I see you, momma. You’re zipping from one task to another taking care of your kids, working full-time and caring for a household. You have little time to think about yourself between doing loads of laundry, wiping butts, and making meals!
It seems easier to follow a diet plan or regimen so you don’t have to think about it too much. The thing is—these “plans” will have you thinking WAY TOO MUCH about your body and food. And they won’t work.
You need a better and life-long way of caring for your body and health.
That’s where intuitive eating comes in. If you’re unfamiliar with intuitive eating, be sure to check out this blog post to learn the basics. The thing about intuitive eating is that, although we are born with the skills to do it, we often have to re-learn these skills which takes time, patience, and intention. Three things that aren’t exactly easy-peasy with kids in tow.
But don’t worry–I’ve done it. I believe being a mother strengthens your intuition, and we have an advantage for using it to care for our kids and ourselves. I’m on the other side developing intuitive eating skills, and I can tell you I spend way less time thinking about my body and food then I ever did before. I’m able to implement intuitive eating skills, almost without thinking, even when I’m super busy and distracted. It’s second-nature, again! That’s the goal!
Remember: Intuitive eating doesn’t mean perfect eating. Expect imperfection, especially during motherhood!
If you’re thinking about starting your intuitive eating journey, keep in the mind these tips for intuitive eating amidst the chaos of motherhood and a toddler’s “schedule”!
#1 Get your toddler on an (flexible) eating schedule. Eating meals and snacks around the same times each day helps them regulate their hunger and gives YOU predictability in when they will be eating, sleeping, playing, etc.
#2 Eat with your kids when possible. This doesn’t have to be every meal, maybe just a meal or snack each day. It’s totally fine to want to have a peaceful meal or snack (more on this later!). However, eating WITH your kids may help you get yourself on a predictable eating pattern as well, allows you to check-in with yourself, and gives you reasonable increments to nourish your body throughout the day. So instead of trying to clean-up the kitchen or do other things while your kids eat (and neglecting your own hunger), sit and eat with them! This is also a great chance to model eating behaviors for your kiddos, so don’t worry, you’re not wasting time!
#3 Don’t overcomplicate meal time. Simple simple simple. Keep meals simple. Thinking too much about meals, overcomplicating, and spending tons of time in the kitchen takes up more brain space, having less space to give attention to your intuition and mindfulness.
There’s a time and a place for well-planned, elaborate meals made with lots of love (and time). Those are my favorite meals to make! But I’m a busy mom, like you, and I don’t get to make those meals every night. There’s not much time between arriving home and going to bed. Simplifying mealtime is one way to help you stress less, and save you energy to (again) develop your intuitive eating skills. I recommend, first, to only make one meal for the whole family. You are NOT a short order cook, and you do not have to make separate meals for everyone based on preferences.
#4 Schedule in a time of day you can have a quiet meal or snack to practice your intuitive eating skills. There will undoubtedly be times when you can’t be mindful or intuitive at mealtimes because of motherhood chaos. It’s okay. However, it will get easier and become more second nature during these times, when you’ve had some practice. Be patient with yourself while you’re learning!
#5 Anticipate your hunger and be prepared. Keep satisfying snacks on hand to satisfy you when hunger strikes. After some intention, you’ll start to learn what foods are satisfying and when you’ll likely start to get hungry—be prepared. And again, don’t overcomplicate. I love keeping fresh fruits, cheese, peanut butter oatmeal balls, granola bars or yogurt on hand for a quick and satisfying snack when I need it. Pro-tip: keep nuts or bars in your purse or diaper bag when you’re out and about!
More than anything else, when you’re raising toddler’s and striving to care for yourself, you must always expect imperfection! Be patient with yourself. Be compassionate. Take it one step at a time. The great thing about intuitive eating is that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. You will never fail. It’s learning process that doesn’t have to be perfected. Pursuing intuitive eating amidst the chaos of motherhood will show it’s challenges, but the value for you and your kids is limitless!
Need help? Just ask! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or learn more about my coaching program for moms here.