A Food Diary From an ‘Intuitive’ Eater

Katie Sturino | April 18, 2017

(And what does that even mean?)

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Remember when everyone found out what Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady ate, so everyone tried to eat like them?

Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow said she was doing a goat-milk cleanse, so then all of these bloggers tried to do a goat-milk cleanse too?

Remember when cavemen food was all the rage, then it was about chowing down according to your blood type; for a while it was all about low-fat, then high-fat, vegan, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free or my particular favorite, Bread Only. (I can’t find anyone to endorse this one, oddly enough.)

We are constantly inundated with new ways to eat. Just when you thought you knew how to chew — BAM! — a new fad diet comes out, this one guaranteed to boost your energy, promote better sleep, make your hair shiny and teach you how to play the saxophone or something. It’s gotten to the point that when I found out about the “intuitive eating diet,” I was like, How niche! How odd! We have to try it! Let’s assign it to someone.

We gave the story to Katie Sturino because she is my most intuitive-eating friend. She eats when she’s hungry, has chocolate without declaring that she’s giving herself a cheat day and likes salad because being an adult means eating veggies at your own will. I was so excited to see her track her chewing because, since she doesn’t think about it, I figured she might come to some grand revelation.

Of course, what happened is that she didn’t. At the end of her assigned days she was like, “Here you go, weirdo. Here is what I ate.” The intuitive eating diet is just that: intuitive. It’s a little scary to live in such a diet-fad-y world that “just eating” is marketable as a fad diet…and worse that for just once second, I bought into it? Anyway, here you go: Katie Sturino’s non-diet diet. I’ll be here eating a waffle while you read it. — Amelia

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Sunday

The closest I will ever come to “skinny” is if you cut me in half. I’m very comfortable with this fact. I’m happiest in a bikini and try to live my best life in the body I’ve got. I’m still human, though. To say that I woke up one day and decided to “just accept myself” oversimplifies the process that it takes to get to a better place — but I am committed to working on acceptance and taking the pressure off as often as I can. When I find myself stressing out, I’ve learned to ask myself, “What makes me feel good?” Does that mean taking a nap, diving into work, exercising, walking my dog? The answers vary, but I try to listen.

7:15 am: Woke up insanely early (the perk of being a sober person). Decided the perfect thing to do would be to pack up my dogs and drive to Central Park, hitting Underwest Donuts (it’s inside a car wash on the West Side Highway) on the way.

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Got a Halva and a fresh sugar doughnut that was still warm.

11:30 am: I was starving due to lack of protein so I met up with friend at Toby’s for their avocado egg toast.

7:00 pm: Ordered Chop Shop Thai food (salt-and-pepper shrimp, drunken noodles) and settled into my couch for a Sunday Scary Session.

Monday

7:00 am: Wake up and head to the Highline Hotel for Intelligentsia coffee with oat milk. Who knew you could milk oats, am I right, Robert De Niro?

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7:30 am: I know you’re supposed to eat right away in the mornings because it’s good for your body but I hate it, so I make sure my breakfast is super delicious. Today this means Kite Hill almond cream cheese on an English muffin with blueberry jam.

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10:00 am: Coffee from the Highline Hotel followed by a workout with my trainer, Carlos.

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12:30 pm: Lunch at ABC Kitchen where I have my absolute favorite: carrot salad with Greek yogurt sauce.

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4:00 pm: It’s a beautiful day to walk the dogs. I pass my favorite gelato shop that has the MOST AMAZING hazelnut sorbet. I treat myself because the sun is shining.

When it comes to food, I think about what Jessica Pearson from Path Nutrition told me: “Food is medicine.” She believes that sometimes your body needs protein and vegetables, and sometimes, your body needs a giant slice of birthday cake. I’m a sugar devil. I also really like vegetables. I could live on ice cream, sushi and spinach forever, but that combination would make me feel like crap. Like everything else (especially on Goop), it’s all about balance.

7:00 pm: I meet up with a friend at Jack’s Wife Frieda and get the Fish a La Plancha and French fries.

Tuesday

7:00 am: Hit that same coffee shop. I’m not the only one with a routine there…

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7:45 am: I have been eating this hot cereal because it was recommended to me for its protein and lack of grains. I mix it with fruit because I’m wild!

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10:00 am: Workout with Carlos. I drink a lot of water and LaCroix seltzer, by the way. I’m drinking both constantly but you would get so bored if I kept telling you.

11:00 am: I had a coffee earlier but forgot to document it.

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1:30 pm: I work from home so lunch is often eaten in my kitchen. I usually eat these amazing pre-made meals from Euphebe. I love when someone else does the thinking for me.

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3:30 pm: I need a snack. I make microwaved eggs (a trick my mom taught me because I hate getting a pan dirty for two eggs). I toss some spinach on top of the egg, plus feta on an English muffin.

