Eating what you want versus what you need

Monday Monday!  Hello to all the new people visiting after the Woman’s Day article was picked up on!  Ya’ll almost exploded my blog 😀  Welcome!

It was so weird having a whole weekend off where I wasn’t traveling somewhere.  I just relaxed and did fun stuff, which was nice.  Watched a lot of football and saw my fantasy picks just go out the window.  I owe someone dinner this week.

I am changing up my workout routine a little bit now.  Dropping down to 2 lifting days each week just to give my body a bit of a break.  My thighs were actually a bit tight from the squats I did on Friday, so I decided this week will be a Tuesday/Friday schedule.  That meant today was a run day!  I grabbed some dates to fuel up pre-run.

Then I did 3 miles at a nice easy 11:00 minute pace.  It felt good.  Just sweaty enough (okay, I still get really sweaty).  I came home to find John already up and making coffee.  Sweet!  Then it was time to play for breakfast.  I made some peanut flour waffles!

These turned out good, so I will be posting them as a recipe tomorrow.  Topped with banana/maple topping.

Deep thoughts ahead!!

I had a couple more thoughts on the issue of intuitive eating and the statement to eat what you want.  When I was talking about the WFG book yesterday, I referenced that I think there is a difference between eating what your body wants and what it needs.  This is where I think the true difference lies between mindful eating and intuitive eating.

Your body really wants to work on simple terms.  The body understands carbs, protein, and fat, with other essential vitamins and minerals.  Your body will take stock and say “Gee, we are low on amino acids after that strength workout – send up the request to the brain for more protein.”  So you body sends a hunger signal.   Now your brain says, “It’s time for lunch!” and you eat.  The body receives what you put in it and picks through what it needs.  I have this vision in my head that it sorts through all the things you eat to get what it wants.  Sometimes the foods you eat do not give the body enough of what it wants.  Like say the body wanted protein and you just ate a 100-calorie snack pack.  So your body will tell you to eat again.

Or an example of if you are stressed.  Your body understands the use of the adrenaline and cortisol response, just not necessarily why you have that response.  That is the brain’s job.  The body thinks you need quick energy, so sends out a request for glucose, which could be any simple carb, fruit, etc.  Your brain says “I am having a hard day, I’ll have some chocolate”.  See the difference?

Taking example of eating what your body wants and someone will say “I want a giant sundae.”  Honestly, your body does not *want* to have a decadent chocolate sundae.  It just wants nutrients.  It will take what it can from that sundae and dispose or store the rest (hello hips).   I think that is the sticking point people have with intuitive eating.  Okay, it is the issue I have with it.  My mind will say I want to eat a ton of chocolate or have that slice of coffee cake with my latte.  But I also have to acknowledge that my body itself does not need it.  Sure, having it on occasion is fine, but it’s also knowing how to properly feed my body (which includes indulgences and treats).  Trying to temper the need and want is the real trick.  Eating should always be enjoyable and purposeful.

That’s  enough deep thoughts for a Monday. Anyone still here? :cricket:

Speaking of eating mindfully…. Here was lunch for today!  I had sort of a desire just to eat a bunch of cereal.  However, I know that isn’t really what my body needed for lunch.  I made a wrap with chicken, laughing cow and hot sauce!

Tasty and satisfying!

Work actually was very busy from the start today, which is a bit unusual, but I  was quite happy because it meant a full day of work was available to me!  I think I might just make it with this other job alone and get pretty much full time until I start the cupcake, bagel, coffee, soap business decide what to do.  They can’t give me an extra account, but I am welcome to do as much as is available  with the one I have.  Thank you!

John set me up with my latte, which I paired with a mint chocolate cup:

Calcium, protein, and carbs for the body, chocolate for the soul…

At the store yesterday, red pears were on sale!  I got a whole bunch so maybe John might be able to have one before I eat them all.  Included in dinner:

And gotta love breakfast for dinner with egg/feta scramble.

Is anyone else up for more snow?  We are predicted around 7 more inches by tomorrow night!  Eeeep!  I hope I can make it to the gym for lifting tomorrow morning since I didn’t do it today.

So that means we are also going out to the cafe  for coffee and chitchat tonight.  Gotta prevent the cabin fever. :mrgreen:

Question:  Do you distinguish between needs and wants when eating?

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41 thoughts on “Eating what you want versus what you need

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Eating what you want versus what you need | Finding Radiance --

  2. Lori Lynn

    I saw your article on Yahoo. Congrats on that! I struggle a lot with needs and wants with my eating. It’s hard for me to not go overboard and give in constantly to my cravings. What you said does make sense, and it’s something I want to continually work on.
    .-= Lori Lynn´s last blog ..Barney Fife – Nip It =-.

    1. Lori Post author

      I am always working on it as well. I don’t know if it will ever be easy, but it is easier than it used to be.

  3. Leah

    I am still struggling with eating needs vs. wants oftentimes. The weirdest part is more often than not I’m finding myself not wanting foods I have eaten regularly for years. Making myself mind what my body is really asking for versus what my mind is asking for is tough for me. You put that very well! Thank you!

