No, there isn’t.
Intuitive eating looks different for different people.
For some, it’s a complete lack of structure and involves choosing foods that are in absolute alignment with their bodies at all time, and according to the timing in which their bodies are hungry.
These women usually have a lot of flexibility in their lives and may not do well with structure.
For others, it involves being mindful of adequate macronutrient balance (protein, carbs, fats) in order to support their robust physical activity (i.e. crossfit, endurance running, etc)., lest their bodies pay the price and suffer.
These women may lack flexibility in their day-to-day and do better with some structure and routine.
Across the board, there is a lot of wiggle room for tailoring and adjusting according to preferences, lifestyle, priorities, and emotional sensibilities.
As I discussed in a recent Instagram post, it’s easy to allow intuitive eating to become another source of shame, self-doubt, and discouragement.
To fall into the trap of constantly looking to someone else and asking, “Am I doing this correctly?”
I did the same thing!
When I first began my foray into making my own decisions around food and my body, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I actually thought there was a “right” way to make decisions for myself.
Sounds counterintuitive, and it is, but it illustrates how much we’ve been taught to believe that others know best for us.
That we have to rely on the thoughts, opinions, and ideas of others at all times. [This is especially true for women!]
The opposite end of the spectrum isn’t ideal either—where we believe we don’t have anything to learn and can’t benefit from the experiences, perceptions, or knowledge of others.
However, for the purposes of this post, we’ll discuss the questions that YOU hold the answers to.
The biggest question to ask yourself is, “How does this feel (or how will it make me feel): physically, emotionally, energetically?”
Your answers to this question will often be layered and nuanced, as you’ll often get a mix of “yes” and “no” to each of these.
For example, you may be presented with the option of eating birthday cake at a party.
You ask yourself the question above, and you arrive at the following answers:
Physically: eating a whole slice will make me feel like garbage, but having a few bites won’t. “NO”, unless we focus on portions.
Energetically: This is such a fun and joyous occasion, and I want to participate in all of it, so not enjoying the cake would bum me out. “YES”
Emotionally: I’m consciously aware of my emotional state and wouldn’t be eating this food to numb, escape, or distract myself. “YES”
As you can see, we have a mixed bag of answers. Energetically and emotionally, eating the cake is a “yes”. Physically, we can make it a “yes” depending on the portion size.
The options to respond include:
Eat the whole thing if we decide that we’re willing to accept the physical consequences.
Decide to eat only a few bites to mitigate physical discomfort while still participating.
Eat a few bites and realize that it’s so damn good that it’s worth polishing off the whole thing.
Not eat any of it and forgo the opportunity to enjoy something that will benefit us emotionally and energetically.
There is no right answer here! YOU get to decide which option suits you best based on your priorities (physical, emotional, energetic), both short-term and long-term.
This, my friend, is the beauty of intuitive eating.
You take the power back and get to choose how to interact with food and your body, and the goal is to do so in a way that it supports you physically, energetically, and emotionally the majority of the time.
How this looks for you may not look the same as it does for others. That’s fine!
Learn to TRUST that you know what’s best for you and stop looking to others for the answers. You know so much more than you think you do.
Now, before you can provide somewhat accurate answers to the assessment above, you need to have done the work on getting connected to yourself physically, emotionally, and energetically, right?
After years of outsourcing our intuition to others and losing the connection to our minds, bodies, and higher selves, most of us can’t simply flip a switch.
We need to put in the work to re-establish these connections and build our foundations.
I created my FREE video training series—7 Steps to Food Freedom—for this very reason!
Without building our foundation and truly deepening our connections with ourselves—physically, energetically, emotionally—the process of intuitive eating will seem elusive, confusing, and disheartening.
In this training, we cover:
How to develop more mindfulness & why it’s important (my preferred method is meditation)
How to reconnect with your physical body
Why it’s important to question your motivations in the moment (physical vs. emotional) & how to do so
Addressing the root cause of emotional drivers
Why it’s essential to question your food rules you’re still carrying with you, even and especially those you’re not aware of.
Reframing your relationship with movement & exercise and how to develop an intuitive relationship.
Why it’s paramount that you fill your life up with things other than the pursuit of better health, a different body, and food!