Intuitive eating is hard.

Intuitive eating is hard.
Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking otherwise. But it’s worth it.
I promise.

 But back to the “hard” part…

You hear the word “intuitive” and well, it sure makes it sound like it would just come naturally. To simply eat when hungry. And to not eat when not hungry.

But then things like cravings, PMS-induced or run-induced hungry horrors attack, and plain old temptations arise.

Now what? You might not be hungry, but intuitively, you want to eat, because well – eating is enjoyable. Let’s be honest about that.

But eating “just to eat” versus eating to satisfy a hunger pang are two very different things. Hence why I say intuitive eating is hard. It’s definitely much more of a learned behavior than you’d assume. At least it is for me. But I’m being real here – as I always am – when I say that intuitive eating may not be all that intuitive to begin with, but it’s so worth it once you figure out what works for you, how to “learn” to eat more intuitively …as oxymoronic as that sounds.

I was smacked with a healthy dose of intuitive eating reality just last weekend and was amazed at what I saw unfold before me. Learned behaviors *do* work. Go figure!

Picture this:
…Spent the day ziplining with friends on Sunday. Planned ahead by eating a good breakfast, and brought yummy, fueling snacks for the car ride home in anticipation of homemade pizza for dinner while watching the Patriots game with friends.
…Arrive home from ziplining. Tired. Exhilarated from the experience of ziplining. And starving. There were snacks sitting out (natch, I am the hostess with the mostest, afterall!) and we cracked open a few bottles of wine that my sister so lovingly brought back from wine country for us.
…And honestly? It took all of my self-control to stick to the plan: two glasses of wine, two pieces of pizza. A piece or two of cheese from the cheese plate. Golden.

But in reality? In those moments – it took all of my self-control to *not* revert back to old eating patterns.  Of mindlessly snacking. Merely because the cheese plate was sitting in front of me. Of going for a third slice of pizza, simply because it looked so good (and not gonna lie, the Sutera’s? We make a mean homemade pizza).

But instead of reverting back to old eating patterns though, my sis and I stuck to our guns. We sat at the table chatting with eachother waiting until our dinner had settled. To gauge if what we were feeling was true hunger or mindless hunger. About 15 minutes later, we both sat back and realized that we were indeed full. Two pieces of pizza and two delicious glasses of wine later. And we were satisfied. Completely and totally. In fact, had we gone for that third slice? We both admitted we would have been uncomfortably full. A feeling neither of us ever wants to feel again – after far too many indulgent girls nights, date nights, holiday parties, etc., where food took center stage, instead of the experience of the evening or event itself.

So why am I telling you all of this? No, not to gloat over the fact that I have excellent self-control (I’m not perfect, trust me). But to show you that intuitive eating, while hard work, it’s worth it – and it’s indeed an ongoing project. And over time? All of that hard work pays off – intuitively eating slowly trains your body  (and mind, perhaps even more importantly) to appreciate the food you fuel it with, and to be satisfied with the calories it needs to sustain itself.

Intuitive eating, at least for me, is a learned behavior; but one that is becoming more and more intuitive (duh) than ever before.
And it’s worth it.

…but, of course this is just my take, I’d love to hear what you have to say about the whole intuitive eating thing. I expect there may be a bit of debate on this one. Just a hunch. 😉

And don’t you worry – there *will* be more pizza to be had in the Sutera household, and in fact – it’s on the menu for our pre-13.1 carb loading on Saturday night. It seemed to serve us pretty well during the last race, so why fix what so clearly is not broken, right? 😉