Today we are going to dive into a hot topic: intuitive drinking!
Drinking intuitively can apply to alcohol, of course, but it’s so much more than that. In this episode, we’ll discuss alcohol, water, coffee, and more! Do you think it’s possible to consume beverages intuitively? Let’s talk it through!
Exciting news! I’m re-opening my Food Freedom & Body Confidence Challenge. This is perfect for anyone who is ready to dive dive deeper into intuitive eating. It’s also great if you’re in a bit of a rut, or need some extra encouragement. This time, it’s open at all times (no more waiting for a certain start date). I can’t wait for you to get started!
Intuitive Drinking: Water
Human bodies need a lot of water in general. That’s why water consumption should be a priority. However…
Sometimes an emphasis on drinking lots of water is actually diet talk! Rather than use hydration as a tactic to decrease food consumption or control food intake, let’s remember to think of it as a gift to our bodies. When I drink water before meals, I think of it as a helpful gauge for how much food my body will need to be satisfied.
I don’t use it as a tactic to trick myself into eating less! Instead, I intuitively drink an amount that feels good for me. What I eat pairs with that; it’s an intuitive balancing act designed to make me feel really good.
Hydration is all about self-love and self-care. If you notice that you’re thinking of water as an appetite suppressant, check in with yourself. Look for signs that you might be letting a diet mindset creep in.
Drinking water regularly helps me feel really good. Sometimes I have to do little hacks to help me stay hydrated, because I’ll forget to drink enough. Keeping a full bottle on hand, adding fruit slices to your water, or trying bubbly water can help you enjoy your hydration!
Intuitive Drinking: Soda
My last diet ever was the Whole 30 diet. (This was a few months before I discovered intuitive eating.) I don’t recommend doing this diet unless you’re trying to pinpoint a food allergy (although if that’s the case, I’d recommend working with a dietitian and a proper elimination diet).
However, doing Whole 30 did give me one major realization: I had a serious Diet Coke habit! Soda wasn’t part of the Whole 30 plan, so I gave it up for 30 days. Afterwards, when I went to enjoy a Diet Coke I realized I didn’t really like them anymore. The strong sweeteners and chemical taste no longer appealed to me. (I didn’t make any “rules” about not drinking them…just honestly didn’t like them anymore.)
I also realized I had been using Diet Coke as a habit. It seems I didn’t actually enjoy them that much, and I was often using them as a way of passing up the treat I had actually been craving.
You don’t need to give up Diet Coke (or any other soda) just because I did! My own preference is to eat sweet things, rather than drink them. Bubbly waters and kombucha keep me super satisfied and happy on the beverage front. Every once in a while I find myself craving a Fanta (or some other soda), and I’ll enjoy one when that happens. Nothing to stress over!
One of my clients recently told me that she actually started drinking more sugary drinks and sodas the first few weeks of intuitive eating. For a long time she hadn’t allowed herself to drink them, and without restrictions she decided to enjoy them! Eventually, however, she realized they were giving her stomach trouble. Once she realized that, she stopped drinking them. This time, it wasn’t about following rules: it was about feeling good.
Having the mindset that you can eat or drink anything is so freeing! If you drink something and ultimately decide you don’t like how it makes you feel, you can choose not to drink it. And if you continue drinking soda because your body tells you that it can feel good while doing so, then enjoy them!
Feel free to experiment. Play with quantities, and pay attention to your body. It will let you know what works for you!
Drinking Intuitively: Alcohol
First things first: why are you drinking? Is it coming from a good place? Is it coming from a place of need?
There are all sorts of reasons we drink alcohol. Are you having a great time? Is alcohol increasing your enjoyment of a situation?
Are you really stressed? Is alcohol a coping mechanism?
Drinking a bit of alcohol to help you destress isn’t really a problem. Just like with emotional eating; you won’t ruin your life or your day by consuming something you enjoy. However, if you’re drinking in excess, or drinking something that makes your body feel worse, you might think about making adjustments.
