Is "Food Energetics" The New Intuitive Eating?
Back when I was 40 pounds overweight, I remember sifting through tons of diet information that fit into two categories: logical and intuitive.
Half of the information I came across was the "lose 100 pounds in 2 days" boot camp kind of advice. And this was attractive to me because they have step-by-step plans and what felt like a guarantee of how much weight I could lose. If I could just stick to the plan, surely I would reach my goals in x amount of days.
But then I got tired. Sometimes, after day one. I started to imagine how I couldn't possibly stick to a plan and have flexibility in my life at the same time.
Did losing weight mean becoming rigid? Did losing weight really have to mean "work" and "commitment"?
I remember going out to a restaurant with friends and taking extra time to read the menu and calculate in my head what the best combination of foods would be, how many calories and proteins there would be, and what portions I should be eating. Shouldn't this be easier and more intuitive?
So the other half of the time, when I was annoyed with the cookie-cutter diet plans, I came across holistic versions of health that promoted "intuitive eating." Just eat healthy and see how you feel, right? And I liked how this sounded because it was about finding what worked for me.
But there was no structure. And as much as I loved the idea of eating based on how I felt, I had no faith that my body was meant to be at a healthy weight.
I had spent so many years telling myself that something was wrong with my body because other people could eat pizza without gaining weight but not me.
How was I supposed to eat intuitively when my body was telling me to eat an entire bag of cookies?
I couldn't believe that listening to the crazy cravings I was having could possibly be the path I needed to take to not only get to a healthy weight but feel good about it—not worrying about regaining the weight back and not constantly have weight on my mind, regardless of whether the number on the scale was lower than usual.
So I'd go back to researching meal plans. And then intuitive eating. Back and forth, over and over again.
It wasn't until I came across Food Energetics that I started to bridge the gap between logical and intuitive eating. Food Energetics is about how food affects your body based on cycles in nature and how the food grows.
To give you an example, food that grows in a hot, tropical climate, like coconuts, are going to be higher in water content, vitamins, and natural sugars, whereas foods that grow in cold climates down into the ground are going to be drier and higher in minerals and proteins. But more importantly, foods that grow in hot climates are designed to cool off your body whereas those in cold climates can warm up your body.
What's really cool about this is you can time the kinds of foods you eat to the cycle of the day.
Morning is like springtime, so you want to eat foods that make you feel uplifted that grow up out of the ground, like fruits.
Noontime is like summer, when your digestive system is at is highest peak, so you can have a variety of foods.
Then dinnertime is like winter, when the day starts to cool off, so you can have more warming foods like soups and stews.
Simply changing the timing of when you have foods is going to give you the right kind of energy you need at different points during the day, and when you start living in harmony with nature like this, your body weight balances itself out.
I'm not sure why more people don't know about this. On one hand, you want a quick fix and start looking at the meal plans and boot camps, but they never really help you trust your body and your cravings.
When I started learning more concepts about Food Energetics, I started losing weight without even thinking about calories or portions or nutrient density. I had wanted to lose only 20 pounds, but I wound up losing 40 without having to do any counting or math. And I loved it so much that I even made it my profession.
Food Energetics was the structure I had been missing from intuitive eating because it gave me an idea of what to choose based on how I knew it would make me feel in the moment. And even though I didn't have faith in my ability to lose weight when I was starting out, I loved that I could put my faith in nature.