So you’ve decided to give intuitive eating a go but you have some questions. Totally normal. Intuitive eating is a process and a lot of people (myself included!) go through ups and downs with IE and that is perfectly normal.
Some meals are going to be eaten rushed, standing up, maybe even missed. Some are going to taste pretty average and you might even find yourself eating mindlessly through a meal, just to get something in you so you can stop feeling hungry. It’s not realistic to expect every meal to taste amazing, or to expect that you’ll sit down completely calm at every meal to eat in a completely mindful manner. We are all human, after all.
But I digress. You probably have questions about how intuitive eating fits into your life or how it works in this situation or that so today I want to delve into quite a common question that I get (and have had myself) about IE.
Something I wonder about is, if I’m eating intuitively, how does meal planning fit in with this?
I’m busy and need to plan what I’m eating over the week, especially when I’m working, but isn’t planning what you’re going to eat the exact opposite of intuitive eating?
The answer as best as I’ve managed to figure out is:
It depends on your intention.
If by planning out your meals, your intention is to restrict, this is not using IE as a part of self care. If you are planning out your meals so that they are low calorie, full of diet foods and general devoid of foods you actually enjoy, then you are working against the principals of IE.
If, however you can see that your schedule is jam packed on Thursday and you plan to get some pizza delivered because fuck it cooking and shopping that night is going to be a nightmare, that is using nutrition as part of your self care and is in line with IE principals.
Intuitive eating isn’t about rules or restriction, it’s about eating a wide variety of foods, some nutritious, some less so, in amounts that truly satisfy you.
For me, it also depends on my week. If I’m having a busy week with back to back commitments and busy days, I’ll be pretty prepared and have a few days of food already prepped so I can just grab and go and nothing takes long to finish off. If I’m having a quieter week I’ll probably have something prepared but will have the ingredients on hand to cook several dishes and I’ll be guided more by what I feel like in the moment.
So you see, meal planning and intuitive eating can actually work beautifully together, but it depends on your intention. Using a meal plan or guide to help you go about your life so you’ll know you will have enough to eat when you are hungry is all a part of that all important self care- just be sure to skip on the diet foods!