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Poll: Which inner voice carries the most weight when you’re deciding what to eat?

November 6, 2009

Last month’s poll

Our last poll asked the question, How do you like your bananas? We had 67 voters in total: 6% never eat bananas, 72% prefer their bananas au natural (peeled and eaten plain), and 22% like to mix and mash them into other foods. Bananas are such a classic standby and they are a major player in a lot of healthy/healthified recipes. Go bananas!

This month’s poll

Yesterday afternoon I got to spend a lovely hour with my nutritionist Nicole. We have so much fun together! I could rave about her and our discussion, but suffice it to say that I really enjoy our appointments.

Right now, we’re trying to work on bringing awareness to my emotional relationship with food. I (and, Nicole pointed out, nearly everyone) have control issues and mine tend to gravitate towards food and exercise. When I become depressed or stressed out, I use food and exercise as a release. We talked about how this is not a bad thing: it is simply that I need to be aware of when I am turning to food or exercise to deal with something, and that I need to identify my mood at the time and figure out what the root cause is. Then I can work on changing perspective. Instead of using exercise to burn calories, for example, I should look at it as a way to burn off the extra energy and emotion that has built up.

Most of the time, these days, I’m already doing that. But talking to Nicole reaffirmed this and I’m going to work on it even more. Unless I can fully comprehend and deal with my relationship with food and exercise, it will be too easy to slip back into negative reasoning and thought processes.

This brings me to this month’s poll. Today’s question is rather a tricky one, but I’d love it if you all take the time to think about it and give the best answer you can! Nicole gave me a worksheet which describes the different “voices” going on in our bodies when we are making a food choice. Although there are usually many factors involved (we’re all about a holistic approach!), sometimes it’s one voice that crops up more often than the others. These are the basic voices from her worksheet:

1. Emotions: “Oh, I want that… I’m craving this… I must have that…”

2. The Mind: “I should eat that… I deserve to eat that… It’s not that bad…”

3. Tastebuds: “Oh, that would be tasty…”

4. The Inner Wisdom of your Body: “I know what would benefit me right now…”

Which voice tends to be the most dominant when you make your food choices? I think that my thought process, over the years, has gone, in general, from the Emotions (when I was a child) to the Mind (when my food issues first began) to the current Inner Wisdom, with bits of Tastebuds spattered throughout. I am not quite at the height of following my intuition as much as I would like to be, so that is my new challenge! Awareness is fundamental to everything that we do, so heightening and tweaking my awareness with intuitive eating is perfect.

Leave a comment below telling me about your thoughts on intuitive eating and to elaborate on your answer from the poll. I can’t wait to hear all of your opinions on this subject and your experiences with these kinds of struggles.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook!

27 comments

  1. As many people, I went through all of these interesting stages. and I suspect we still visit all of them to a degree. I guess it’s like the saying, “some people have one on those days, some people have one of those lives,” except in reverse. If we live our lives mostly in the area of wisdom, an occasional foray into the others won’t do no harm 🙂


    • I agree! Bits and pieces from all of these “voices” are going to be echoing in our minds and coming to the surface from time to time, but it’s the one that is the overarching dominant voice that really matters.


  2. Interesting poll. While I’m occasionally ruled by my emotions, I usually listen to my mind. Wish I listened to my “inner wisdom” a bit more though. Okay, a lot more, because I think it’s trying to tell me something, but I’m being too logical to listen. Just call me Spock!


    • Heh, I know what you mean. My forte might be in the arts, but sometimes I’m rational to the point of being cold and almost too far detached from the emotions. Sometimes it’s good to let go and REALLY listen to ourselves.


  3. really nice topic Sagan. first I’m so glad that you have such a nutritionist to talk to and work together. Second… I think I find most of the day I’m not toward being lead by inner wisdom, but sometimes it’s my mind that dictates what to eat. emotions are not important to me anymore fortunately, and taste buds is only important when I eat out. Intuitive eating is important, but sometimes it’s hard when you don’t have the choice that you crave most, so it’s a work in progress for every one! 🙂


    • That’s the worst, when you know exactly what your body needs the most but it’s not available for one reason or another. Living healthy is all about the work in progress 😉

      Also having a nutritionist is wonderful. I can’t believe I didn’t find her years ago. I think everyone would benefit from seeing a nutritionist regularly… of course, finding a REALLY food one, I imagine, isn’t always so easy!


  4. I think for a long time I’ve been in the Mind, but the Inner Wisdom is definitely starting to take over. As always, it’s an interesting journey.


