The Truth about Intuitive Eating and Menopause
Truth: There is no better time than perimenopause to make peace with food and learn intuitive eating. As a woman in midlife you know that diets don't know and you're tired of always feeling frustrated and exhausted. You want to make peace with food and find body confidence but you're also focused on your health.
Also True: Life is BUSY and can make “tuning in” a challenge at times.
Why does “tuning in” matter? Isn’t will power what I’m looking for?
Of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, learning to “tune in” to your hunger and fullness cues are at the ones people are most familiar with. Sounds easy, right? Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full? Yes…but…
In order to do that consistently, you have to be able to manage the attunement disruptors in your life. Attunement disruptors are things that get in the way of hearing your hunger and fullness cues. Often, these are the thoughts, beliefs and feelings we have about food. For example, you may have a hard time having toast for breakfast if you believe that carbs before noon will cause weight gain.
But, for women in perimenopause and menopause, sleep, stress and hot flashes can also get in the way. It’s hard to listen to what you’re body is telling you when you’re having a hot flash every 30 minutes, can’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time and feel constantly on edge.
Hot Flashes - Day or night, hot flashes and night sweats make it difficult to tune into anything but the sensation of internal combustion happening from within. Most women experience these, and I’ve written about a few things you can try here. Finding ways to reduce the number and intensity of your hot flashes will make it much easier to listen when your body is telling you it’s hungry and full.
Insomnia - Sleep can be fleeting once you’re in perimenopause. Shifting levels of hormones can affect how easily you fall and stay asleep. Working on sleep quality will benefit your overall health, but especially your attunement. Listen to these episodes of The Midlife Feast podcast with Dr. Leigha Saunders and Sarah Wilde for tips on how to improve your sleep.
Stress - Imagine trying to listen to the radio when an alarm is going off? Eventually, you'll just stop trying to hear to the radio, right? Or you'll only tune in when you hear something really important. The same is true for our bodies - if you’ve got an alarm going off, it will be hard to catch the subtle cues of hunger and fullness. Instead, you’ll only hear when you’re REALLY hungry or REALLY full.
Intuitive eating doesn’t require perfection, but it does require practice!
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