Intuitive Eating…..Soul Sucking vs. Soul Nourishing

At Christmas it was so nice to go through holiday baking, parties, more eating out, & less exercise without the stress & guilt that trying to control my weight used to bring.  It was so much fun to eat what I most wanted without ever feeling too full and enjoy all the fun of the holidays without thoughts of how I’d make up for it later.  So I was surprised when January came & old feelings started to creep back in.  Going through weeks where I exercise less & eat out more are fun but don’t always leave me feeling my best. I wanted to feel better & include more foods that nourish my body & find more time for exercise, but for me anytime I started to think that way, it usually just meant I wanted to lose weight.

I kept second guessing all healthy choices, and wanted to make sure I was honoring cravings but it was sometimes hard to tell the difference between an actual craving & something that I just wanted to eat because I could.  If I allow what I want in the moment to guide me, there are always things without much nutritional value that taste amazing. Yes, there are only so many low nutrient foods I can eat before I start to crave something more nutritionally dense, but that doesn’t last long & soon the low nutrient foods look good again. I kept waiting for a clear signal from my body but there always seemed to be 2 voices, my inner child that always wanted chips & dessert, & my inner adult that didn’t know if that was the best habit.

I struggled to figure out where gentle nutrition fit in & at what point does it become just another diet if I’m using that to guide me, but with nothing guiding me, what I want in the moment doesn’t always lead to my best life.

Craving warm brownies & ice cream & making them for dessert that night, baking cookies with my daughter & eating the dough, homemade ice cream while my family watches a movie on the patio in the summer are all things that nourish my soul & make my life happier. Other choices can be a little soul sucking though & leave me feeling worse. Eating candy because I’m sick of working & want a break, grazing on cookies after dinner out when I’m not even hungry, or having dessert after a meal not because I’m particulary craving it, but because I’m not ready for the meal to be over. All these choices are totally fine, but making a habit out of doing things that only make me happy in the moment & leave me feeling worse in the long run isn’t the best way to live.

When I look at my choices though a soul sucking vs. soul nourishing lens, a lot of choices become more clear:

Soul Nourishing: Sleeping in & skipping the workout because I was up late the night before

Soul Sucking: Staying up too late every night & never having energy to work out in the morning

Soul Nourishing: Going out a couple of nights in a week to celebrate a birthday & eating what I most want without any stress, guilt, or regrets.

Soul Sucking: Making too many plans in a week & overindulging because we’re eating out, not because it’s something I actually want.

Soul Nourishing: Taking a week night off from responsibilities & meeting friends for happy hour.

Soul Sucking: Going to happy hour every night I can find anyone to go with & always feeling behind & stressed out.

Choosing happy helps me make choices that create a much better life.  I’m not always perfect at making the right choice, but using happiness as a guide at least helps lead me in the right direction.

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