Sometimes i think i give off the image that i have a “perfect, balanced diet and intake”….. Or maybe i don’t. But i think i can give off the image that i always eat vegetables, always have balanced meals and always listen to my body… which isn’t always the case.
I mean, if listening to your body was easy, then everyone would do it. But it is not always easy to listen to your body or interpret your signals.
Sometimes tiredness can be interpreted as hungry so you eat something instead of actually going to sleep. Sometimes (or quite often) i can eat just out of boredom. Sometimes i drink coffee instead of eating (or sleeping) (but then realise it is food or sleep i needed, not caffeine). Sometimes i eat more food than my body may call for, just because it is delicious. When i am stressed or anxious or nervous i can feel too sick to eat or lose my appetite and not eat because i don’t feel hungry, and sometimes the stress can lead to stress eating. I follow my cravings and try to listen to my body and eat regular meals but listening to (my) your body and interpreting the signals isn’t always easy. It is not just the body and hormones that send physical signs, but the mind also plays a role in hunger and what you eat.
The truth is i don’t always have a perfectly balanced diet, i am just like anyone else and can have days i overeat or days where i undereat. I can have days where i eat lots of processed food with little to no vegetables all day.
Of course, in a way you could see that the ability to overeat and not feel guilty or compensate is a sign of health and balance. But also the ability to eat less than usual when i am not hungry and not feel like i “Have to eat”, like i once did in the past when recovering from my eating disorder.
I am writing this post just to be honest. Listening to your body sometimes means you overeat or undereat. Sometimes you think you are listening to your body but you aren’t actually because there are different thoughts that are interfering with the physical signs/how you eat.
Some people can’t listen to their body, especially if hormones and hunger signals aren’t working as they should. Whether it is because you never feel hungry or you never feel full. Or maybe you have a far too negative relationship with food so you don’t trust your body or can’t judge right portion sizes. Or maybe you are going through very stressful times or feel very anxious or worried which affects your hunger signals. Or maybe you need to gain or lose weight which means you need to eat more/less than your body signals for. Or maybe you are taking medication that affects your hunger levels.
In all those cases, then maybe following a meal plan or more strict form of eating (i.e eating at certain times and having certain meals planed and measured) can be helpful, instead of just eating whenever and how much you want.
The one thing i have realised throughout my years is that regular meals with focus on “whole foods” is what makes me feel best – physically and mentally. Food and eating impacts so much more than just giving you a satiated feeling. It impacts your thoughts, your energy, how you feel. The food you eat becomes the building blocks in your body and part of your cells.
For me personally, whenever i go through times when i don’t really listen to my body and maybe i overeat/eat lots of processed food, or times when i undereat it always impacts me in different ways. More tired, sluggish, don’t feel as great about myself, end up bloating and getting stomach pain. Not to mention it usually impacts my skin as well if i consume too much of certain food . Such as the times i end up consuming a little too much sweetener ex. i.e i add sweetener to yoghurt/chia pudding or drink too much diet soda, it gives me this weird feeling and i don’t feel so great in my body/ in myself after a while. So it is not just eating too much chocolate or bread or overeating, but also consuming too much sweetener and “low kcal/sugar free” foods that can give me that strange, not so great feeling.
The times i eat regular meal times with predominantly whole foods (i.e vegetables, grains, tofu, legumes, nuts) is when i feel best. Nourishing my body with frequent/regular meals is when i feel best physically and mentally. And when i listen to my body, that is naturally how i eat.
The quote, good food = good mood really is true. (I hate the term “good”, “clean”, “bad” “healthy”, “unhealthy” when it comes to describing food because no food is good/bad/healthy/unhealthy.. it is all about the amount you eat, not to mention it is very individual on what is healthy or unhealthy. There is food which has more nutrients than other foods, but that doesn’t meant the food with less nutrients has to be bad… it is about the amount you eat.)
I like to eat rather big meals 2-3 times a day, and usually some smaller snack 1-2 times a day depending on life/if i am hungry or not. Sometimes 2-3 meals a day with no snacks works, othertimes i am more hungry and want to snack.
Why am i writing this post…? Well because i wanted to share with you that normal eating and listening to your body isn’t always perfect. We are just humans and our thoughts, cravings, feelings impact how we eat… not just the physical hunger signals. Even things like what others are eating, ads we see in our daily lives impact how we eat. Example if you are with friends or family and they eat or buy some food, you are more likely to eat as well even if you aren’t hungry. Or if you see an ad for some new food you want to try, or maybe you smell freshly baked buns or bread you might go buy and eat some even if you weren’t actually hungry…. that’s called being a human.
Food is more than just energy and nourishment. Food can give you a good/happy feeling, it is a social thing, it is delicious and can make you want to eat more.
The problem of course is when people begin to abuse food and rely on food to make them happy, such as emotional eating – when food and eating gives them a calm or happy feeling.
I really hope this post helps someone and makes you realise that a perfect diet or a healthy diet isn’t always eating the same meals at the same time each day. A balanced and healthy diet can sometimes mean that you eat more or eat less than your body calls for – even if that of course shouldn’t be the goal. The thing is to not feel anxious or guilty if you do overeat, instead just get back to your regular meals the next time you eat.
Also remember, that people only post some of their meals online, i don’t post all the meals i eat and don’t post about the times i undereat or overeat, so don’t base your own intake off of what people show online because you never really know how a person eats.