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Saturday, 4 July 2009

Planning Your Diet - Intuition vs Intellect

Every night before I go to bed, I plan what I am going to eat the next day and log it all into Calorie King. I make sure I have 3 meals, 2 snacks and dessert, all with the prescribed amount of calories.

This is a good thing when I am in fat loss mode because I am restricting my calories. Therefore I need a robust plan that ensures I have food with me when I am away from home, and that I am eating every couple of hours to minimise the hunger.

Now I am trying to find the happy food place where I eat enough to feel satisfied but not too much to be in a calorie excess, I am no longer sure that planning my day so carefully is helping.

Some days I would rather have a big breakfast and no morning tea. Sometimes I can't face another chicken wrap for lunch and all I want is a quarter roast chicken and coleslaw. Other days I'd rather have a bowl of pumpkin soup for dinner instead of protein and vegetables. Sometimes I am incredibly hungry all day and sometimes I am not really hungry at all.

Even though I hate the concept that food = fuel, on some level this is true (although food is so much more than that for me - it is pleasure, warmth, and communion with others). You don't put the exact same amount of petrol in your car day after day and expect it too be precisely what you need to get you where you need to go. Even if you travel exactly the same distance every day there are speed variations and changing traffic conditions that affect the fuel efficiency of your car.

I shouldn't expect my body to need x amount of calories every day. Some days I move a lot, I am awake for longer and I feel like going for a walk in my lunch break to clear my head. Other days I just lie on the beach and read a book (like all of next week). I need different amount s of energy on different days.

In the ongoing maintenance eating experiment I am going to trial a different approach. I am still logging my food, but I am deciding what to eat as I go, and trying not to freak out too much if I go under or over the calorie number I have set for the day. I am trying to follow my intuition more and my intellect less.
It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover… Jules Henri Poincare

How do you do it - plan in advance, make it up as you go, or totally wing it?


  1. i dont necessarily wing it, but i don't plan like many others do. For me, i have an idea in my head of what i will eat, but if i planned on eating chicken and instead want egg whites, then i make the switch. If i thought i wanted sweet potato, but instead am craving brown rice, i will swap them. i stick to my staples and swap them as needed. I log everything in sparkpeople as to make sure i stay in a good calorie range, but i don't write myself a menu or anything.

  2. I have always planned my meals out the day prior. I find it very helpful and keeps me on track. Has helped me maintain a 60lb weight loss,so I guess I'm doing something right! I love the quote you posted though...has me pondering:)

  3. Anonymous7:42 pm

    An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

    Karim - Mind Power