And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… (or have we?)
Today’s blog post will end this Eating Challenge series and give you some (hopefully) valuable insight into both eating approaches, so that you can decide if any of them interest you! Of course, remember these are my own personal opinions and are not based on any factual findings. This is a blog post strictly about how I felt with both approaches and which one worked for ME!
So, I’ve had about a week to look at both Mindful eating and Intuitive eating approaches and decide “Hey, which one do I like?!” Turns out… I like them both! But of course, this series was about taking a closer look at each of them to see which one ultimately would work for my lifestyle. If you haven’t read the previous blog posts on each eating approach, click the links above!
What works and what doesn’t work in both approaches?
Okay, so I’m going to talk about this in more depth with the questions below, but I think overall what works for me is truly rejecting the diet and restrictive eating mentality. I am a very stubborn individual and I love to eat what my stomach wants. If I’m in the mood for pizza, or a salad, I WILL have what I want (and you can’t tell me otherwise – take THAT lactose sensitivity!) So any approach where I am ultimately in control of what I want to eat and when is going to be the approach I choose. Both Mindful and Intuitive eating allow me to have that, but I will say I found my experience during my Intuitive eating week slightly more pleasurable than my experience with Mindful eating. And I’ll get to that in the points to follow!
What were some of the major findings and takeaways with both of the eating routines?
The biggest takeaway for me was that the Mindful eating approach was difficult. And it wasn’t difficult because of the challenge, but because of some of the aspects of the approach. I definitely found that eating without some stimulus present (either a show on tv, music in the background or with company) proved to be more anxiety-inducing than calming. I know I’m probably an anamonialy with that but that’s the thing about people, we are INDIVIDUALS and therefore one approach is not an “one size fits all”.
I also like the overall approach of Intuitive eating. It rejects diets, teaches you to respect your body, and make peace with food. All very healthy approaches to eating that do not have harmful backlashing effects. I watched a YouTube video on Intuitive eating by Kati Morton and she discussed how this approach is used in combination with eating disorder treatments.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT advocate myself as a medical professional, psychologist or a nutritionist.
But I can see how the Intuitive eating approach cultivates a healthy mindset and relationship with eating.
What approach(s) can I use and stick with? What approaches are not really suited for my lifestyle?
Again, one of the aspects of Mindful eating focused on eating without distractions. So that means not eating in front of a television or laptop screen, with your phone in one hand and a fork in another. Well, I can say that eating without my phone present is possible, but eating without SOME sort of background noise is not. I actually enjoy eating with some music playing or a show on in the background. And I unfortunately suffer from Misophonia so the sound of even my own chewing is enough to anger me! Going forward, I will definitely try to apply the approach of leaving my phone in another room. But when it comes to eating in complete silence, that’s going to be a hard no for me.
I really resonated with the first principle in Intuitive Eating which is rejecting the diet mentality and honestly, that’s my city! I refuse and always have refused to diet. I do not like to restrict myself of foods or meals I’m in the mood for, but am self aware enough to know that everything can be good in moderation. So while I plan to get a cheeseburger when I feel like it, I know I will not LIVE MY LIFE on cheeseburgers. So knowing your body, knowing how to read your hunger and how to sense what your body wants is a skillset that I will continue to grow. This also ties into the third principle of Intuitive eating which is making peace with food. So I can make and eat that delicious cheeseburger without an ounce of guilt or shame involved when eating it. A true win-win!
How did I feel overall with both mindful and intuitive eating?
What approach was the most positive for me? I would honestly have to say the Intuitive eating approach. While I enjoyed the challenge of the Mindful style of eating, I did struggle with a few of the aspects, mainly eating without distractions. So I just felt that I couldn’t fully connect to the approach, which definitely did not make me feel completely satisfied that week.
Did I notice a change in my overall mood or appetite with either approach? With Intuitive eating, I enjoyed myself a lot! One evening, I was feeling in the mood for Ramen from one of my favorite local Ramen joints and ended up ordering it for myself – guilt-free! It was glorious! And then even as recently as a few nights ago, I was CRAVING Bacon Mac and Cheese… so I made it from scratch! It’s the respect for food that I can get behind, and the respect for what I’m in the mood for, plus the ability to just intuitively go for it. There’s times I crave a good Caesar salad, or a delicious Ham and Swiss sandwich on Sourdough bread, and I would never trade away my cravings for an instant 6-pack of abs. Sure, I can work out, do yoga, or go for a nice walk, but I will never say to myself “You can not HAS CHEESEBURGER!”
Life is all about balance. Balancing the healthy meals with the “cheat” ones! And if you remove one or the other, you are bound to crave it eventually. And from my experience, when you remove certain foods completely from your diet, it’s really hard to get them back. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, and I’m not here to shame anyone for being on a diet or a restrictive eating plan. I’m here to tell you my personal experience with both eating approaches and how I truly see the value in them both!
How do they compare and contrast with each other?
When starting both my mindful and intuitive eating challenges, I read up on some areas in which both approaches differed. For more information, check out this site: Mindful Eating & Intuitive Eating: What’s the Difference?
But at its core, both approaches use your internal body cues to dictate when to eat and when to stop. Also, both approaches create a healthy relationship with food! With Intuitive eating, you aren’t restricting yourself of foods you enjoy eating, but learning when it’s best to have them and how much of the food to have. Both Mindful and Intuitive eating teach you to recognize your hunger, and to know when you are full so that you don’t overeat. And both approaches teach you to understand WHY you are eating certain foods (e.g., you’re having a bad day and steering towards junk food, you’re stressed and skipping supper, you’re pmsing and craving chocolate cake, etc.) It’s about looking inwards to notice what emotional state drives the habitual cravings.
However, with Mindful eating it’s also about the external environment (e.g., limiting distractions, slowing down how you eat, etc.) which for someone with Misophonia, that isn’t exactly possible. When I eat, I almost NEED a distraction to take me away from the sounds of my chewing or of others’. So that was where the struggle ultimately was for Mindful eating.
If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. I hope this post inspired you to consider taking on a challenge you’ve been interested in doing! What did you think of this eating series? Did any of the approaches speak to you and if so, what did you think of the overall comparisons?
Let’s continue the discussion (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)
And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every Saturday — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog below so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.
Chat again next Saturday!