Intuitive Eating for Strength Athletes
A lot of people in the industry give intuitive eating a bad rap, especially as it applies to strength athletes. They view it as an excuse to eat irresponsibly, recklessly, and without any regard for moderation, and I agree! Intuitive eating can be harmful if done incorrectly, but it can be highly beneficial if done properly
Just like counting macros can be both an excellent tool and a recipe for disaster. For instance, people that develop disordered eating habits while tracking macros have ONLY ever tracked macros while in a caloric deficit and never in a caloric balance. This can lead them into the one-track-mind of counting macros = caloric deficit = restriction. So overall, not idea.
This can happen with those who don’t fully understand how to eat intuitively, and therefore, end up using it as an excuse to eat whatever, whenever. However, if you truly understand what it means to eating intuitively, then you are likely to benefit from this method of eating, especially if you’ve suffered from any disordered eating habits in the past.
What is Intuitive Eating (IE)?
- IE is the simplest form of eating.
- No tracking, counting, measuring, fasting, or restrictions
- IE is about listening to your hunger cues and learning to understand what your body needs.
Intuitive Eating does NOT look the same for everyone.
IE can benefit many different kinds of individuals from various backgrounds. However, how those individuals incorporate IE into their life can look very different.
Remember, everyone’s body is different, so everyone’s eating patterns are going to look different. Some people’s bodies won’t be hungry for breakfast, and some will. Others will only start to feel the hunger in the afternoon, others will think that’s crazy. This is why it is so important to actually learn how to listen to your body so that you adapt your eating habits to reflect what your body actually needs.
Hunger cues are biological. They are our body’s way of tell us if and when we are hungry. As intuitive eaters, we just went ahead and assigned numbers to the varying degrees of hungry.
- Hunger cues are ranked 1 – 10.
- 1 = Starving.
- 10 = Binge-level full.
- The middle = The sweet spot of intuitive eating
- Not hungry, not full, just right.
- Hunger cues are ranked 1 – 10.
If you’ve been on a restrict-binge-repeat kick, then you’ve likely ignored these cues for an extended period of time. We start to think of being in a state of hunger as good, and being satisfied or full as bad. IE helps us break away from that.
Remember, there are no prizes for always being hungry.
Cravings vs. Binge Eating
Cravings get a bad rap. Posts on social media highlight different ways to ‘beat the cravings’…which usually are pertaining to “beat the cravings while trying to unsustainably cut weight,” but that’s for a different blog post.
Cravings are going to happen, and IE helps you understand what a craving is and how to act on it responsibly.
Now cravings doesn’t mean OHMYGOD I have to have it right now, I mean, it could mean that, but it doesn’t always. Sometimes a craving is just an idea in your head of what sounds good. Sometimes I’ll get a hankering for mac’n cheese. It won’t be a crazy, impulse-like sensation, but it will be an idea. Usually I find a way to act on this idea because this idea is my body’s way of informing me of what I am in the mood for. If I try and fight it and stick to something I’m not craving, I will keep coming back to my mac’n cheese until I get my mac’n cheese!!
Remember, restrictive eating can cause or lead to binge eating. Cravings are a way for your body to tell you what it needs, and if it REALLY needs something, you are going to experience an intense craving. However, if you are consistently listen to and fueling your body, then these intense cravings will eventually seem more like food suggestions.
Furthermore, unresolved cravings can lead to binging. IE teaches you to eat what you want and what you need when you need it. If you are actually listening to your body, and are understanding what it needs, then the intense cravings subside and you end up actually listening to your body.
Intuitive eating and the strength sport athlete
Completely possible. Not as ideal as macro tracking, but if you’ve been trying to get macro tracking to work for you and it never does, then maybe it’s time to give something else a try for a bit.
If you want to learn more about Intuitive Eating, check out our Ebook where we teach you how to incorporate intuitive Eating as a strength sport athlete.
Listen to our podcast episode all about Intuitive Eating HERE.