Intuitive Eating

After years of following a strict nutrition regimen, I grew tired of feeling guilty after I ate anything that was “off plan”.  I work too damn hard to not enjoy a guilt-free occasional glass (or three) of wine and some dessert! And, given my daily activity level and generally healthy food choices, I shouldn’t restrict my calories but instead learn to listen to what my body needs.  In early 2018, I declared an end to my battle with food restriction and reached out to an acquaintance, Jenny Dempsey, of Dempsey Wellness who recommended the book Intuitive Eating.  It was exactly what I needed.

Like a mad woman, I searched for all the related content I could find on Intuitive Eating.  I stumbled upon Heather Caplan’s Intuitive Eating podcast series, which consists of 11 episodes that are well worth your time!  Heather is a runner, coach, and RD who overcame orthorexia by incorporating the principles of intuitive eating. In her podcast series, she and a guest dissect each of the 10 principles of intuitive eating.  They discuss why it is more than just eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. And it’s not a linear process. You’re not perfect and you need to be patient with yourself as you move toward full-fledged intuitive eating.  Heather offers coaching services and perhaps most interesting, she has a 4-week online course, called Fit Fueling: Mindful Eating for Active Women.  I haven’t yet enrolled, but it sure is tempting!

Heather was recently the featured guest on one of my favorite podcasts, Strength Running.  Here, she talks with Jason Fitzgerald on everything running and nutrition related.  Jason asked about fasting, injury prevention, and eating meat. Heather pointed out that eating enough to rebuild and repair muscles is so key in injury prevention.  All things we know, but forget when we get hyper-focused on calories and overlook “eating enough”. A varied nutrient dense diet is the best type of diet for injury prevention.  This is also consistent with what Matt Fitzgerald says in The Endurance Diet.

My biggest takeaway from the podcast though was at the end when Jason and Heather talk about the incompatibility between weight loss and running goals.  In my mind, it has always been as much about weight loss as it has been performance. I have learned the hard way that you end up with mediocre results when you focus on weight loss while training for a big race.  For years, I beat myself up for not being a certain weight and this contributed to a downward spiral of negativity and self-doubt. This isn’t exactly how you want to go into a big marathon and it’s led to some disappointing results.  Now I’m working on eating enough and fueling my body for the performance results I want. I’m also trying to reprogram my brain to say “wow she looks so strong” every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. More to come on that and my adventures in intuitive eating in a future post!

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