I’m recording this podcast on the bed, amidst a huge pile of laundry I need to fold! But I’m putting a pause on that for the moment, because I want to share a bit about intuitive living. So many of my clients (and myself, of course), get started with intuitive eating, and eventually find ourselves living intuitively as well.
(The women who have worked with me in the past are in a group called Intuitive Living Ladies, because this work truly becomes so much more than *just* a way of eating. If you’d like to join the group, let’s work together! I have a few options available now, and another program kicking off in April. You can find out more at www.caitlinball.com/apply.)
Following Your Intuition
Once you start eating intuitively, you start to learn what it means to listen to your body, your gut, and your internal cues. This is really just listening to your intuition, and it’s a huge part of intuitive eating!
Once you start tapping into your intuition for one area (like eating), it becomes natural to do it in other areas as well. Life becomes so much simpler when you’re able to do what’s right for you. As you get in tune with your OWN wants and needs (instead of other people’s expectations), lots of daily decisions get so much easier!
Following your intuition can bring you to places that you would have never imagined! Below, I’ll share a few areas of my own life that have changed as a result of eating (and now living) intuitively.
One of the first areas that is impacted for many women is movement. Intuitive movement is often linked with intuitive eating, partly because we connect diet and exercise in our minds. As we learn to listen to our bodies’ nutritional needs, we can start to consider her movement needs as well.
Years ago, I used to dread attending bootcamp classes…but I kept forcing myself to go to them. Not anymore! I’ve found that what feels good to me often includes walking and yoga. Lately, it’s included dance too! I’ve need to let go, have fun, and move joyfully, so I’ve found ways to work that in. My clients often do the same (with whatever feels good to their own bodies, of course). I also enjoy light strength training and a bit of pilates.
Instead of moving in ways that we think we have to (usually because we’re trying to burn calories and lose weight), we can focus on how we want to move. The mental shift makes such a difference! All of a sudden movement can be fun (and feel good). And when that’s the case, we are much more likely to keep moving!
Many of my clients find themselves doing more activities that light them up! Too often as adults, we get busy and start to skip the fun parts of life.
In order to enjoy day to day living, you need to be doing fun activities that you enjoy. That means you need to make time for them! One important thing to remember – this isn’t about doing an “approved” activity that other people will think is “cool”.
This is about you doing what you love and enjoy.
No one else needs to understand or approve it. You get to do what you love, for your own sake. (Fun side benefit: you might find a tribe of people who like that same thing too!)
Give yourself the gift of time (and non-judgmentalism), and see what happens!
If you’re super stuck, consider what you loved as a kid. I remember really enjoying baking as a kid, so I’ve been looking for ways to do more of that. As a busy mom, it can be hard to get hours alone for peaceful baking. But I can get creative by finding ways to get my son involved with that. Since I don’t always love activities that 3 year olds do…I’ve realized I can find fun things (like crafts and baking) to involve him in. And then we both have fun!
Don’t be too quick to assume you don’t have time. By getting creative, you can likely find ways to incorporate activities that bring back a bit of joy.
This one is huge for your relationships!
When you are consistently working on becoming more confident in understanding and communicating your needs, it has such a positive impact on your relationships. I talked about this a bit more in depth in my recent self-love episode.
As you get to know yourself, you can better know what you need in a relationship. Often our frustration with those we are in relationship with is deeply connected to unmet needs and desires. And if we aren’t honest with ourself about what our needs or desires even are…
How can we expect someone else to meet them?
By getting clear with our own selves about who we are and what we need, we can then begin sharing that information with others.
The honest truth is that there may be relationships in your life that aren’t serving you. If you’ve been made to feel judged, unworthy, or just not great because of a relationship you’re in, living intuitively may mean creating more space and distance. Your safety and sense of self-worth truly are important.
When eating intuitively, you’re encouraged to only buy foods you truly love. That also means you start thinking more about the quality of the food you’re consuming.
This mindset can start to creep into other areas!
From cleaning products, beauty supplies, your favorite pens, and even the cushy pillows on your bed…
You start to think more about how each thing makes you feel, as well as the sort of quality you’d really like to have.
This doesn’t have to mean you overhaul your whole life! I started to think about my personal products first. As I would finish one off, I’d shop around a bit and replace it with something that seemed like a better fit for my life.
Then I took a look at my cleaning supplies. When I thought about all the chemicals I was breathing in, I just didn’t feel good about it. Again, this is an easy area to use the “replacement” method with. As you finish one product that you’re just not loving, you can try replacing with something that feels better to you.
My husband and I also took on this challenge with our furniture. Slowly, we swapped out our early furniture with more expensive, quality furniture that we knew would last.
In addition to the purchases we were making, there were purchases we were NOT making.
One big area that I’ve seen my purchasing decease is clothing!
Instead of buying things just because they are cheap, on sale, or easily accessible, I started thinking more about quality, environmental impact, as well as whether I would really truly love a certain item. That doesn’t mean I never snag something cute in the Target clearance section, but it does mean I’m trying to make more of an effort to invest in quality items that I truly love.
Intuitive Living Resources
Over time, I ended up replacing all my body products, started using essential oils, and really noticing what things made me feel good in (and on) my body. My focus has been feeling good in mind, body, and spirit, and I realized that the things I buy and put into my life are a part of that!
I also ended up loving one product line so much (Beauty Counter), that I became a partner with them! They are working to change ingredient laws so that toxic ingredients will no longer be allowed. As they take that on, they are also providing amazing, quality products that we can use now to safely care for our bodies.
I’ve been working on updating my Resources page for those who are interested in learning more about my recommendations. (It’s still a work in progress, but I’m adding new things all the time!)
With all of those areas that we can practice intuitive living, I want to remind you that this isn’t about judgement! It’s really important that you don’t start beating yourself up and forcing yourself to be “better” because you aren’t “good enough”.
All of this work is about self-love, self-care, and listening to yourself. Take your time, explore what feels right for you, and don’t make rules for what you are (or are not) allowed to purchase or use. That’s not the purpose here!
Intuitive Living + Eco Friendly Living
Finally, intuitive eating has led me towards wanting to be more environmentally friendly. For me, that means making more active decisions about what I do in my life. (One fun one is groceries for a cause!)
Some of my concern is for the greater good of the whole world. And some of it’s a little bit selfish – I personally want to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and appreciate clean oceans.
Just like the story about the man picking up starfish one by one, I believe in the power of doing small things. Even though I can’t change everything, I can make a little difference.
Some small things I do?
I bring my reusable bags to the store when I go shopping. When eating out, I put my restaurant leftovers in my own tupperware (when I remember to bring one), and I’ve been getting reusable snack bags (and beeswax wraps) too. I’m trying to purchase more clothing that’s been fairly sourced, and to shop locally more often. Recently, I joined a “buy nothing” FB group for my town. It’s a group to give away things you no longer need (and to potentially get a few things too). Try going to FB and searching “buy nothing ____” and adding your town’s name in the end!
No matter what intuitive living looks like for you, give yourself grace and remember to have fun with it! This is a chance to get to know yourself better, to honor your needs, and to tune in to your intuition.