Weight-Loss Made “Easy”, Becoming An Intuitive-Eater:
So everyone out there considering nutrition and weight-loss programs wants the same thing. -Ease of use.
Diets are an unnatural pain in the butt, and they rarely work.
So a recent trend reminded me of something I’d heard of before: Intuitive-Eating.
The most recent data-point was investigating the mysterious Yazemeenah Rossi.
It’s hard to know her true secrets, but I put might have found a few good-guesses.
And let’s face-it, the allure of being an Intuitive-Eater is that staying slim becomes effortless because the ultimate code now resides in you…
The Best Plan Is One You Have Internalized:
So just like Neo finally seeing The Matrix code without the image-translator,
The goal of Intuitive-Eating has always been that you don’t need to be on a plan.
You “just know” what is right internally without all the fuss.
And that’s really the secret goal of any good plan anyway,
To put you on a routine that eventually becomes second-nature.
And the short-answer for becoming and Intuitive-Eater is that you must recalibrate your unbalanced system & habits by finding the exactly-right number of calories for you,
And eating as close to exactly that number for at least 1 week or even a bit longer.
Read on to find out the rest…
So Where Are We Starting & What Is The Problem?:
Well, the reality is that as an adult, you are very likely to be uncalibrated.
For-example, would you spend any money on expensive coffee that costs $100/lb. if you knew for-sure that the scale that measures it was wildly-uncalibrated?
Of course you wouldn’t.
Well, as an adult, your history of eating after your mom stopped feeding you is full of mistakes and bad habits.
These have in-turn wrecked your bearings.
Even if your early-life may have introduced you to a healthy system of eating,
Like the French and Mediterranean ones Yazemeenah would have learned as a child,
Your history as an adult of eating whatever you want, as much as you want, whenever you want,
Has probably skewed any original nutritional-competency you may have had at one time.
Our Example Is Yazemeenah Rossi:
So awhile back, we did this post on model, mother, grandmother, and all-around Silver Fox, Yazemeenah Rossi.
Despite the fact that she never exercises very hard but just-enough,
She is in absolutely ridiculous-shape and extremely young-looking for her age.
59 really is the new 30 if you’re Wonder Woman’s long-lost sister.
One of most-remarkable things about her is that in her own words, she basically reports being an Intuitive-Eater.
And to us, she looks like she’s Olympian-Level at it.
But, how is she not fat after giving birth twice and now being a grandmother?
1) She’s from Corsica, so she would have been raised for years on a Mediterranean Diet with the French system.
2) Her parents ran restaurants.
The Key To Running A Successful Restaurant:
The first part of the idea comes from that key.
Most of us have no idea how much we’re supposed to eat.
Anyone out there right now, do you know right off-the-cuff what your Daily Calorie Allowance is?
Nope. Maybe 1% of you do. -Well there you go. You cannot out-exercise bad nutrition.
So after you find out what that number is at a site like TDEECalculator,
The next thing you have to do is start making as much of the food you eat at-home as you can.
Because you can control the calories much better than any restaurant or shop.
The third thing you have to do is to get a little credit-card-sized notebook or a piece of paper you can fold-up and put in your pocket with a pen.
Train To Be An Intuitive-Eater By Measuring & Tracking:
Alternately, you can use a smartphone app, too.
But either way you have to Keep A Journal of what & how-much you eat in the day.
Ideally this should be only stuff you made at home, and of-which you know the EXACT calorie-count; at least to multiples of 10 calories.
So track yourself using numbers you can find at sites like CalorieKing so you see how you eat.
Get as-close to the exact number of calories you’re allowed every single day for 1 week.
Maybe 2 weeks to 1 month will be necessary for some.
Getting To A Baseline:
This process should get you to at-least some kind of understanding for exactly what you need every day.
Some of you will feel stuffed.
Some of you will feel hungry 30-60 minutes before your meal, which is nearly-ideal.
Hopefully, none of you will feel like you’re being starved.
But after awhile, you will build-up some habitual-feel as the process re-trains your body, your stomach, and your brain.
One other trick that goes with this phase: Eat Slowly.
A study from awhile back showed that people who wolf down their food as quickly as possible tend to overeat and get fat.
Eat Slowly & Keep The Math Easy:
When actually, your body doesn’t really know you’ve eaten for about 20 minutes.
Give it at-least that long before you complain that you’re starving when on the proper number of calories.
Note 2: If you can stand it, it’s easiest to prepare the same food for each individual meal-slot of the day.