Would journaling, taking a long bath, or going for a walk help you cope AND feel better?
Or does relaxing with a glass of wine feel right for you?
Personally, I’ve found that drinking when I’m in a bad mood doesn’t work well for me. Alcohol, after all, is a depressant. When I’m down and I drink, it just makes me feel worse. (And that feeling tends to linger into the next day!) Checking in with my body let me know that it would be better for me to practice a different form of self care (like getting extra sleep or talking to a friend). Drinking alcohol when I’m tired has a similar effect.
Rather than doing it anyway, I choose to find different ways to fulfill my needs and honor my body.
I do like consuming alcohol when I’m feeling celebratory! A toast with my husband, or a fun night out with my friends are reasons I enjoy drinking. If I happen to be at an event that I’m not really enjoying, I choose not to drink to “fix it”. Instead, I just go home!
A few other things I’ve noticed about myself:
- Day drinking makes me super over-tired…and if I try to nap it off, I wake up feeling nauseous and awful. It doesn’t work for me!
- Really sweet and sugary drinks give me a major day-after headache. Who needs that?
- Organic wines with lower sulfates are more enjoyable to me, and also give me less “day after” struggles.
- Drinking a lot of water before (and in-between) drinks makes me feel a lot better while drinking.
- Sometimes I just want to have fun! Total freedom, no limits. When I fill this way, I can choose not to worry about the after-effects. That method wouldn’t feel good day-to-day….but occasionally it feels right!
Drinking Intuitively: Coffee & Tea
Originally, I didn’t think intuitive eating would change my coffee & tea habits at all! Personally, I really don’t like coffee flavors. (I can’t even eat tiramisu, even though I love chocolate).
I’ve had clients, however, who have had lots of coffee-related experiments.
They tell me that everything from what you put in your coffee, how much of it you drink, and when you drink it can impact your body. Each of them end up settling on a different way of enjoying coffee, and they are doing it exactly right for themselves. There isn’t a “wrong” answer, and I would encourage to experiment with what feels good for you.
My coffee-free ways haven’t changed. I have, however, had some changes in my tea-drinking life. I found that drinking caffeine every day was making me more tired in the long term. The initial rush was great…but the afternoon crash was NOT.
Intuitive drinking helped me understand that the more tired I am, the less caffeinated beverages I should consume. In addition, being super stressed is not a good time for me to add caffeine into the mix.
Personally, I know I can drink a few chai teas every week and still feel good. The rest of the time, I enjoy non-caffeinated teas that I can savor without that caffeine boost that makes me feel less than great.
If you’re like my grandma or husband, your body might have zero problems processing caffeine. At the end of the day, the important thing is that you check in with yourself and figure out what works for you!
Drinking Intuitively: Juice & Smoothies
Using these beverages for cleanses is so popular! Many of us connect them to weight loss and previous dieting attempts…which doesn’t feel great.
With smoothies, I’ve realized I don’t like “drinking” my breakfast, so I make all my smoothies in a bowl now. My son and I have so much fun adding fun toppings, like fruits, nuts, and granola. (It’s also tastes great to add spinach, cocoa nibs, and so much more. Have fun with it!)
As far as juice goes…
I used to own a juicer because I wanted to be able to do juice diets and lose weight fast. Whenever I did that, I had a headache the whole day and felt terrible. Here’s the thing: our bodies naturally detox, and we don’t need to do cleanses to help them out.
If you love juice, go for it! Enjoy it, and pay attention to how different kinds of juices make you feel. And if not, no worries. You aren’t missing out on anything that you “need”.
At the end of the day, only you are you! Pay attention to your body so you can give it what feels good. If you over-drink something and don’t feel great? Don’t stress! Sometimes we get the best feedback by overdoing it. Once you know, you can make adjustments that let you enjoy everything you want to enjoy. Intuitive drinking is just one more tool that you get to use to feel great in your body.