    Snow would be fun here, but I don’t think my husband would agree. We had a beautiful, clear, sunny 56 degrees OK. Go figure. 😛
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Im a Gazelle =-.

  4. Cilla

    Congrats for the yahoo article 🙂
    I suppose I’m a work in progress on the wants vs needs thing. I try to plan for a good balance of protein, carbs & fats & nutrients to feed my body properly. As much as I’d like to think my body is asking for ice cream (my mind loves the stuff), I know that’s not the case.
    .-= Cilla´s last blog ..Today =-.

    1. Lori Post author

      I can only imagine what Roni’s inbox looks like since she was the top person in that article and I am in the middle. :O

  5. Jim

    Also saw the article on Yahoo, and clicked on a blog at random. Was curious about that a ‘weightlss blog’ looked like and why a person would do one.

    I see you have recipies! I picked the right blog to click. OK, I will bookmark it.

    I’ve been doing the same thing for almost a year. Lost about 40 of approx 50 pounds that need to go, same as most bloggers in that story: small changes toward healthier diet, and regular exercise. Taking walking as an example, when I started regular exercise last March, I would always get shinsplints and feel crippled after a half hour of brisk walking. Now I can go on 20 mile hike if I want, walking faster the whole way than I could for half an hour when I started, and feel fine afterwards.

  6. Kim Zepp

    Needs and wants… I guess I try to do that to a point. During the summer (prime triathlon and running race time) I make sure to get the carbs and protein when I know I need them.
    Last month I had a lots of ‘wants’ that I had trouble ignoring (Christmas cookies, chocolates…). Thankfully I’m doing much better with that this month.
    .-= Kim Zepp´s last blog ..More set-backs =-.

  7. debby

    Have to admit I got a little confused up in that paragraph about what the brain wants vs. what the body wants. But anyway, I do think about it quite a bit. Like today, I was thinking, I could have that cottage cheese/pineapple/walnut combo again for lunch, that is so good (I had it last night.) But then I thought, I really feel like I need some veggies, and I am not hungry enough for both of those. So I roasted some brussel sprouts and just ate those for lunch (don’t worry, I had already had an apple and a few nuts before I got to lunch.) Anyway, I do think about it a lot, trying to make sure I get enough protein (never thought that would be a problem!) and trying to listen to what my body needs. And all of this is a LOT easier if I am not eating that much sugar or flour.
    .-= debby´s last blog ..Safari Continues! =-.

  8. Jen @Making Messes

    I’m trying to strike this balance. I’ve flip flopped between intuitive eating and swift watchers. I like weight watchers now because I find myself eating more fruit and protein than I did w/ intuitive eating. I’m the intuitive eater whose body was “craving” cookies all day.

    Great post!

  9. Courtney

    This post reminded me of a chart that I seen on another blog once. I couldn’t find it to link, so I googled it instead. It’s really interesting to see what your body actually wants when you’re craving certain things.

    Here is the URL in case you haven’t seen it:

    I’ve been reading for a few months now, just shy about commenting. Thanks so much for being such an inspiration – your blog is the perfect mix of fitness/food. Especially love the lifting demo videos and the recipes!

  10. Patrick

    Just read your success story on yahoo, awesome! Hey, how smart is whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats—with the occasional cupcake in there; well obviously very smart!

  11. Ex Yo-Yo Debbie

    First, I was SO excited to see you as part of a news story on Yahoo…that is exciting!

    Your last two posts have intrigued me quite a bit. As someone who has yo-yo’ed up and down for 25 years, on and off diets, my whole focus has become to learn how to get to a healthy weight and to get off the diet rollercoaster once and for all.

    I am learning to be a more mindful eater and an intuitive eater – and even after reading everything I can get my hands on (including Women, Food, and God), it still feels very ill-defined and wishy-washy. Just last Friday, I made a statement on my blog that I’m going to try to write it all down, so that I can understand myself!

    I know I am using a combination of guidelines from different non-dieting approaches (and it is working), and it’s much more than just “eating what I want” – I tried that a couple of years ago and gained 15-20 pounds in a month on ice cream, donuts, and McDonalds (and I was already overweight). And after that weight gain, I gained more, eating out of depression…a vicious cycle of obesity.

    What I HAVE figured out is that I needed (and still need) to work on WHY I was overeating and self-medicating with food. It’s about changing habits in a way that fits with your life, so that you can make the changes last.

    Easy to say, but oh-so-hard to do.

    My congratulations to you, Lori! You are an example to us all of how to change your life!
    .-= Ex Yo-Yo Debbie´s last blog ..Just When You Think You Know Yourself147 lbs =-.

    1. Lori Post author

      Debbie – it really is so individual, isn’t it?

      I agree about the intuitive being ‘wishy-washy’ – that’s why I like the term ‘mindful’ better. 😀

  12. Jody - Fit at 53

    Great discussion Lori! I personally think there is a big difference between intuitive & mindful eating but for others it may be semantics.

