Healthy and Sane

Eating intuitively vs. eating “whatever you want”

March 31st, 2010 · 35 Comments · breakfast, crock pot meals, favorite recipes, scallops, vegetarian meal

I’ve been feeling under the weather the past few days. Although I am thankful that I am getting it “out of my system” before our vacation (going to Aruba next Friday!!!), it is really throwing me off my intuitive eating “game.” I feel crappy and hungry… and I’ve fallen into the trap of eating junk “because I can.” I am not judging myself for this but I would like to change it. In my opinion, there is a big difference between eating whatever I want and eating intuitively. My “sensors” for what I truly want are still screwed up. I am used to emotional eating and with my guard down due to my cold, I am giving in to those urges. I know I’m eating too much sugar – my body doesn’t need or really want it but I keep reaching for more! I hope once my throat doesn’t feel like someone stuck a fist in it and won’t let go, everything will be back to normal. I’m fighting for it.

To help me fight this cold, I have been eating clementines and oranges like it’s been my job. I’ve been obsessed with oranges lately. Just can’t get their sweet juices out of my mind! I also finally had a chance to try the Simply Orange juice. I received a free coupon from the company to taste and review it on the blog. I very rarely drink fruit juices but this one came at the right time. I need all the vitamin C I can get. Simply Orange juice is made of 100% orange juice – that’s it! That’s my kind of ingredients list. :)

Unfortunately, although I love oranges, orange juice is too sweet for me. See the tiny glass I poured myself? I had to choke it down – it was way too sweet. I think Simply Orange needs to use less sweet oranges. 😉 Ok, that’s a joke. Adam drinks OJ on a daily basis and really liked this one. I’ll stick to whole oranges myself. 😀 The rest of today’s breakfast…

Plain oikos, 2 clementines, 1 banana walnut muffin, TJ’s nutty American trek mix + coffee

To help me get out of my funk, I’ve also been trying to cook some healthy meals. Yesterday’s dinner (also known as today’s lunch) could not be more simple. I know I need my energy so in 5 minutes of prep (and 7 hours in the crock pot), we had a nutritious meal of peppers stuffed with rice, beans, corn, cheese and salsa (recipe can be found here. Thanks, Travis! 😀 ).

This was the easiest meal I’ve made in ages. I loved that you didn’t even need to cook the rice – the crockpot took care of it all! As for the taste – it wasn’t bad but nothing earth shattering either. I used a fraction of the cheese, extra corn and nonfat greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I’d probably make this again just because of how easy this was.

Tonight’s dinner was a bit more complex and it was amazing!!! I started with this recipe from Cooking Light for scallops in champagne mushroom sauce. I planned on serving it with some roasted broccoli but Adam and I were so hungry we couldn’t wait for it. So yeah, instead of waiting for 40 minutes for broccoli, I boiled some orzo (took 10 minutes!) and massaged some kale with EVOO, lemon juice, and S&P.

OMG – SOOOOO good! The scallops were perfectly seared (I made sure to really pat them dry and then didn’t move them around the pan) and the mushroom sauce was so incredibly creamy and flavorful. By the way, I cooked 1lb of scallops and then doubled the amount of sauce (although probably only used 1.5x sour cream). The lemony kale also went really nice with the scallops. Best homemade dinner I’ve made in a while, in my opinion. Definitely guest-worthy!

Since we opened a bottle of sparkling wine to cook with, I also poured myself a little glass to have with dinner (I probably had 1/2 of this). Not a bad way to end the night if I say so myself 😉

Oh and here is some evidence of the clementines I’ve been consuming…

And there was a lot more delicious junk that we’ll just quickly run through…

Um, the above container was purchased tonight! 😳

Surprisingly, all this junk did not even make me feel sick. I’m am thankful for that. Tomorrow I plan on kicking it up a notch in the fruit and veggie department. We went grocery shopping tonight before dinner so our fridge is fully stocked. 😀

Do you believe there is a difference between eating intuitively and eating whatever you want? Do they ever become one in the same?

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35 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Tiffany

    Oh, man, those scallops look so delicious! *applauds* Well done!

  • #2 - Lauren

    What a coincidence! I made stuffed peppers (with very similar ingredients) from “Bella Eats” last night. I’m excited to play around with different fillings.

    I think there can be a difference between eating intuitively and eating whatever you want. To me, eating intuitively is paying attention to what your body wants/needs, whereas eating whatever you want is listening only to what your brain is telling you to eat.

    That being said, I also think they can be one in the same. If your brain is telling you to eat what your body needs (i.e. nutritious whole foods) then you’re eating intuitively, but the food just happens to be what you really want! They don’t always overlap for me, but they often do nowadays. I find myself craving healthy foods most of the time – which sets the stage for a few indulgences now and then :).

  • #3 - Matt

    My philosophy on eating is “eat what you want, but in moderation”. Eating healthy for me is like second nature though.

