03 Apr How to Eat Intuitively When You Live with Your Partner
Last week I met with a client and she wondered how to eat intuitively when you’re in a relationship, specifically when you’re living together. She struggled with the idea of having chips in the house because she knows they don’t work for her body but she has a hard time resisting the temptation. Given the subject matter of this post, this can also be helpful for anyone who lives with their family members, a roommate, or works in an office where food is kept in a staff room.
Throughout this post I am going to share 6 tips to help you stay on your intuitive eating path while living with other people.
1. BE PREPARED
I find that if I am doing the grocery shopping I only buy food that appeals to me. Rarely does this include chips, if I do, I usually go for the organic blue corn chips. Now, I’m not saying don’t eat chips but I personally don’t find that the super processed and sodium laden chips feel good in my body. I also tend to buy things that will be extremely easy to prepare (unless I feel like making a fancy meal, which is about once a week). If I’m not doing the grocery shopping or I’m living with someone who buys chips I too usually reach for these first when I get hungry. I like to have things that are easy to prepare, satisfy me, and meet my specific dietary needs (I’m allergic to basically every easy-to-serve-raw fruit and vegetable). So, if you find that you are consistently picking up that bag of chips because you notice that you get immersed in whatever you’re doing at home and suddenly find yourself super hungry be prepared! I like to keep sourdough, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and avocado on hand to make a sandwich if I want something crunchy and satisfying. I like to keep frozen bananas on hand if I want something sweet to make nice cream. Both of these options take less than 10 minutes to make and satisfy me. If I’m super hungry and I need something immediate I will usually snack on a few squares of dark chocolate while I prepare my meal. Find some simple meals that satisfy you, nourish you, and take a short amount of time to prepare and always keep those ingredients stocked.
2. SLOW DOWN
I can definitely feel the pressure to eat faster when someone around me eats quickly. There are usually a few seconds of opportunity during meal times when you become aware of the fact that the person eating with you is eating quickly. If you can become aware of this you have the chance to choose to slow down. Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis can help increase this sense of awareness. If you are sharing a meal and you feel the pressure to eat faster because the other person is eating quickly, let them know. If you want more food, ask them to save you some so that you can eat at your own pace without worrying that you will miss out. If you notice the other person consistently finishes everything on the table try making (or ordering) more food in the future.
3. HONOUR YOUR HUNGER
The key word is your. Your body knows when it is hungry and what it wants to eat. Listen to this because no one else can tell you when you are hungry and what you should have. If you and your partner have different eating patterns that is okay. Find a way to make it work, maybe sit with them while they eat and vice versa if having meals together is important to you both. If you are hungry while you wait for your partner to return home for dinner, eat a snack. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat when you are hungry and to eat what satisfies you.
This is so important! Communicating with your partner so that you both understand each others’ perspectives on food and your expectations around meals can clear up a lot of stress. You can learn from your partner, as well as teach them about intuitive eating, your eating struggles, the type of support you need, each others likes (and dislikes), who enjoys cooking, who does the dishes, and how big of an appetite you both have. For example, I remember when I was living with someone I would consistently find myself frustrated because I would look forward to eating something and by the time I was ready to eat it, he would have already finished it. After this happened a few times I told him how it made me feel and what I expected in return. I told him I don’t typically like to eat my leftovers so those are all his and that if he eats something I receive as a gift he should replace it or wait for me to share it with him because these are usually foods that I look forward to. This worked for us, so be sure to find what works for your dynamic.
5. STAY IN YOUR LANE
So many of us want to change our partners so that it’s easier for us to live with them. Remember that you are the one who chooses how you treat your body and what you feed it. It shouldn’t matter if your partner brings a certain tempting item into the house or eats around you when you’re not hungry. If you find yourself getting frustrated about this because you believe it’s making you gain weight you may need to assess what your focus is and if you’re truly eating intuitively. If you need help re-connecting to your path contact me today. There is a deeper reason why this behaviour bothers you. For example, if you find yourself distraught or angry because your partner innocently asked you to share a bite of food or they want to go on a diet because they want to become healthier there is something you may need to work through yourself. When your partner sees you respecting and honouring your body, they will be more likely to mirror those qualities back to you, plus it may even inspire them to become an intuitive eater (if they aren’t already).
6. JUST EAT
Let go of any rules around food such as cutting out certain foods, or eating a set number of calories, or being rigid about meal times. Instead focus on learning about what foods make you feel good during and after meal times, and stick to those when you figure it out. These foods may change as your body does. Say yes to eating the rich, luxurious cake (and no to the fat-free one) if that is what is calling you—it will likely be much more satisfying! Remember, sometimes we eat simply for the enjoyment of eating instead of hunger or nutrition. Know that this is okay. Your body wants to be healthy so it will balance itself, sometimes your metabolism will speed up to compensate or you will be less hungry the next day. You won’t gain weight from one meal just like you won’t lose weight from one meal. If the food doesn’t sound good and you eat it anyway, there could be a reason why you are choosing to. To uncover the root of this it can take some time, but you will get there if you honour your body. If you need help with this process book a session with me today.
This article briefly covered the surface of a lot of issues my clients have around food while living with other people. If you have specific questions and need support in this area contact me today.