Start eating your way - how to use your intuition to improve health and boost your energy.

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To live a happy, fulfilling and successful life you need to ensure you have enough energy to work on your goals, overcome the challenges and enjoy your daily life experiences.

Your health is your wealth!

You won’t be able to do what you want in life if you are sick or constantly experience energy crashes and feel like there’s not enough coffee or chocolate in the whole world to keep you awake and productive for the rest of the day.

A poor diet can affect how you feel on a mental and physical level. We are what we eat. By choosing what we put on our plates we can either fuel our bodies and minds with nutrients and energy or make ourselves feel sluggish, heavy, and overtired.

I believe in an intuitive approach to food and eating. That means there isn’t one “perfect diet” or an eating style that works best for everybody. It also means that you learn how to listen to yourself and your body and make food choices that feel good and taste good to YOU.

When some of my clients hear this they light up and ask if that means they can eat all the ice-cream and chocolate they want? I usually respond by asking them how do they feel when they eat a gallon of ice-cream or a bar of chocolate in one sitting? How does it affect their health, weight and emotions? Why do they feel they have to or want to eat all the ice-cream? Is there an underlying emotional or physiological reason for craving sweet or salty foods?

All of this may sound a bit complicated at first, but once you learn how to listen to your body and mind, you will be able to pinpoint a specific craving to an emotional or physical feeling and make your food choices accordingly. You will also start noticing which foods and drinks make you feel good, happy and energized and which meals leave you feeling heavy and sluggish.

Intuitive eating is also based on a mindful approach to food and lifestyle. That means that you make conscious choices to eat your food with awareness and you make time and space for every meal rather than grabbing a fast-food meal and eating in the car.

When you use a mindful approach to food you will also start noticing different qualities and energies of food. For example, fresh, locally grown and non-GMO fruits and vegetables are full of nutrition and vibrant energy, while a box of factory-made crackers has a completely different nutritional and energetic value.

As an intuitive eater, you listen to your body for clues and information about what and how much you need to eat to feel good and stay healthy. You trust yourself more than you trust the external sources of food-related information (TV food commercial, food industry, other people’s opinions, etc.). And when you really tune into your own unique food GPS, I can almost guarantee that you will find a bowl of fresh berries far more appealing and tasty than a store-bought colorful ice-cream.

With that being said, I also believe in balance in everything we do in life. There may be a time and place when some chocolate or a good quality cake is exactly what you and your body need. I remember one of my nutrition professors telling us that there are times when a generous slice of pizza eaten with a group of loving friends can be more beneficial for our mental and physical health than a bowl of fresh salad eaten feeling lonely in your own kitchen.

By now you may be wondering how you can become a more intuitive eater. My advice would be to start by noticing what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, and how you feel when you eat. Awareness is key to making any change in life. Once you gain a better understanding of your current eating habits you will be able to pinpoint what’s not working and decide what changes you need to implement to enhance your physical and mental health.

Be prepared that implementing a new way of eating can take some time. Don’t get discouraged when you fall back into an old pattern and mindlessly eat something that doesn’t support your new health goals. Instead, offer yourself some love and compassion and get curious about the underlying reasons for your behaviors and choices.

While creating new eating habits it is also important to set yourself up for success: make yourself and your health your top priority. Plan your meals and make a conscious choice to eat mindfully. Learn more about food sources and nutrition, but don’t get attached to any particular diet or eating trend. Always listen to your own unique needs and preferences. Finally, create your own support system: get your family members engaged in your new lifestyle, join support groups, sign up for a cooking class or hire a coach. Let me know if you have any questions or need advice. Click here to send me a message.

Joanna Echols (MS, MA, PBC, RYT200), Career & Wellness Coach

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