Some clinicians will tell you that you can’t practice intuitive eating if you have PCOS. They think that because PCOS can cause cravings and mess with your hunger and fullness hormones that it simply can’t work for folks with PCOS, but I disagree. My goal for all of my clients is to eventually practice intuitive eating, whether you have a hormonal condition or not. This will allow you the freedom to eat what you want when you want it and not worry about counting calories, macros or using an app.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is a concept developed by Evelyn Tribole that outlines a model for eating nourishing foods free from diet culture. It doesn’t mean you just eat anything and everything, as some might suggest. It means you know what foods nourish your body and you honor your health and wellness through these foods and enjoyable movement. In the end, you learn to accept your body and take joy in your food. You feel the freedom to have treats when you want them but the balance to eat the foods you need for your particular body and condition.
What Does it Take to Practice Intuitive Eating with PCOS?
I consider intuitive eating an advanced skill in nutrition. It takes work to get to a point of intuitive eating. This doesn’t mean you can’t start working on the skills you need from the start, but it means first you have to learn a few principles!
Learn the Foods You Need to Manage Your PCOS
You must learn what foods you need to nourish your body and manage your hormonal conditions. For PCOS, this means learning how to balance out carbs in order to avoid spiking blood sugar, learning what foods will fight inflammation, learning nutrients you need to balance out hormones and learning how to meet all of your macro and micronutrient needs.
Build a Better Relationship with Food
You also need to learn to build a better relationship with food and stop thinking of certain foods as “good” and others as “bad” but rather think of foods in terms of what they’ll do for your body, how they’ll fuel you, how they’ll nourish you and how nutrient-dense they are. This will free you from guilt associated with certain foods.
Get in Touch with Hunger and Fullness Cues
Plus, you have to get in touch with your hunger and satiety hormones. These can be out of whack if your other hormones are out of whack, so it can mean making some changes. Sleeping enough, moving your body enough, eating to nourish your body can all help you start to listen to these hormones.
Start Eating Mindfully
In my mind, mindful and intuitive eating go together. Mindful eating is simply applying the practices of mindfulness, or bringing your full awareness and attention to the task at hand, to eating. It means paying attention to the taste, smell and sight of your food and eating without distraction. This helps you slow down and start to feel your fullness cues.
Practice Intuitive Eating for the Rest of Your Life
Once you know how to nourish your body and can listen to your body, you will be free to practice intuitive eating for the rest of your life. See, mindful eating doesn’t mean eating potato chips 3 meals a day if you feel like it. Why? That wouldn’t nourish your body, would it? It would spike your blood sugar and make you feel like poop. Instead, it means striving for enjoying nourishing, nutrient-dense meals and allowing yourself to have guilt-free treats and snacks when you like, because you know your body is getting what it needs to thrive.
If you want to learn to practice intuitive eating with PCOS and enjoy food freedom, book a free nutrition chat with me to make a plan.