“I only eat what my body tells me it needs”
Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?
And yes in principle I fully support the idea of eating intuitively, following your own unique hunger signals, being in tune with what you need as opposed to the generalised ‘normal’ way of feeding ourselves (whatever that actually is these days…..) should be.
But I do have one distinct stumbling block here – what if your body isn’t firing on all cylinders & so can’t give you the right messages? Well that’s when I pull the above face because I’ve had numerous discussions with individuals that indicate this is the case & so that’s where my attention is directed today.
Fundamentally our bodies want to work well, they don’t want to carry excess weight in the wrong places, they don’t want to feel sluggish, anxious, sleep badly, react to allergens or fall foul of the sniffles on regular occasions. No these would not be top of their list as all of the above distract attention & sap resources from our ability to be our best & most healthful selves.
But how many of these are true for many of us, if not continuously, at least on occasion?
When I see these sort of issues in people what those things actually mean is that elements such as their blood sugar sensitivity (the ability to harness cellular energy in the form of glucose from their circulatory system) have lessened. Or perhaps that their antioxidant status is low so they don’t have sufficient quantities to share between their energy production processes & immune system. And maybe their cortisol & adrenal hormones are in excess/depleted holding them in a heightened state of tension, increased nervous system firing, survival mode, weight holding, poor sleeping, unhappiness.
And this is the crux for me when it comes to dictating our dietary choices based purely on what our body tells us, as a faulty mechanism anywhere will push us towards less beneficial choices – take being tired for example. A bad sleep will always make us crave carbohydrates, simple ones particularly, more strongly as our body is looking for quick release energy to keep it going. So therefore if we were to simply say ‘Oh right my body wants me to have chocolate for breakfast so I must’ well then we’re not doing ourselves a particularly good service.
Now chocolate for breakfast may seem an extreme example here, (although actually if you take a dive onto social media you’ll see many an Instagram influencer melting cubes onto their porridge…..) but this could just as easily become lots of sweet fruits/dried fruit, maple syrup, honey, sugar in tea, things that seem slightly more on the ‘normal’ side for first thing in the morning. However if we then scan back to what I originally mentioned – an inability to harness our energy efficiently, then giving the body these simple carbs that it is craving (this being the operative word) would not to me be a form of honouring our body’s needs, in fact it would be the opposite.
And this is before we start to look at other elements such as digestive function. An imbalance in probiotic bacteria within the gut, an overgrowth of fungi or yeast, parasites, viral infections etc, these will all also influence what we feel a pull towards as they are in it for themselves rather than the good of the group.
So yes to conclude I am 100% behind not denying ourselves the things we want to have as long as they are wants not ‘oh my god I NEED IT’, because as soon as we enter that territory, whether for sugar, stimulants, salty foods, pickles, mustard or pasta, we have an indication that something, somewhere isn’t as happy as Larry. And we all know that when Larry isn’t happy he isn’t going to make us reach for our greens is he……
As always do be in touch if this has raised any questions or queries.
With healthy wishes,