preemptive intuitive eating

March 7, 2011

I’m a “follow a schedule” kind of person.

I like waking up at the same time, exercising at the same time, eating at the same time — well, you get the picture. I thrive off of routine and structure, and in the same respect, I am not one who does will in unpredictable situations.

It’s a good thing I became a teacher. Unless you’re the Husband — then you would have to constantly remind your wife how life can’t always be run like a classroom.

A girl can dream right?

Around the blogosphere, a lot of people talk about intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is basically a philosophy designed around listening to your own hunger cues and satisfying them in the moment. While I can agree that I do listen to my hunger cues and will eat if I am in fact hungry, I am here to tell you that I ::gasp:: often eat when I am not hungry.

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Let me start off by telling you how much of a horribly cranky and not fun person I become when I am hungry. You don’t want to be around me. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you this before. But – seriously. not. joking.

With the amount of food restrictions I have, along with being a vegetarian, it is actually kind of an anxiety producing situation when I have to go somewhere and don’t know when/what I will be eating next. Yes, I can take snacks with me, but I’m a “eat 6 times a day” kind of girl who doesn’t like to miss a meal. Not to mention I have horrible digestion, so going too long without eating actually causes more harm than good in my shoes.

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So, I follow a “preemptive intuitive eating” philosophy. I like to think of it as the following:

1. I eat when I am in fact hungry and stop when I am full.

2. I eat on a schedule to prevent me from getting too hungry and causing digestion issues.

3. I will eat when I am not hungry if I am going somewhere and will not have food readily available.

I think I have trained my body to become hungry around the time when I actually eat my meals and snacks because I usually get a small twinge of hunger just around the time I sit down to eat. It makes me happy. I eat at the following times on weekdays:

5:45 AM — breakfast

9:30 AM — snack

11:30 — lunch

3:00 — snack

6:00 — dinner

8:30 — snack

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I’ve played around with this schedule so much and I know not to miss a meal/snack. For example — if I don’t eat my 3:00 snack, I know I will want to gnaw my arm off by the time I sit down for dinner. Then, I will end up overeating and feel sick to my stomach. Or — if I don’t eat my snack at night (even if I’m not hungry at the time) I will wake up in the middle of the night hungry because I haven’t had enough calories that day.

I rarely ‘overeat’ — one of the worst feelings in my book is being so uncomfortably stuffed that I cannot move. That is one of the reasons why I eat so frequently.

October 24, 2010 018

Of course this schedule isn’t always followed to a T. Weekends are looser and sometimes life just gets in the way. But I don’t think I will ever be a 100% intuitive eater. Because I eat smaller meals more frequently, I tend to overestimate how many calories I actually get a day (especially being a vegetarian as well). By following a schedule, it helps me to fulfill the caloric needs my body requires to function at optimal levels.

Obviously I am not a professional, and from reading this I am sure you can see that I have become in tune to my body to see what works for me. What works for me may not work for you, and that’s okay.

Question: Are you an intuitive eater?

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