As far as body composition goes, how much you eat is more important than what you eat. Yes, I’m a huge advocate of eating micronutrient rich foods such as broccoli, spinach, and fruits and vegetables, but this guarantees nothing in terms of fat loss or muscle gain. It’s also worth mentioning that our bodies need the right ratio of protein, carbs, and fats in order to stay healthy and gain muscle.
Protein is important for muscle recovery and ‘making gains’. We also need enough dietary fat to regulate hormones, healthy skin, and absorb nutrients among many other things. Last but most certainly not least, we need to eat enough carbohydrates to fuel our bodies and give us energy, and carbohydrates also give us weightlifters and athletes the energy we need to go about our sports. Carbohydrates also are protein-sparing, meaning you’ll maintain more muscle and break down carbs for energy, and not your hard-earned gains.
Now, how does Intuitive Eating play into all of this? A lot of us fitness folk know: the meal plans, the macro counting, the measuring everything: it’s a real pain in the butt. Sure, it’s a great way to control your diet and make sure you’re reaching your goals, but it can also be tedious. If you’re reading this, it’s most likely because you don’t want to have to track everything you eat, don’t want to go on MyFitnessPal everyday, and don’t want to weigh or portion out your food, and are wondering: is intuitive eating for me?
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and not restricting yourself. Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of intuitive eating.
☐ You’re more likely to stick to it
☐ Studies show it’s a great way to maintain a healthy body weight
☐ Studies show that it causes less stress
☐ It’s easier
☐ It goes along with the body’s natural biology (that is, eat when you’re hungry)
☐ It’s a great way to maintain body composition
☐ You’re more likely to screw up; we eat for other reasons than when we’re hungry, such as procrastination, boredom, or out of convenience
☐ It doesn’t ENSURE fat loss or muscle gain
☐ It’s harder to intuitively get our calorie needs
☐ You may eat too much, and gain unwanted fat
☐ Our hunger levels can vary from what we see, not what we need
☐ The more weight we lose, the more resistant our body becomes to losing more weight, due to metabolism changes
While Intuitive eating is a great way to maintain your physique, it isn’t the ideal way to get there. Meal planning or macro tracking is best for this. So if you’re just looking to maintain what you got going on, then I’d recommend intuitive eating. Also, intuitive eating works best for the individuals who HAVE tracked their food intake, because they generally know how much and what to eat to maintain their physiques.
So try tracking for a little while, then if you’d like, switch over to intuitive eating. Intuitive eating also works the best when you’re eating ‘healthy foods’, because these kinds of foods fall in line with our main biological processes. Last but not least, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re eating enough protein every day. If you’re worried about eating enough protein then check out Protein Powder supplements.
Take Home Message
Intuitive eating isn’t rocket science, and if you’re looking to just maintain your physique, then I’d recommend it. However, if you want to change how you look, bigger or smaller, then I would have to recommend tracking your intake for a little while, then switching to intuitive eating. Best of luck!