her own history and her own struggle with her body and her weight.

These struggles run deep, and these talks were emotional. Some of these women even cried to me within minutes of our first words.

These women are from all over the United States, are of all ages and backgrounds, and have totally different lifestyles and jobs.

Some are college graduates, and some are moms of four kids. Some are marathon runners and some struggle to get off the couch. Some are trying to lose weight, some are trying to maintain, and some are trying to gain weight.

Some have been dieting for 3 years and some have been dieting for 30 years.

But despite their differences, I was so deeply moved by how much these women all have in common in regards to their “food issues”.

When it comes to the relationship that these women have to food and their bodies,  there are such obvious themes that connect all of them, and that I believe connect so many of us, as women. 

These women are exhausted. By the voices in their heads that beat them up for eating what they shouldn’t be eating. By all of the questioning. By the constant cycles of dieting and bingeing. By the weight gains and weight losses that they keep experiencing.

They are exhausted from trying to control everything.

Each of these women has a hard time with self trust, self love or self care in some form of another. I know that, as women, we can all relate to this. We question ourselves constantly. We judge ourselves and compare ourselves to other people. We aren’t sure if what we really want to eat, do, say, is “right” or if it’s enough.

They feel like they need permission to do what they actually want with their diet.

They all struggle with:

Lack of trust.

Need for Control.

Self- Doubt and Self Criticism.

Restriction, rules, judgement.

Emotional Eating.

So you know what happens when 35 women come together and try to give up all of the dieting mumbo jumbo, repair their relationship to food, and work together on getting back to themselves, their cravings, and what they actually want?

Watch. Out.

The support among them has seriously blown me away. We have this Facebook Group and it’s a non stop outpouring of support for one another.

One woman posts a success, or an “ah-ha” moment, and everyone celebrates.

One women posts a struggle, and she is clearly beating herself up. Others are there for her within minutes. Telling her that they just had a similar experience the night before.

It has become clear that there are so many other qualities that these women have in common:

These women are incredibly loving.

They support the hell out of each other.

They are open to something new.

They are aware.

They are willing.

They are strong.

They want to learn about themselves again and learn to trust themselves. They want permission to give up the “shoulds” and just be themselves. They want to see what this feels like. They want to feel free.

The week I talked to 35 women about their “food issues” was beautiful, meaningful and so profound.

I realized the strings of connection that tie us, as women, together. The themes, struggles, and desires that are prevalent in so many of our lives.

And most importantly, I realized the power that we have when we support each other. It blows my mind.

Final Day Reflections on The Feb 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge and GiveAway Winner

I want to cry! The Feb Challenge is over.

You guys may know by now that I am the sappiest person alive, so of course I am getting emotional as I just typed up my last daily email to the Feb Challengers.

The 21 Day Feb Intuitive Eating Challenge has been my baby since one sleepless night in January when the idea hit me at 2am like a load of bricks. I wanted to start to express to you guys and to my clients what I really honestly believe is the way to approach our eating, weight and body issues. I don’t believe in diets, but I do believe in US, in listening to ourselves. And I decided to take a chance and just start talking about Intuitive Eating.

And the Feb group took a chance and gave it a shot.

I am so inspired by the Feb group. They have shared so much with me about their own issues, have supported each other, have celebrated their successes, have pushed themselves way outside of their comfort zones, and have opened themselves up to a whole new way of thinking.

They have struggled, they’ve questioned things, they’ve taken steps backward, they’ve gotten tripped up. And so have I. All the time.

But it felt like a real community. I knew that when I had a hard time with something, I could share it with them. And when I was proud of something, they’d be open ears. And I think everyone felt that way.

Each email I sent meant something different to each person. Some concepts resonated big time with some people, and other concepts made an impact on other people. Everyone took something else away from it.

But I think at the end of the day, I realize that what people have said they took away from it was a new perspective, a release of control, guilt and judgement, a sense of awareness of themselves that they had been ignoring for a long time, a desire to feel really good in their own skin, and a trust in themselves that they know the right answers for what they need. (If you want to read  what some of them have said about the challenge, there are a bunch of quotes from them at the bottom of this page)


trust-yourself

(source)

And just like that… the 21 days are over. Thank you to my February group for inspiring me more than you know and allowing me to come into your lives for the past 21 days. You are all amazing, courageous and I am really proud of all of the accomplishments you’ve all seen in the last few weeks.

