Being a girl in her mid-twenties, you could say I've tried pretty much every 'diet' there is. I thought in high school it was cool and healthy to hardly eat all day, and then wouldn't get why I was tired all the time and had no energy. I've tried doing sugar detoxes, rewarding myself after doing a workout to not understanding why I wasn't seeing results, etc. Diets are a scam and they're exhausting. I finally realized that a few years back when I got sick and had to relearn how to feed my body properly.
Through a ton of trial and error, and a lot of failed diets that I didn't even consider a diet back then, I realized that listening to my body was the only way I would stay happy while seeing results and even better, feeling the results. You know how they say that life's a marathon, not a sprint? That is so true for your health as well. Even though I know where I am when it comes to health and fitness is great, it's definitely not anywhere close to where I want to be. Besides listening to my body.
I'll give you a little snippet of what intuitive eating entails. Intuitive eating is not a diet, it's a lifestyle. And that lifestyle includes eating what you feel your body needs, and eating only when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. Now when I say eating what your body needs, no, your body does not need fast food every single day. That's not what this is about. It's still a healthy lifestyle, but if you want pizza one day out of the week and a burger a couple days from then, absolutely do it.
Intuitive eating = not seeing food as good or bad. Eating what you want when you want it, and not depriving yourself or overeating. And if you mess up, that's totally okay too. Ever since I've started eating intuitively, I've noticed the guilt of eating certain foods has gone away. I don't feel bad if I've craved something 'naughty' for weeks and didn't work out that day and decided that's when I want to eat it. I'm still trying to get over the guilt of missing a workout, but hey, it happens to the best of us.
Intuitive eating makes it easy for you to know what else you need. I almost always know if I've had too many carbs and not enough protein during a meal because I'm still hungry after. Do I go back for more chicken? Absolutely. Do I feel bad about it? Not at all. I also work out late at night because it relaxes me before bed, and there is a huge myth that says you're not supposed to eat before bed. If I work out late at night and I'm starving after, there is no way I'll be able to sleep. But if I'm not hungry at all after, I don't eat. It's as simple as that.
Somedays, you're going to be ravenous and want to eat every 10 minutes. Other days, you won't have an appetite at all and won't feel hungry. This is where listen to your body comes in. If I'm starving, I'm going to eat. If I'm not hungry, I won't eat. Intuitive eating is that simple, but a ton of people think that they're supposed to skip meals if they've eaten too much. If you had a big lunch, opt for a smaller dinner like a chicken salad. Or if you had a big breakfast, opt for a smaller lunch and avoid the morning snack. Don't deprive yourself. It's really a super simple strategy that is the best 'diet' ever, but there are a ton of people (including myself) that still struggle with when, what, and where to eat.
Even though this totally works for some people, counting calories can become an obsession. However, once you stop looking at food as numbers and as fuel for your body, you'll realize that it's the ingredients in the food that actually matters. When was the last time a diet worked for you? When was the last time you stuck to it? Intuitive eating is not a diet, and that's why it's easy to stick with. Once you start trusting your body, your body will start trusting you. If your designated cheat day is supposed to be on Saturday but you're craving pizza on Thursday, why wait? It won't kill you to have it two days earlier, and you'll be ready to get back to your normal routine the next day.
The results you'll get from intuitively eating (which let me mention again, means a balanced diet that lets you eat things you love but also encourages healthy eating) will change your life. You'll stop worrying, feeling guilty, and always thinking about food. You'll also see food as fuel, and not as a punishment. Getting your dessert taken away as a kid as a punishment easily fueled a spark inside of you that said desserts are a reward. With intuitive eating, desserts and a salad are the same thing. It's just what your body needs in that moment.