In Which Jenn Ponders Intuitive Eating

Alice food

Something weird happened while I was on vacation last weekend. I ate whatever I wanted – and I felt better for it.

And “whatever I wanted” isn’t code for “I ate whatever kind of salad I wanted” – I really ate whatever the house was preparing that day. That included hot dogs and french toast and arroz con pollo and at one point there was even a fried turkey.

Now, I will say that I kept my portions down and often left off fillers like hot dog buns, but I ate freely all the same. As a result, I was full enough that I didn’t snack too terribly much, and – bizarrely – I felt LESS bloaty. I even wore a bikini once. And I had way more energy.

There is no logical way that my body requires vacation food all the time. I’m sure if I continued indefinitely it would bite me in the butt somehow. But it makes me wonder about why my usual careful, healthy diet and exercise doesn’t make me feel as good. Do I run too much? (I hope not.) Do I not, dare I say it, eat ENOUGH calories? Do not ENOUGH calories come from – hold the phone – fat?

Please tell me if I’m being crazy here.

I’ve been investigating the world of Intuitive Eating of late – the idea that rather than following a set dictate of what you should eat and when you should eat it, you should trust your body’s signals. From what I can tell, it basically boils down to this: basically, every time you’re hungry you ask yourself, what do I WANT? And then you eat it.

This means that sometimes you’ll want cake and you’ll ask yourself if you really want cake and the answer will be yes, I really want cake, and you’ll eat cake. Sometimes you’ll want a cheeseburger. But then also sometimes like the other day there will be leftover apple Danish and mini-muffins from the board meeting and you’ll think to yourself, do I really want a Danish and/or muffin? And the answer will be: no, actually I’d rather have this cantaloupe. Your desires aren’t wrong; your body is just providing information.

I like this. I don’t know if it’ll work for me – I’m still trying to gently extricate myself from the calorie-counting web (more on this later) – but I like this. And in such a spirit, I have decided to make myself a new goal. For the rest of the summer, I will go home to eat lunch at least twice a week. That way I can escape from the borders of What-I-Happened-to-Pack-for-Lunchland and vacation in Whatever-I-Want-topia.

I’m lucky in that I live under a ten minute drive away from work, so I have time to cook a little. My question to you is this: what do I want to make? Recommendations for healthy but also thoroughly crave-able eats? Salads that actually satisfy without requiring a thousand expensive and difficult to find ingredients? Portions that will actually keep me full? Meals that can be assembled without buying things in large amounts that go bad before I can use them up?

I can always make one of my cheater’s recipes.

Do you ever feel much better when you don’t diet AT ALL? Have you tried Intuitive Eating? Am I even supposed to capitalize that?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. I feel fine when I don't diet until I weigh myself and try to fit into my clothes. Then I'm not quite as happy so I'm back on the calorie counting bandwagon.

    My favorite lunch this week is a sandwich. I make the veggies in advance and it's usually sauteed zucchini, roasted red peppers, a little red onion or caramelized onion, garlic hummus, cut up kalamata olives, I add extra garlic powder because you can never have too much garlic, and some balsamic vinegar on the toasted bread of your choosing. It's delicious and since you can make the veggies in advance it's quick to make during the week. Added bonus: it's vegan.

  2. Ummmm, yeah, I kinda eat what I want all the time which is probably why I am in the state I am in (i.e. if I had a dollar for every "no, I'm not pregnant" I have to say). I try and be good during the day time, but then at night when I come home for dinner, especially with a husband with a freakish metabolism, good eating kinda goes out the window! Although I did make a veggie quiche yesterday, yay!

    And also, agreed, Nicole's sandwich sounds DELICIOUS!!!

  3. If you DID get a dollar every time, it would be a delicious way to fund Disney trips. But alas, it is not to be. We'll have to drown our sorrows in veggie sandwiches.

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