And for the March challengers… get ready!! 🙂 The sign up closes today at 6pm so if you’d like to still sign up, I can still take a couple more people today. Check out this page if you’re interested. 

Finally, the winner of the Chocolate Giveaway is:

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Joanne, I love that “self love” comment! I’ll email you to get your address and these chocolate bars will be on your way!

21 Day March Intuitive Eating Challenge

*Note, if you’d like to sign up for the next month’s challenge, head over to this page*

On February 1st, I started running the first 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge. 45 brave souls decided that they wanted to work on their relationship to food, their weight, and themselves. I think it’s safe to say that the challenge has been a learning and growing experience for all of us, and I’ve loved being able to support everyone each step of the way.

Starting March 1st, we’re doing it again…with a few tweaks.

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Here is more information about the challenge:

The point of the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge is to make steps toward becoming more Intuitive Eaters. This means:

– breaking the Diet Mentality

– listening to our own bodies instead of outside rules telling us what and when we should eat

– eating what we want when we are hungry

– respecting when our bodies are full and satisfied and reducing the amount of times we overeat

– eating mainly for the purpose of physical need and reducing the amount of times we eat for other reasons (emotional, etc.)

The Challenge is for you if: 

– you feel like you constantly need to control your diet and exercise

– you deprive yourself and then overeat/binge

– you often times eat for reasons other than pure hunger

– you know what you “should” eat to lose weight, but aren’t able to

– you feel guilty when eating unhealthy food

– you have a constant chatter in your head telling you what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat and you just want it to stop

Here is what the challenge entails: 

Two 15 minute one-on-one coaching calls with me. One will be before the challenge starts. During this call, we will hone in on your personal, specific struggles with emotional eating, overeating, controlling your diet, and intuitive eating and figure out how you should personally approach the challenge to get the most out of it. The second 15 minute call will be at the end. This will give us a chance to debrief and recap how the challenge went for you, discuss any questions you have, and talk about how you can work on being more Intuitive in your life going forward.

– Daily newsletters from me that arrive in your inbox every single morning at 6am. Each newsletter outlines a different topic and lesson pertaining to Intuitive Eating and challenges you to try to incorporate the lesson into your life from that day going forward. The newsletters have a flow to them – they strategically guide you so that the lessons build on one another.

– Personal one-on-one coaching with me through email. I respond within 24 hours and coach you through your own personal struggles, questions, and successes. Some people like to email me daily to check in, others email me with road bumps or situations that are specific to their own lives and schedules.

– Access to the private Intuitive Eating Challenge Facebook Group. This has been really active with the February group- people have posted pictures of their food, how they are taking the lessons each day and incorporating them into their day-to-day, “ah ha” moments that they have, and questions for the group. It is not mandatory to be part of this group if you want to remain private. 

The cost of the Challenge for the month of March is $49.

The challenge starts March 1st. If you’re interested and want to be on the list, please email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com

I can’t wait to have you be a part of it 🙂

2 Spots Left in the Intuitive Eating Challenge and Tofu-Veggie-Brown Rice Soup

I’ve gotten an overwhelming response to the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge and way more people have signed up already than I had anticipated. Because I want to be sure that I can give my full attention to the people involved, I’ve decided to cap the enrollment at 35 people. Currently, we are at 33 people so please sign up now if you’d like to snag one of the remaining two spots. Email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com… thanks! And thank you to everyone who has already signed up… I can’t wait for Feb 1st to roll around. It’s going to be a good time 🙂 [Edited to Add: these spots have now been filled… email me if you’d like to get on the list for next time (potentially March)!]

Today I have for you a simple, and I mean seriously simple, soup recipe for these frigid days. This takes 30 minutes, one pot and you can easily substitue ingredients. And it could not be any healthier.

It’s for one of those nights after a weekend of eating delicious meals out at restaurants, popping open multiple bottles of wine, and enjoying stacks of pancakes at long brunches. It’s for when you just want a night in, to eat something cleansing and purely good for you, and chill the heck out.

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All you have to do is grab a large pot, fill it with mostly water and a couple of cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth, then add in a full head of cauliflower broken into pieces (even use the greens!), a few chopped carrots, a diced sweet potato, a block of chopped tofu, and some spices. Bring it all to a boil, then let it simmer for about 25 minutes. I made brown rice on the side (but you can just make it in the soup itself if you want), and added loads of it into the soup. I like it hearty!