That way, you only have to plan & count the calories three times,
Once each for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
The rest is just measuring correctly each time you re-make what you previously-designed.
Perhaps boring to some, but eliminates a lot of the repetitive “Food Math” after the first round.
Getting Down To Basics, The Old Chef’s Tricks:
In another post a long time ago, we told you another old Chef’s trick:
It’s one of the reasons you love Pizza and cannot eat just one Lay’s potato chip.
And in America and the western world, we’re drowning in all 3.
So if you’re ever going to get to some normalized understanding of food,
You have to get as much of those three items out of your diet as you can; or at-least the first two.
Fat is less important as-long-as you’re getting healthy types and dialing the Salt way down,
Because otherwise the sodium would really spur your appetite.
Evict The Appetite-Agitators As Much As You Can:
This goes Triple for eliminating any and all ultra processed-foods, excess-sugar, snack-foods, and sugary drinks.
You’re not going to re-calibrate your senses if you’re getting 2,000 calories of Cheetos & Mountain Dew every day.
So as much as you can without going crazy & setting-up a binge,
Reduce as much of the classic 3 “Appetite Agitators” as you can.
Do that for at-least 1 week on the same plan of Exact Calorie-Allowance.
But start it after at least 1 week of getting the right calorie number, so you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes at the same time.
Now you’ve at-least partially re-calibrated your sense of taste for the food-alone, and not the seasoning.
Now The Variations, Part 1: Calorie-Density:
So another thing that re-calibrates how you sense food is by varying Type and Density.
One of the ways we get fooled, besides confusing the signal of thirst for hunger, is the sense of bulk in our stomachs.
So if you dare, try these experiments next.
Take 1 meal, and substitute some of the calories for something really dense.
For Example: if you have 600 calories for one meal, take out 200 of them and substitute 200 calories of either plain milk or dark chocolate according to your taste.
See what that does to your sense of fullness, especially after 3 or 4 hours.
Or conversely, have 10 oz. of steamed-spinach at 1 meal as a substitute for 100 of your normal calories.
See what that gut-bomb does to your sense of fullness.
Now go-on and experiment with both more calorie-sparse and calorie-dense foods.
Finding Your Response To Calorie-Density Experiments:
1) Anything that’s Calorie-Sparse will generally be a Vegetable, (except for Corn, Potatoes, and an excess of carrots, because the excess sugars in them would affect you differently).
2) Anything that’s Calorie-Dense would be Fat-Based like dark chocolate, peanut butter, oils, dairy, or even refined products like rices, grains, and wheat-products. You will want to stick to the fat-based ones, the carb-products all have lots of sugar and may throw-off your calorie-perception in unpredictable ways like increasing appetite.
If you’re very-healthy and want to do 1 or 2 tests to push this even-further,
Do just one meal with as much calorie-sparse food as you can stand.
Hint: it won’t be much, because you’re going to feel like you’ll burst.
Note: Please stay safe & don’t try this if you have any serious problems with your stomach, digestion, gi-tract, or blood-sugar. You could potentially hurt yourself.
Extreme Density Experiments, Not For The Faint Of Heart:
Alternately, try one meal with as much calorie-dense food as you can stand.
Note 2: Be careful with this one, too as it’s likely to be fat & carbs, which Will mess with your blood-sugar, esp. if you have any stability problems in that department. This would not be advisable for underweight, overweight, obese, diabetic, pre-diabetic, hypoglycemic, or those with a history of diabetes in their family, or on very specific prescription-medications.
Also Note: If you try any of these weirder experiments, keep them to an absolute-minimum & stay very-well hydrated. Your body may freak-out a little.
Either way, these should all teach you a sense of how food-bulk affects fullness and appetite.
As you go-on past these experiments, you will now be more-able to re-introduce a more deliberate balance of low and high calorie-density ingredients, as you choose exactly what to eat in the future.
Variations Part Two, Taste-Distortions:
Now take the standard food you started with and try some changes in Taste.
Substitute an entire meal, or a set number of calories in a meal, like 200, with something that tastes completely-different from what you normally-eat.
It doesn’t matter what. Like Chicken? Eat Fish for your protein a few times.
Normally eat beef? Try a few all-seafood meals instead.
Do you get your fat from Olive Oil? Replace as much of the fat in 1 meal with the same number of calories from Avocado.
Since you’ve taken care of Sugar, Salt & Fat,
Bitter Vs. Sour:
Try something weirder and increase or decrease the amount of Bitter or Sour ingredients in your meals.
Sour is thought to increase appetite more than Bitter, but try it deliberately and see how you respond.
