I’m a big fan of structure in all manner of things and so am adding a bit to my blogging efforts. Friday will now officially be “Ask Lisa” (that’s me obviously..) Day. I get lots of questions via email and on the Intuitive Body Sanctuary membership club, and thought it might be good to share them with you. Please feel free to ask questions, you can submit them via the Comments section of this blog, or email me. (**Shameless little plug– if you join the Sanctuary you can ask me questions whenever you want, every day, and get on the spot coaching- very handy).
This week, Shannon a college student asked me:
“Which do you recommend, following a food plan or trying to go with natural eating?”
This question comes up a lot in my practice. In case you aren’t sure what the difference is, a food plan provides recommendations for a more structured way of eating, types of foods and amounts. Or it could even be something like trying to eat every 3 hours.Natural eating encourages one to follow individual desires and appetite to determine what to eat and when.
Because the whole issue of eating is so often laden with fears of losing control and so much anxiety, choosing a way of eating can be helpful. First of all it helps you think about which way of eating will feel “safer” for you.
Some people like the feeling of more structure and being told what to eat, they like not having to think about it so much and prefer that somebody else make those decisions for them. Others feel just the opposite- food plans may remind them of all the diets they’ve tried that only made them spin out more with their eating, and they want no part of any kind of plan. Natural eating encourages people to begin to make peace with food and stop seeing things as “good” or “bad” and instead take more of an intuitive approach to making peace with eating.
Neither approach is intrinsically better than the other– it’s more about what you can live with and what you truly need to feel balanced and at peace around your eating. If committing to a food plan immediately makes you want to start binge-eating out of fear or rebellion or something else, don’t do it. It just may be too big a step for you right now.
If natural eating feels like too much choice and overwhelms or overstimulates you into overeating, don’t go there.
Generally I believe that something in the middle is the best place to start and you can fine-tune it as you go. I believe that eating whole foods and a mostly plant-based diet is the healthiest and most satisfying way to eat for absolutely anyone. There are no tricks- it’s a way to eat that will sustain you on every level for the longhaul. I also very much believe that eating every 3 or 4 hours is best, and possibly more often if you are somebody who bounces between binge-eating and dieting or restricting your intake. Eating more frequently initially will soothe your fears of deprivation or hunger.
With all of that said- whatever is going on with your eating is a reflection of how much balance you do or don’t have in your life. Overeating or binge-eating or restricting all indicate areas of your life where you are struggling and not getting important emotional needs met.
Hope this helps and remember each Friday I will be answering whatever questions you feel like asking. I won’t publish your name if you aren’t comfortable with that, ok?
Love and blessings–