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This soup warms the soul. Mmm Hmmm 🙂

Tofu- Veggie- Brown Rice Soup

(makes about 6 servings)

  • 1 head cauliflower (I even used the cauliflower greens!)
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 block of soft tofu
  • 9 cups water
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • brown rice (if making it in the soup itself, I’d use about 1 cup of dry brown rice)
  • Play around with spices but I used about 2 t mild curry, 1 t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t crushed red pepper, 1 t turmeric

1. Add the water and broth to a large pot. Crank up the heat.

2. Dice up the cauliflower, carrots, sweet potato and block of tofu.

3. Add veggies and tofu to the pot.

4. Add spices, bring everything to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.

5. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until veggies are soft.

6. Add brown rice to your liking, depending on how hearty you want it. (if you want to make the brown rice in the soup, just add the dry brown rice at the beginning at the same time you add everything else).

This is so easy to change up depending on what ingredients you have. Just add whatever veggies you want, some chicken (a rotisserie chicken maybe? easy to pick up at the grocery store), beans, quinoa, etc. Go crazaay!

The 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge (Starts Feb 1)

Hi everyone!

I am really excited for this post. I’ve done a lot of thinking and have come up with all the details for the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge that I’m hosting starting Feb 1. I’ve casually posted about this a couple of other times, but here are all of the details.

The 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge

What it is: 

For 21 days, starting Feb 1, I am going to be focusing on fine tuning my own Intuitive Eating skills and invite anyone who would like to join me to do so as well. (Here are two posts I wrote last week about Intuitive Eating: Intro to Intuitive Eating and the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating.)

We will be focusing on the 10 Principles and in a nutshell, we will be freeing ourselves from the Diet Mentality, eating what we actually want and crave throughout the day, paying attention to our hunger- eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are full- and trying to make every single meal as satisfying, enjoyable and delicious as possible. We are going to let our bodies guide as, trusting that they know what we need.

What Joining the Challenge Means: 

It’s totally free, and is all done through email. I won’t really be posting on the blog about it;  instead, it will be lead through emails that I’ll send out each day for 21 days. You can remain completely anonymous throughout the challenge, meaning that nobody besides me needs to know that you’re in it.

What To Expect: 

  • A detailed email right before the challenge starts giving you more in-depth information about Intuitive Eating, my own experience with it, and how to get the most out of the 21 days. 
  • Emails from me in your inbox bright and early each morning with either a tip about incorporating IE into your life, an experiment for you to try that day/week, a story from my own journey or an experience one of my clients has had with it, a practical tactic for keeping up with the principles, a strategy, or some other nugget of good information.
  • Complete email support with me for those 21 days. I will get back to you within 24 hours. You can email me with daily wins and successes, questions, confusion, any “ah-ha” moments, or any struggles.
  • There will be opportunities to interact with the other people involved- sharing experiences, asking questions, and offering/receiving support. Again, you don’t need to be a part of this part if you want to remain private. 
  • We’ll have a hashtag (I’m thinking #IEChallenge) to post pictures, successes, things we are proud of, thoughts, or really anything to the same place. Sometimes it’s easier to feel motivated when involving others and social media outlets.
  • Depending on how things go, I may host a call halfway through to discuss our experiences and answer any questions that I can.

What I Hope You Get Out of the Challenge: 

I’m working with one of my clients on incorporating Intuitive Eating into her life. She called me today for our scheduled session and she said “Jamie, I am just so HAPPY. I am eating what I want, going out to dinner and ordering exactly what I want. And I feel more satisfied than I’ve felt in years. I am just so happy, and notice such a difference in my mood and spirit. I am just really really happy!” She couldn’t stop saying how “happy” she was. It was so cute and put such a big, goofy smile on my face.

This is what I hope for you. I hope that by doing this challenge you open yourself up to the possibility of ditching diets, nutrition “rules” that get thrown at us everyday, and learn to just trust yourself and your body. I hope that you drop into your intuition and out of your head. Into your body and out of you mind. I hope that you give yourself permission to eat foods that you thought you “shouldn’t” eat. I hope that you start to observe and understand and know your body better- what it likes, what it doesn’t, what makes it feel good, what doesn’t. I hope that during these 21 days you start to trust yourself again.