7:30 pm: I go to see Beauty and the Beast in the movie theater and have one of my favorite dinners: movie popcorn.

Like I said: balance. Whatever that means.

Collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; iPhone photos via Katie Sturino.

  • I LOVE EATING POPCORN FOR DINNER.

    “Intuitive Eater.” I like having a fancy name for eating whatever I want. Feeling fat? Silk Almond Yogurt and some granola. Not giving a shit? Homemade pizza topped with fridge leftovers.

    • Riley W

      Me too! My mom is constantly eating popcorn for dinner. My #1 fav.

    • Kelsey

      Popcorn and red wine is one of life’s truly perfect food pairings. And makes a delicious dinner.

  • Ash

    Sounds like my “diet.” Like right now I’m inhaling a chocolate muffin the size of my head…then for lunch will inhale a salad the size of my head…because I enjoy salad. I also really love vegan dishes, but don’t think I could ever give up McDonald’s chicken nuggets… Give me all the food (except seafood…no thank you)!

    • Sheila T.

      can we start a diet fad where you only eat food that is the size of your head

  • Hilary

    Please explain the microwaved eggs technique????!!!

  • Maren Douglas

    Microwaved eggs??? Plz elaborate

  • Em

    Yessss.

  • Cristina

    Living in the Great Plains/Midwest, I’m constantly amazed by what you guys eat and how much it probably cost. I love reading these pieces because it makes me feel like an anthropologist.

  • joan

    my takeaway was that this sounds expensive

  • #fetaporn

  • tmm16

    This all looks delicious! I usually cook/make a lot of these meals at home, but I’m sure all this food tastes better (it looks like it does).. I also just eat what I want, when I want. Listening to your body is the best thing you can do. Except when you get sushi cravings 3x a week and have to ignore them cause $$$ (a personal problem I have)

  • Lindsay D

    i had the same dinner when I saw beauty and the beast! gosh i love the soundtrack

  • doublecurl

    doesn’t forcing yourself to eat breakfast ASAP even though you hate it go against the whole intuitive eating ideology?

  • Riley W

    Man, throw coffee in there and I could live off ice cream, sushi, and spinach too.

  • Gillian Hood

    The term Intuitive Eating was created by the authors of the book, “Intuitive Eating,” Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. They are dietitians that discovered several years ago that their patients were developing disordered eating patterns, as well as eating disorders due to the deprivation and restrictions of dieting. Intuitive Eating is NOT a diet. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I use the term, “Intuitive Eating diet” to describe what someone is doing if they are applying rules and restrictions to the Intuitive Eating concepts and process. We were all born as natural Intuitive Eaters. This instinctive way of eating, where you eat in response to physical hunger and stop when you are satisfied and full (a good deal of the time, but NOT all the time – that would be the “IE diet”) is taken away from us by rules, eating schedules, clocks, and other things that influence our thinking about food and help us become detached from our physical cues for eating. Parents, teachers, our peers, television, other media, now the internet also have influence over what, when, how and why we eat at various times in our lives, and we don’t remember that our body can tell us these things. Instead we rely on some ‘expert’s’ rules, or diets, diet books, weight loss programs, etc., to tell us what and when to eat. If you’re truly interested in returning to your natural way of eating, that will also help you recover from disordered eating and chronic dieting, not to mention emotional eating and binge eating (which I lived with for 25 years before learning about intuitive eating), I highly recommend you check it out. It’s nothing even close to a diet, but if you aren’t at your natural weight, it will help you get there, when your body has recovered and is ready to release it. The big difference between losing the weight this way and a typical diet? You won’t gain it back, plus more, the next time you have a bad day!

  • Ciara Sophia Rudas

    i relate to this more than anything evER “I’m a sugar devil. I also really like vegetables. I could live on ice cream, sushi and spinach forever, but that combination would make me feel like crap. ” IM A SUGAR DEVIL

  • streats

    I was talking to my boss the other day – we’re both big foodies – and we were talking about what we’ve been cooking recently. We were saying how great it feels to just be naturally drawn to vegetables. I bring lunch to work very often and people are often like “omgggg so healthyyyy” and I’m like, it’s just leftovers from dinner last night, it’s not particularly healthy, it’s just vegetables? And a lot of the vegetables that I cook, I cook with lots of oil, like eggplants. I’ve never done a diet in my life, I’ve always just eaten what I feel like. In college I suffered a bout of depression and had very irregular eating habits, and then at one point all I wanted to eat was lentils, greens, and fish. Turns out they’re all high in serotonin. Ever since then I trust my body to lead me to the food that I need, and I enjoy pretty much all food so I eat very balanced – I still eat fried and sugary stuff, but I also eat vegetables and very little processed food. I basically just eat all of the foods.