I find that bitter things like Coffee, Spanish Olives, and Very Dark Chocolate tend to suppress the appetite.
Red Wine should also, but the carbs, alcohol & “drunchies” would overwhelm you too soon for that to work.
This part of the variations is much more experimental.
Because you have to be a little comfortable with calorie-counting, you should make sure that’s so first.
Otherwise, it could be overwhelming.
You Will Eventually Realize These 2 Truths:
You can conduct this phase of experiments as long as you like,
But the goal is to get to see how much different tastes affect your sense of fullness and appetite.
…Because you will eventually realize 2 things I did:
1) After you start with the right food, getting the right number of calories with the least-effort is really just about managing Fullness.
2) Including a variety of tastes into your meals “tricks” your senses into thinking you’re fuller than you really are.
Variations Part Three, The Final Exercise:
For even-more-intrepid diet-adventurers, or just sporty people, here’s one more angle.
If you normally-exercise, your calorie-allowance will have that activity factored-in.
Well no matter what your normal-level, Try two things:
1) Increase your exercise-output by 10-25%, or at-least 200 calories in one day.
1a) Then adjust your calories for the next meal to make up for that extra effort. Again TDEECalculator.net should help.
2) Do one day with zero activity
2a) Eat the reduced-number of calories for you that corresponds to that particular change.
Check-in with yourself about how full or how starved you feel on either of those days.
Now you will have a sense of how much your appetite responds to the calorie-output of physical exercise.
Note what types & amounts of exercise make you ravenous and which don’t make a dent in appetite.
Special Secret Note: For those wishing to lose weight with the help of Exercise, this will give you a specific-insight into what size of a Calorie-Deficit you can stand before you start to hulk-out and go food-crazy.
The Fourth-Dimension, Time:
One of the other big problems we all have is Time.
And because of changes or exaggerations in life’s scheduling, our body’s “Food Clock” gets thrown-off, too.
This exercise is less for the intrepid researcher and more for the realistic one.
Once you’re on the Exact-Calorie-Plan and you’re good at it,
Try eating 1 or more of your meals either 1 Hour Late, or as far-delayed as you can stand before you go crazy.
Write down in your food-journal what each hour of delay does to you and your appetite.
Eating too soon is rarely a problem, but often-times schedules can get all-but cancelled, or drastically-shifted.
Scheduling And Intermittent-Fasting Tolerance:
Depending on what you’re like, this can have a bigger-effect than you might think.
Especially if it’s pushing mealtime off too late in the day.
When you get a good set of data for this, you will better understand your Ghrelin-Tolerance.
(Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you hungry. I remember it as Growlin, because Ghrelin gets your stomach growlin’.)
Super Secret Note 2: This should also tell you how good you’d be at the magical-mystery of Intermittent-Fasting, too!
Conclusion, What You Need:
So in-closing, you don’t have to do all the experiments.
But if you Do want to become at-least a little-bit more of an intuitive-eater,
You MUST do the Exact-Calorie plan for a minimum of 1 week.
1 Month would be better.
You MUST also do the Reduced Sugar, Salt & (partially) Fat experiment, as you wouldn’t believe how much they affect appetite.
You might not have to eat only home-cooked/prepped food if that’s a hassle.
But in that case, you would still have to get your food plain with all seasonings/dressings on the side,
The Minimum Set Of Exercises:
And you’d only be able to eat at a place that could do this for you.
You still have to eat as slowly as you reasonably can. -Or at-least don’t wolf down your food.
You might seriously-consider the Density-Variations as part of the basics, too.
Because you’ll never really understand the concept of fullness if you don’t try them.
Extreme versions of those or any experiment would only be for perfectly-healthy people.
Anyway, the only way for you to become an intuitive-eater is to recalibrate what may have been out-of-whack since you left grammar-school, or before.
You Could End-Up With A Valuable Skill:
But when you do the experiments enough my guess is, just like Yazemeenah Rossi,
You will find yourself with an increasingly-uncanny ability to know exactly how much you need to eat, and when to stop.
The ultimate-benefit of which will be that you will become a more effortlessly-slim and healthy person.
Because through restriction & experiment you will have realized a fundamental truth of nutrition.
As long as the quality & type of food is good-enough and your sense of fullness is reasonably-managed,
You don’t really need any extra calories.
And as someone who has now built the code into themselves to become a newly-minted intuitive-eater, you won’t even miss those calories when they’re gone.
Photo Credits: “binoculars”, by Chase Clark on Unsplash