And if you’ve been practicing IE for awhile, and already feel that you are a pretty good Intuitive Eater, I hope that you use this challenge as a time to really focus on your hunger, cravings, and do some fine-tuning. That’s what I’ll be doing and can’t wait to have you on board as well.

How You Can Get Signed Up: 

Send me an email at jamiemendell@gmail.com with “IE Challenge” as the subject and I’ll add you to the list. Or, you can just leave a comment on this post and I’ll add you.

I’m seriously psyched about this challenge and can’t wait to have you be a part of it. Woohoo!

Intuition

Intuitive Eating: The 10 Basic Principles

Good morning everyone 🙂

Another Intuitive Eating post today. I have to say, I have been blown away and so touched by some of the emails you’ve sent me about Intuitive Eating and your interest in the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge. So many of you are tired of the diets, want a new approach and are open to this concept. I was already excited about the challenge, but now I just can’t wait to get it started.

I’ll be formally announcing the details of the challenge sometime next week, but you can continue to email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com with the subject line “IE Challenge” to get signed up.

Forging onward! I feel like the next step is to outline the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating (taken directly from the book, Intuitive Eating) and my interpretation of each one. This lays the groundwork for the concept as a whole and the challenge as well.

So here we go:

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

This one is huge. In order to let IE in, and use our body as our guide, we have to let the idea that “there is a diet out there for us” go. Diets provide us with an amazing sense of control which can be empowering at first, but ultimately defeating when we get fed up with following some plan or we “fail”. And by the way, it’s not our fault that we fail at diets. We fail because most diets go against what our bodies actually want, and that inherently feels wrong.

I’ll be honest: you will probably get annoyed or fed up with IE at some point and resort back to a diet for a few days. IE takes longer, you have to be patient. It’s about the journey, learning about yourself and what works for you and what doesn’t. There is no “plan” to follow. In the past 4 or 5 years, I have had moments of “this is way too hard, I just need a diet, a plan, someone else to tell me what to do”. And I’ve gone back to diets. But overtime, I learned that they just kept not working for me, and IE was always what I came back to. Now, diets aren’t even an option.

Principle 2: Honor Your Hunger

We should be eating when we’re hungry to keep our metabolisms going. Hunger is GOOD. I love being hungry, because then I eat! This principle is all about trying to level out the periods of restriction followed by overeating. Keeping yourself fueled throughout the day with foods you want and love is essential.

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Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

This one is fun but scary. Making peace with food means giving yourself permission to eat what you actually want and crave. You know those lists you have of “good food” and “bad food”. Say goodbye! 🙂 There is no such thing.

A common question I get about this one is… but if I eat whatever I want, then I’ll just eat junk all the time and I’ll blow up (or in the case of my Dad, he is convinced he would just eat hotdogs and cheeseburgers all day, everyday). To that I say… yes, you definitely may eat a lot of “junk” (higher fat, sugar, calorie) food at first, but over time you’ll learn that you body just wants to feel good, and feeling good will come from incorporating nutritious food into your diet too.

A friend told me a story recently about someone she knew who started following Intuitive Eating several years ago. She started eating 6 Dairy Queen Blizzards every single day, because that is what she had been depriving herself of for years. Eventually, she needed less and less ice cream, and her body finally said “Enough of this, I need real food”.

I went through this too, and I’ll be sharing some of my experiences with this during the 21 Day Challenge.

Principle 4: Challenge the Food Police

Release the guilt that you’ve associated with eating “bad food”. As the book mentions, the food police is ingrained deep into our psyche. This principle is about controlling your thoughts and not letting in those thoughts that say you are making a bad choice. Just let it be. You are experimenting, you are learning, and you’re listening to you.

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Principle 5: Feel Your Fullness

Another huge one! This is about learning what it feels like to feel full and stopping when you’re full. I know this is a tough one for all of us, because… sometimes we just want to keep eating! The food is so good. I’ll also be addressing this in the 21 Day Challenge.

