Intermezzo: Intuitive Eating on the road

I wrote something about this on my previous rest day, but WordPress decided it was a good idea to delete the whole text, and frankly I haven’t had time or energy since to write a new version.

In the meantime I’m 5 days further in, so I also have 5 days more experience. 😉

I’m sitting here in my cosy quarters in Celle, looking at the rain falling against the window and enjoying the comforts of inside. Like heating, plumbing, comfy seats and shelter from the weather. It’s funny the things you take for granted when you don’t spend most of the day outside and on your feet.

So, intuitive eating is something I’ve been practicing and preaching for a while now – I was nevertheless curious to see how this journey would affect it and how I would feel both mentally and physically about what I’ve been eating.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been very hungry, and my body seems happy as long as it is getting enough food. I do probably have at least a slight energy deficit most days, but have generally felt both satisfied and nourished by my meals.

When I started out I was bracing myself for a lot of junk food and cheese sandwiches. On the latter front I was pretty spot on. I’ve been packing lunches from hotel breakfasts or similar almost every day, and cheese sandwiches are then one of the easiest things to take with me that are both vegetarian and relatively filling. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t crave a bit more variety, but peanut butter is not the staple food in Germany that it is in the Netherlands. Sometimes I throw a Nutella sandwich in the mix for those sweet cravings. And mostly I have an apple with me. And my stash of nuts and dried fruit.

Dinners have been very mixed – from the leftover slice of bread, chunk of cheese and tomato I had a few days ago when I was too tired to leave my room, to the culinary feast I had at an Italian restaurant last night. And there have been a couple of (delicious) pizzas.

I have not had a single salad since I started walking. That being said I do try to take care to get some vegetables with my meals and put for instance cucumber, tomato and pepper fruit on my sandwiches. Overall I’m probably eating a bit less veg than I would normally, but at the end of a long day of walking I just do not want a salad. If it’s on the side of a burger or some fish, that’s OK, but by itself, absolutely not. I crave warm, rich, comforting foods.

How am I feeling, physically and mentally about my food choices? Pretty good. If anything I would say that with this walk I am learning to eat even more intuitively and judge my choices less. Simply because the hunger is clear, the need is clear, the signals I am getting from my body about what it wants are unambiguous, and I just listen.

Normally in life we have a lot of interference in our relationship with food. From what others think of our choices, what we read and hear from so-called experts to what we can afford and what meets our moral and ethical standards, and so much more.

But the walking washes away all the bullshit and everything that is not important*, until only the essence is left. I feel every part of myself, physically and emotionally. I just am.

I am human. I need food, I need rest, I need shelter, I need movement, I need love and compassion. And when I tune in to these needs, respect them and meet them, I am OK. I am more than OK. I am whole.

*I don’t mean to imply that it’s wrong or indeed bullshit to make food choices based on morals, ethics, money, health, comfort etc., but what I mean to say is that it can be quite useful to get back to the basics of what food is, and just listen to what the body wants and what feels good and learn from that. Which is how I believe intuitive eating should start.

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