  5. There is a book called Intuitive Eating – I recommend it to so many of my clients. Have you seen it? Give it a read! Has some great intuitive/mindful eating tools in it.


    • You know, I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never read it. I thought it might be too much like The Secret so I didn’t bother looking for it (I read about two pages of The Secret, thought to myself “I already know this stuff and it feels as though the authors are trying to sell me something”, and plopped it back down. On the other hand, the mother dear adores that book. To each his/her own!). But now that I’m focusing on this as my little bit of “homework” until my next nutrition appointment, it might be really interesting to read this book!


  6. Well, I voted for “tastebuds,” but luckily they have developed a taste for what the mind/body want, too. My inner toddler (“emotions”) also does its fair share of chattering (“Gimmegimmegimme…No fair!…But all the OTHER kids are eating that!”) but fortunately, like some toddlers, is easily distracted. 🙂


    • Distraction is what “saves” me, too, when that kind of toddler voice kicks in.


  7. Oddly enough, I used to be totally emotional, but I’ve somehow mostly disabled that, so now I’m Inner Wisdom, with a bit of mind and a lot of tastebuds contributing to the vote.


    • It’s so fascinating how we change over time! Yet another indicator that living healthy is all about growth and how we’re feeling NOW- not in the past, not in the future, but TODAY.


  8. While inner wisdom wins out most of the time nowadays, that is not always the case, nor has it been the case much of my life. Emotions have typically won out for me.


  9. Tastebuds rule! Some of the time I think they are connected to inner wisdom, but only about a third of the time.


  10. Amazing post. I am writing this down to refer back to. Thank you.


  11. This post struck me. I think about how my relationship with food has changed over the years. Growing up, I was definitely a mix of emotions and tastes. I loved food because it tasted damn good, but I know I turned to it to ease stress or because I was bored.

    Now, it’s mostly my mind. I’m currently struggling with food issues and trying to loosen my mind’s ferocity. In some situations I can, namely eating with friends…but sometimes I do slip back into those old thoughts. If my emotional side utters a peep, my mind will snarl back. While I think it’s good I’ve curbed my emotional eating, I’ve come to the conclusion that, as long as you still -really- deal with the issue and don’t go crazy (aka diving into a whole pint of ice cream), making yourself a cup of hot chocolate isn’t a sin.

    I want to achieve intuitive eating. I’m not quite there yet, but I believe that if you have good habits, then your body will take care of itself without mind and emotional shenanigans. As a girl, I did not have good food habits. Now I do, so it’s a matter now of trusting my body and not being terrified of gaining weight.


    • Sometimes I have to keep busy specifically to prevent myself from eating- I’m SUCH a boredom-muncher!

      And yes: we do need to trust ourselves.


  12. Boredom…keeping busy tends to be when my unnecessary food intake occurs.

    Thank you for sharing as always!


  13. My ultimate goal would definitely be to achieve intuitive eating, despite how far away that goal looks to me right now. But that’s for sure where I want to get to.
    I’d say my mind has the most say in choosing what I want to eat. I sort of wish it wasn’t that way, but I guess that’s how I roll. 🙂
    Great poll idea btw!


  14. You know, it’s different for me all the time! I answered “my mind,” because during the day and most evenings, that is absolutely true. I eat what I know I like – if I ate what I craved all the time, it would be M&M meals all the time for this girl! 😉

    There are times, however, when I choose my food based solely on my emotions and cravings. I think that is normal, but I try not to let it spin out of control.

    I am eating intuitively more and more these days – and I will say, the more I do it, the easier it gets. I would say the hardest part for me is ridding myself of the notion that certain foods are “bad” or should be limited. (See M&M’s above). I believe in moderation, for sure….I just have to watch myself sometimes!


    • And that definition of “moderation” is sometimes so elusive, isn’t it? 😉


  15. What shall I say? Here Emotions, The Mind, Taste buds and The Inner Wisdom of your Body has different meaning. The emotion wants to eat it without looking whether is nutritious to health or not. The mind is choosing whether it will be good for health. Then the taste bud is saying that do not eat if it is not good as much as it contain huge nutrition and the last inner wisdom is not choosing anything. So, for me I will probably choose the last one.


  16. […] it’s not, as I mentioned in our recent poll, about “burning calories”. It’s about incorporating enough activity throughout […]


  17. Thanks for the lovely discussion.


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  19. […] it’s not, as I mentioned in our recent poll, about “burning calories”. It’s about incorporating enough activity throughout […]



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