Principle 6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

This is one of my favorite principles. As I just wrote in an email to someone today “you deserve to enjoy every single thing you eat”. The motto that the IE book has is:

“If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it”

We don’t need to be eating things we don’t like. As you’ve probably seen, I eat a lot of vegetables but I make them in a way that I love. I used to eat them in a really boring and unsatisfying way, but what’s the fun in that? I also eat a lot of chocolate, carbs, fats, and my fair share of ice cream and wine. This is a key principle. Pleasure and enjoyment are crucial! 🙂


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Principle 7: Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food

Okay, so, this one is a doozy. It really is. If there is one principle that I think is the hardest, it’s this one. Honestly, I wish the book spent more time going through this, because I think this was a missing piece for me for a while after I started trying to incorporate IE into my life. It wasn’t until I focused here (which took me a long time), that everything kind of came together for me.

This is tough… so many of us eat because we are bored, or we are distracting ourselves from a long day of work, or we are stressed out or overwhelmed. Or we are at a dinner and the conversation is boring so we just keep finishing our plate even though we are no longer hungry.

It’s essential to develop strategies and tools to deal with this outside of food. I’m going to go over some things that worked for me in the 21 Day Challenge, but I would just say that this is a part of Intuitive Eating not to discount. From my experience, I’ve found it to be really important to focus on developing these coping skills.

Principle 8: Respect Your Body

Phew. This is another big one, and one I have a lot to say about. But here is the gist: this principle is all about self care. It doesn’t matter how overweight you are, how badly you’ve treated your body in the past, or how far away you think you are from your goals, you deserve to treat your body with respect NOW.

This means feeding it with delicious food, dressing in clothes you love and that are comfortable, moving your body in a way that feels energizing, looking in the mirror and only allowing yourself to tell yourself positive things (even if you aren’t where you want to be yet), and stopping comparing yourself to other people.

The book mentions:

“Body image expert and psychologist Judith Rodin notes in her book Body Traps, “You don’t need to lose weight first in order to take care of yourself. In fact, the process actually happens quite in the reverse!””


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Principle 9: Exercise- Feel the Difference

Move your body in a way that you love. Walk if you like it better than running. Dance, do yoga, and if you don’t want to go to the gym, just put on some tunes and dance around your apartment. Just move in a way that feels good.

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Principle 10: Honor Your Health– Gentle Nutrition

This one is important to go over because I think a common misconception about Intuitive Eating (from my experience in talking about it with people) is that you ignore all nutrition guidelines. It’s really not the case. In fact, to me, IE is all about doing what feels best for me. And what’s best is often times really nutritious food. However, it took me a long time to get here. I had to go through letting go of the “bad food” judgement first and letting myself eat exactly what I wanted and when I wanted it. Overtime, things level out and our bodies just naturally want a mix of high nutrition food and food that may be lower in nutritional value but that we just enjoy. The leveling out does take time and from my experience, it’s important to go through the process to get there.

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And that’s that. There is SO much more in the book about each principle and the authors do a great job of incorporating real life scenarios throughout the book. I could also say so much more about each principle and how it has played into my own experience with Intuitive Eating. In the next week or two, you will hear from a couple of my friends and people I’ve worked with who either practice the IE concept or have given it a shot, and then in the challenge, you’ll hear several tips and pieces of advice that I have for practically incorporating IE into your life.

Have an awesome day and if you get nothing else from this post, I hope you at least give yourself permission to eat something today that you absolutely love 🙂

Intuitive Eating: What Does This Mean, Anyway?

In the summer of 2007, I picked up a book that completely transformed the relationship I have with myself:

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A deep statement, huh? Well, there are few things that I can speak incredibly passionately about, and this book is one of them.

So I’ll tell you why.

When I first picked up this book, I was searching for answers. I was in the middle of a grueling internship where I was working around the clock, and my eating habits were all over the place. Stuck in the office at 3 or 4am, we would snack on anything that wasn’t nailed down just to keep us awake. I was so exhausted that I’d reach for sugar constantly. I needed more control, so I ventured into the book store to figure out some sort of diet plan.

This book popped out at me, and as I began to read about it, I just knew deep down that this book was my answer. Not temporarily, but for good.

The concept of Intuitive Eating (IE) first talks about completely scrapping the diet mentality. Who knows what is “best for us” anyway? One day you read something that says to eat a lot of protein, and then you read other books and research that says that animal protein causes cancer. Some research shows that dairy is an essential part of our diet and that it helps with bone strength and digestion, but other studies show that we should stay away from dairy as it causes breakouts and inflammation. So what the heck are we supposed to eat? Why are we trying to follow so many “rules” and guidelines from what we read?