  • #4 - Erica

    I love your dishware! That Donald Duck mug is adorable :) I try to eat things in moderation but find that sometimes I can’t stop myself when I really like something. I therefore try to keep some things out of my house!

  • #5 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    Eating intuitively is eating what you KNOW you need by what you KNOW about yourself. Eating whatever you want is letting your mind and body loose to give into emotional eating, stress eating, boredom eating and such.

    Intuitively eating is smart. Eating whatever you want is probably not a good idea.

  • #6 - Jamie in Arkansas

    First of all, I just want to say that I love your blog! I enjoy your honesty and I see myself in your struggles. It’s helpful to know that we all have the same issues! I constantly battle myself over calorie-counting, portion control, intuitive eating, eating the right foods to fuel my workouts & marathon training vs. trying to lose weight. It’s all so complicated. You are not alone! :)

  • #7 - Christie {Honoring Health}

    Thanks for bringing this us. I think many people are misguided about the difference between eating whatever you want and intuitive eating. For me, since I am recovering for disordered eating, eating whatever I wanted was an important part of learning to eat intuitively. I had to work through all foods to legalize them and by doing that, they lost their power over me. After that, I really started to learn the difference between listening to my body and listening to my mind. Very different things. And now, that I am feeding my body what it needs on a daily basis, the two have become the same.

  • #8 - Lauren @ Eater not a runner

    Your dinner looks delicious! I like the idea of the lemony kale with the scallops :-)

  • #9 - Sophie @ yumventures

    Both of your meals look to die for! I never knew you could make stuffed peppers in a crock pot! And I love scallops….I’ve heard about massaged kale, but never made it! Delicious!

  • #10 - Shannon

    umm, well, as someone who’s kinda in the same boat, i think i need to break the cycle of sugar (eat sugar want more sugar) before i won’t crave it anymore. sure, i crave veggies and other good stuff, but sugar behaves like a drug to me so i have to be better about it. then i think things will fall into place. i had a great week last week, then a slip-up this weekend and i’m struggling to get back to good :/ it will come though!

  • #11 - Nicky

    i totally think there’s a difference between the two! it’s so much easier when you’re not sick or super stressed to tell what your body actually wants. i’m in the sugar boat as well though, it’s a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

  • #12 - Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    I think so! I think after you’ve been eating intuitively for awhile, you start to crave those things. I don’t eat loads of roasted veggies because I should, but because I LOVE them!

  • #13 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    Such an awesome post/topic! I think it’s really important to make the distinction between intuitive eating and eating whatever you want, although I’ve never thought about it in such concrete terms.

    I think that there’s a physical side to hunger and a mental/emotional side to hunger. While occasionally intuitive eating involves eating based on the mental side, most of the time it’s based on the physical side. So while our MINDS might want more sugar, if we really tune into our body we find that that isn’t what it’s craving, if that makes sense.

  • #14 - Kelly

    I loe when you discuss stuff like this because it’s interesting to me and something I also believe in. For me the big difference is about being mindful. Eating whatever I want means I’m usually not paying attention to what really satisfies me, hunger cues, etc. When I’m eating intuitively I’m thinking about how I am feeling at that moment. Am I really hungry or bored? Is what I am eating something that is really worth it and satisfying? Etc.

  • #15 - Biz

    If I ate intuitively, I’d probably eat all day long! I am sticking with bigger calorie meals – 500 to 600 per meal (b,l and dinner) and find that I don’t have to snack hardly at all between meals, which is huge for me!

    I weigh in tomorrow after not weighing in since Feb. 28 – we’ll see!

    Hope you feel better for your vacation!

  • #16 - Cristina

    Aruba? Oh I’ve been there and here are my restaurant recommendations based on personal experience. I loved Mooba Beach. Yes it’s a restaurant that is literally ON a beach. It’s a beautiful setting and they have little lights in the trees that brighten up the ambiance. Also, El Gaucho is great and so is Le Petite Cafe. If you’re in the downtown part of Aruba, visit Iguana Joe’s.

    Hope that helps you out. ALso, I think you can visit the restaurants websites online.

  • #17 - MelissaNibbles

    Great post. I think eating intuitively isn’t about eating whatever you want, but more about listening to your hunger signals and knowing when to put the fork down. That’s something I’ve yet to master.

    So jealous of your vaca!

  • #18 - Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers

    i’ve never heard of making stuffed peppers in the crock pot. love this idea!

  • #19 - coco

    yes, i totally see that it’s easy to confuse those two. We’ve been so conditioned to think that when w want something it’s because we need to. I need to think about that more and eat with a flow~ nice topic! :)
    that scallop dish looks divine!~~~

  • #20 - Husband Adam

    The leftovers were really good today!

