Intuition: What is it and how to trust it?

What is INTUITION? đź’ˇ 

It’s your natural, instinct. It’s your innate knowledge that you were born with.

Have you ever wondered why bears just seem to know they need to hibernate or lions just know to travel in packs? This is intuition, instinct.

For us, when we need to pee, we go to the bathroom. If we need oxygen, we breathe. If we’re tired, we sleep.

So it only stands to reason, if you’re hungry, YOU NEED TO EAT.  

Hunger is one of the body’s biological signals. Contrary to what diet culture might have you believe, hunger isn’t your body trying to sabotage your efforts; it’s your body telling you it needs energy and nourishment in order to be truly healthy.

So, in order to be authentically healthy and happy, we have to listen to ALL it’s signals.  

Since the body can’t talk, those signals you feel are the only way it can tell you what you need.

And everyone’s needs are different. 

Some people can eat big meals and not eat again for six hours.

Some people feel better when they graze every two hours.

As I said in a recent post, all things in life are neutral until we assign meaning to them. How your body consumes food (bigger, fewer meals vs. grazing) is neutral until you decide to make it mean something bad or good about you or your body.

If you’ve been dieting for a really long time, you might not even know how to listen to your body, instead of the messages and suggestions of diet culture. So here are a few ways to tap into your intuition.

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana

There are no actual guarantees…

SEXY SELLS. Tan skin, thin bodies, shiny hair, big smiles.

Even if you’re not in marketing, you know this to be true. 

“In 21 days, your body will be transformed!” 

“With three shakes a day, you’ll see dramatic results!”

If it’s not going to get you concrete, visual results in a finite and short amount of time, we don’t want to do it. That’s human nature, I suppose. We want the direct route. The quick fix. The guarantee that if we put the work in, we’ll get the desired outcome.

First, let me debunk that in terms of dieting. We’re told if we follow the diet or exercise program, we’ll look like the before and after photo successes on the ads. We’ll also be smiling and successful in our lives; but we tend to ignore the fine print on those ads: Results not typical.

There’s a famous statistic that says 95% of diets fail, and most gain the weight back (and then some) in 1-5 years. Those “after” photos are taken right after the program is completed. They don’t show the full picture of what actually happens years after. The struggle to maintain the results. The mental and physical drain on that person. The fear and anxiety of what people will think if they don’t keep that appear up, the appearance that definitely got them a lot of praise.

Is that really how you want to live your life? With anxiety that you have to “keep up appearances”? The pressure to do so? The mental and physical exhaustion just to make yourself seem a certain way in other people’s eyes?

And we haven’t even touched upon the idea that thin doesn’t equal healthy. Just because you’re thin from a diet, doesn’t mean you’re healthier.

The harsh reality is what’s quick and sexy isn’t typically what’s most healthful to you in the long run. From my experience, intuitive eating isn’t quick or sexy in terms of what it promises you, and it cannot guarantee a conventionally sexy body; but it IS the best thing you can do for authentic health, body-mind-spirit.

Instead of promising anything, this is what intuitive eating promotes:

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

I suggest journaling your “why” for wanting to lose weight. If it’s health reasons, I would challenge that reason with the following questions:

âť“What is your definition of health? 

âť“Is there another way to heal your ailments without focusing on the weight itself? 

âť“What about focusing on your RELATIONSHIP with food and your body instead? 

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana

It’s okay to be where you are

For some, this may make sense, if you believe in God or some sort of cosmic being.

For others, this may anger you.

For those who have been through traumatic childhoods or traumatic events, you may think, “How could that have been meant for me?”

I’ve been listening a lot to Brooke Castillo and what she says about the past really helped me make peace with my own.

If what happened to you in the past was meant to happen any other way, it would have. When I was in my teens and 20s I went through an on and off again relationship that never got great closure; and I always wondered what could’ve been.

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

But I have to take solace in knowing that I made the best decisions I could, in those moments. Those events were meant to happen based on the circumstances and beliefs of everyone at that moment. It couldn’t have happened any other way, because it DID happen that way.

That’s not to say that we don’t have control over our lives, because I absolutely think we do. 

But what’s happened to us in our past has happened to us. There’s no changing those events. The ONLY thing we can do is CHOOSE how we will let it affect us NOW, in this moment.

We also have to keep in mind that everything that happens to us is neutral. A breakup, weight gain, a lost friendship, a lost job… it’s all neutral until we assign an emotion to those thing or until we make them mean something; and usually we make it mean something about us.

I lost that job because I’m not talented enough.

He left me because I’m not thin/pretty enough.

When something happens to you, take a pause and think, “What am I making this mean?”

What’s happened to you thus far is now neutral because it’s in the past. It already happened. There’s nothing that can be done about it. What can be done, now, is what you make it mean in your present.

Will you let your past events define who you are and how you show up in this world? Or will you CHOOSE to say that you are more than those moments and you ARE the captain of your own ship?

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana

Should you experiment with intuitive eating?

Many people are afraid to totally let go of dieting, of the control of it all. We’re afraid to let go of the possibility of being thin, and by extension, desired and accepted.

It’s totally understandable; and while I would highly recommend jumping into intuitive eating with both feet in order to maximize the chances of success in severing ties with diet culture, I think there’s lessons to be learned by dipping a toe in, as well.

Still, there are some caveats I have to warn you of first. 

Intuitive eating is a long-term process with certain steps toward healing that should be done one by one, in sequential order. There are 10 principles that should be implemented one by one.

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

The principles of honoring your fullness and satiety come before honoring gentle nutrition. In other words, you need to go through the steps of allowing all foods and experiencing fullness before you can implement more “traditional” nutrition practices. If you practice gentle nutrition too soon in the process, you will be too worried about what foods are “healthy” which defeats the purpose. We need to stop restriction and demonization of any foods first, stop any fears of foods first. 

I warn you, though: That means there is a period where you definitely eat more “junk” foods or foods you didn’t normally allow yourself. This is COMPLETELY NORMAL and this brief period will not harm your actual health. We’re made to believe even one food item with added sugar will surely shave five years off our lives, but it’s just not true. 

I experienced this phase just like everyone else. I ate more ice cream, more carbs, more sugar, more fat…because those were the kinds of foods I had been depriving myself of. I had to expose myself to them and create habituation and routine with them in order for them to “lose their luster” and their desire in my mind. 

After you do this for a while, you start craving more nutrient dense foods and you can incorporate gentle nutrition and consider the nutrition in the foods you eat and how you will feel after eating them. 

Here are FOUR ways , though, that you can simply try it out short term. I’d rather have you try this journey than not try to all!

Graphic by Alana Van Der Sluys

Let me know which one you plan to try. It only takes one day, one step toward food freedom progress!

The waitlist is filling up for my FREE FOOD FREEDOM MASTERCLASS series this spring! Send me your email below, DM me on Instagram–@FreedomwithFoodandFitness or at freedomwithfoodandfitness@gmail.com

With freedom,

Alana