In most cases, diets simply don’t work. It is widely quoted that 95% of people who diet end up failing, and so many of the people who temporarily lose weight just end up gaining it back and more.

Instead of dieting, Intuitive Eating proposes that we get in touch with our own bodies. Our bodies are insanely brilliant systems that know how to operate optimally. When we listen to what we actually crave, honor our hunger, and stop when we are full, this is when our bodies can thrive. And this is when natural weight loss occurs. Think about little kids– kids are intuitive eaters by nature. Before they learn all of the “shoulds” (what they should eat, when they should eat, etc.), they run around eating when they want, stopping when they are full, and maintaining healthy figures.

“Intuitive Eating provides a new way of eating that is ultimately struggle-free and healthy for your mind and body. It is a process that releases the shackles of dieting (which can only lead to deprivation, rebellion, and rebound weight gain). It means getting back to your roots- trusting your body and its signals. Intuitive Eating will not only change your relationship with food, it may change your life” – from the book, Intuitive Eating

At first, the concept of eating whatever I wanted seemed so scary to me. I thought for sure that I’d just eat bagels and ice cream all day. And to be honest, that is all I wanted for a while. I had deprived myself in my mind of so many things, that these are the foods I wanted to eat when I let myself. But over time, the need for all of the carbs and sugar went away because my body knew that it could have it at any time. There were no more rules.

Over the past few years, I have worked hard at this concept of adopting the Intuitive Eating principles. Intuitive Eating means trusting yourself, and trusting that your body will guide you in the perfect direction, knowing what is good for you personally.

Some things that I’ve personally learned about my own body through this process:

  • I’m a carb girl. I need them, I love them, and when I don’t have them, things get ugly.
  • I need a lot of fat in my diet – at every single meal.
  • I don’t always love eating breakfast right when I wake up. Also, on most days, I like eating lighter during the day and more in the evening. This goes against some standard nutrition advice, but it works well for my body.
  • I like some animal protein. Although I’ve tried veganism and vegetarianism at different times, it doesn’t work for me. My body craves some meat, on most days, but definitely not at every meal.
  • When I crave a lot of sugar, it almost always means I’m overwhelmed. I do other things now to take care of myself.

I could go on and on. It’s been a process, but this is what I truly believe is the answer for our issues with weight and diet frustrations. It’s about forgetting the information that is coming to us from the outside, and instead, looking inside. We have all of the answers we need, we just need to listen.

When I started getting really good at Intuitive Eating and listening to my body, the extra college weight just started falling off. I exercised intuitively too, in a way that felt good. I just keep eating in a way that felt good and exercising like that too, and everything just flowed. All of a sudden, weight loss was easy. I never feel deprived. I eat what I want, I (usually) stop when I’m full, I give in to all of my cravings, and I trust that those cravings are also in line with what is best for my health.

I’m going to be talking a lot about Intuitive Eating in the next couple of weeks. It has transformed my relationship to food, my body and my health completely, and not to get too deep on you, but it led to me trusting myself in every single area of my life and has brought about some amazing changes for me in those areas. People who teach Intuitive Eating say that IE is a gateway to Intuitive Living. I completely believe it. It’s all about looking within and trusting our intuition. Nobody knows us as well as we do.

I’m also going to be hosting a 21 Day Intuitive Eating challenge starting February 1st. During this challenge, I am going to focus on fine tuning the principles of Intuitive Eating in my own life for those 21 days, and I invite anyone else to participate with me. We will focus on thinking about what we crave throughout the day, eating what we want when we are actually hungry, stopping when we are full, and letting our bodies guide us. Throughout the challenge, I’ll send daily emails with practical tips about how to incorporate the IE principles into your lives, and I’ll provide 21 days of email support to help you through it. To sign up now, email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com with the subject line “IE Challenge” and I’ll get you on the list.

As my friends and family know, I have been talking about Intuitive Eating for years and feel so strongly about it. I could literally talk your ear off about it if I was given the chance. I hope you like these posts and get something from all of the talkin’. I have so much more information for you to come in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned.

I’m curious– have you heard of this concept before? Is it something you practice in your own life? What specific questions, if any, do you have about it that I can help answer over the next couple of weeks?