  • #21 - Cara

    Is there a difference? yes! When I eat whatever I want, the scale just slaps me in the face. If I actually stopped to think about whether I really wanted that food, it probably wouldn’t be so harsh on me. Case in point: I am currently +6lbs from last Friday, due to weekend laxness (is that is a word?) and two Passover seders Monday and Tuesday. (I’m not too worried since I know it’s not “real” weight and should come back off fairly quickly, but I can’t help being a little annoyed!)

    Anyway, I digressed. Your scallop dish looks delicious :)

  • #22 - Amanda @ LessonsInModeration

    Those scallops look bangin! I wish my husand ate seafood so I could try that recipe out tonight! Intuitive eating can be so challenging because there is so much food noise to tune out. I don’t look at unplanned pig out days as a complete loss because eventually it does help me learn what my body really needs and how it reacts to certain foods.

  • #23 - Lara (Thinspired)

    All of your eats look pretty darn balanced to me! The question about eating whatever you want and eating intuitively is my exact problem with IE. I don’t know if it’s just years of not listening to my body, but when I do try to listen, my body “tells” me to eat my favorite indulgent foods, and lots of them.
    I am sure that for many people who have been practicing for years, there is a difference between the two, but for me, I’m still working on it!

  • #24 - Sues

    Both the stuffed peppers and the scallops look amazing!! I really need to cook scallops at home more.

    I know what you mean about orange juice too… My bf makes fun of me because sometimes I add water to my glass… I have an aunt that does it bc she’s cheap and wants her OJ to last longer; I do it because I can’t handle all the sweetness!

    And I much prefer an orange or clementine too :)

  • #25 - RunToTheFinish

    Sooo true that were I to eat what I want some days it really would be lots of veggies…others it would be cookies! Hope you are feeling better, as yes you must be recouped for an amazing vaca

  • #26 - Jackie

    I think that there is a difference, but then I don’t.. :) Lemme explain..

    Someone mentioned above that they had an eating disorder. The first part of IE (if I remember correctly) is allowing all foods to be good foods, or not labeling foods as good or bad anymore. If that means eating 4 cookies because you WANT them, so be it. However, the next-ish step is listening to your body’s signals. Most of the time, our taste buds want those cookies and not our bellies..

    With that said, there are times that we do need that chocolate. When I was stressing about exams last week, I just needed chocolate. Was it emotional? Heck yes. Did it make me feel instantly better physical, mentally, and emotionally? Yes. So I think my body wanted that chocolate and not just my head/taste buds..

    There will always be a discrepancy. One thing I take from IE is loving yourself. Normally that means listening to your signals, not over-stuffing yourself, eating when hungry, etc. But I think a big part of that is just being happy with who you are. If you have the cookies, enjoy them like no other. If you take a step back and your body really doesn’t want food, then respect its wishes and not eat anymore despite how good they might taste.

    I’m not sure if that answered the question, but that’s just what I’ve been thinking while reading the post/comments.

    I hope you feel better and your trip goes well. :)

  • #27 - Allie

    those scallops look fantastic!!

  • #28 - Kaylee

    I LOVE your blog, Elina! You are so honest with your feelings and struggles. I can completely relate to everything you say!
    I got married 10 years ago and quickly packed on 25 pounds in a year and completely freaked out! And now over the past 2 years I have lost 35 pounds and have ran 2 marathons and have drastically changed my life style!
    We all have days where we “fall off the wagon” but life is about moderation and eating so organically and working out regularly like you do you will ALWAYS be fit, healthy and happy!
    Congrats! Job well done!

  • #29 - Productivity can lead to work satisfaction?

    […] Eating intuitively vs. eating “whatever you want” […]

  • #30 - Alice

    I think eventually, when they become the same, then IE has truly been reached. It’s like how you said – at first your body/mind is confused about what you really want. I think once you ‘master’ IE, then you are eating what you want – what your tummy wants, your mind wants, and your cells want, you know? I am probably making no sense :) Oh well – in my head I am!

    Man I wish I could find choc edamame here! Yum.

  • #31 - Bridget

    Those scallops look amazing, I want to make that meal like NOW! Maybe tomorrow :) I haven’t had scallops in a while and they are one of my favs!! Love the whole meal!!

  • #32 - Elina

    You guys are all very wise and I agree with all of you. Can I be in politics or what? 😆 No seriously, it all makes sense and I feel like this journey is so worth the end result. Thanks again for reading this little blog. 😀

  • #33 - Health for the Whole Self » What It Means to Honor Cravings

    […] For more reading, check out Elina’s post from a few weeks ago on eating intuitively versus eating whatever you want. […]

  • #34 - KellyB

    So I made the pepper crock pot recipe yesterday. My rice was sort of crunchy and I cooked it fro 6 hours. I’m wondering if I used the wrong rice. I did like it though. and will try it again.

  • #35 - Michelle

    I think that giving into cravings are okay as long as you can get yourself back on track afterwards. I hope you get better in time for your vaca!