    Heck every day I struggle with the wants but 99% of the time the needs & the health & fitness win out. After all these years, I know what my body needs after workouts & different times of the day plus I try to eat my best anyway (with my little treats planned for) BUT this does not mean I don’t have the wants all the time. I just know I can’t eat the wants all the time cause I would be rolling out of the house & not very healthy either!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 53´s last blog ..Label Reading – DO IT! =-.

  13. Helen

    No crickets here…PERFECT explanation on want vs. need Lori – really, really great! Although “hello hips” did make me laugh.

    And, um, speaking of wants, I want to know what kind of chocolate mint cups you have with your latte. I’ve seen the photos many times but never seen a brand? Just wondering. Because chocolate and mint is one of my favorite combinations and every once in a while, I give in to that want 🙂
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Replay! =-.

  14. Amy in Belgium

    I agree with you – it is a very fine line between eating what you need and eating what you want and for most of us (me especially!) hard to do. I find it very helpful to have a framework to work with, otherwise I am all over the place!
    .-= Amy in Belgium´s last blog ..Day 9- Morning Practice =-.

  15. Le Anne

    Hi. Yes, I did see your blog featured on yahoo. I scrolled through and followed the one that touched me the most and here I am! I really like the way you write and the lay out of your blog. I makes it easy to read.
    Now, I took the idea of blogging about the struggle of weight loss and am trying it out on my blog too. I just wanted to say that I have read through a few of your posts and I love it here! I love your food posts. I love your book reviews. I just love it all! I am adding you to my faves list and my morning reads!

  16. Mabelle @ Dance, Love, Dine

    Love your thoughts on intuitive eating! I have to say that 99% of the time I can definitely tell what my body needs vs. what my body wants. The wants usually come in the form of cake, cookies or chocolate. The needs is the healthier alternative. Some might argue is not that easy to narrow down but in reality—it is. I think is when we are loosing control of everything (including our eating and exercise habits) that things might become a little blurry or confusing but for the most part—we all know what we gotta’ do ;). PS: Ice rain in new york today yikes!
    .-= Mabelle @ Dance, Love, Dine´s last blog ..Trader Joes Finally! &amp Too Cool to buy Books =-.

  17. Amy aka that TOPS lady

    You had asked Dawn a question, about her being home already and I thought I’d answer for her in case she doesn’t. She is staying in a hotel near the hospital for a week or so, until she has her drains removed. 🙂

    I just discovered your blog and I LOVE it! I’m off to see your progress pics now. 🙂

  18. Ang

    I think I may finally be getting more intune with what I need. When it’s snack time I do a brief run through as to how many fruits/veg, fats, and proteins I’ve had and where I need to fill in some blanks and choose my snacks accordingly. If I see all my needs are met and I’m craving a piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream I just go for it!
    .-= Ang´s last blog ..The best laid plans =-.

  19. Fran

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the eating. I believe that’s okay to give your body what it wants as long as it’s in proportion. Most of what I eat should be about what my body needs and to treat it sometimes I give it what it wants 🙂

    Congrats on the blog explosion, if anyone deserves it, it’s you!

  20. Pubsgal

    Wow, congrats on the Yahoo! exposure. I found my way to this corner of blogdom through the article about Lynn H-B in CNN’s “Fit Nation” series. Before I even began, I started reading about more & more people who achieved and sustained a healthy lifestyle in a “real world” setting, and I think that planted the seed for my own changes. So, you never know who you’ll get going by sharing your story! I know you inspire me (and others) every day.

    Boy, that difference between what the mind wants and what the body needs food-wise is a tough one to negotiate sometimes. I don’t know if I’ll ever be at the place long-term where I can achieve the optimal balance without planning and through some “external” sort of keeping myself aware (whether logging, photos, checklist…I’ve used all to varying degrees). I guess I’m still working on the “I’m okay with that” part. 😉 I suspect that when I was reading the IE/mindful eating books, I think I was really looking for a “shortcut,” a method to achieve my right balance *without* needing to plan or track or think much about it. But I think what I continue to learn is that whether one uses tools or know-how (or “feel-how”), consistency with good habits over time is the key.
    .-= Pubsgal´s last blog ..Race Report- Las Vegas Rock &amp Roll Half Marathon Weekend! =-.

  21. Alissa

    I try to think about needs vs. wants- typically when I’m stressed or when I know that it might be my emotions telling me what to do. Some foods aren’t necessarily nutrient rich for us- but like you said, “chocolate for the soul.” Some foods are good for the soul! (in moderation)
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..I Shoveled- and Shoveled…and Shoveled =-.

  22. Karen

    Interesting! I read a book about intuitive eating and got hung up on this. I suspect that I don’t trust myself, or my body, enough to eat intuitively without being on some sort of “plan.” But then again, I realize that every time I went on a plan I went off the plan and regained weight. So maybe it is time to think more about this for myself.

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