GET REAL GUIDE to Eating with Intention

February 22, 2016
get real guide to eating with intention main pic image

Look, we all try our best to be healthy. But let’s get real, the day you need my help is not when you’re at your best; it’s when you inhale two brownies without taking your eyes off this week’s episode of the Bachelor.

Let’s get real, you’re not eating with intention!

Eating with intention means making a thoughtful, deliberate choice to consume (or not consume) something.

Generally when we eat things that are healthy, we’re super intentional.  We grocery shop, make meal plans and even seek praise online. We’re like, oh hey instagram, look at this green smoothie I drank this morning. Gold star for me!

When we drive to the gas station at 10 pm in our pajamas just because we want some skittles (← totally fictional example, obviously), you probably aren’t going to see a photo online.

The way you consume food and alcohol says a lot abouthow you feel about yourself_ image

However, it’s just as important, if not more important, to be intentional in how we eat and drink “unhealthy” things like sweets and alcohol. The way you consume food and alcohol says a lot about how you feel about yourself.

To make it clear what I mean by eating and drinking with “intention,” let’s consider what unintentional eating and drinking looks like:

  • Oops, I had 4 glass of wine so this pizza “doesn’t count.”
  • I get a free pass for inhaling those 3 cupcakes because I had such a rough day at work.
  • Everyone else is having another shot so I should too.

There’s a general lack of accountability and thought behind these food and drink choices.

Look, I get it. There’s a certain pleasure that comes with not being accountable when it comes to  food and alcohol (and bad boys, since we’re being real 😈 ). But, unintentional moments have real consequences.

when you eat or drink without intention, you become a bystander in your life and health image

When you eat or drink without intention, it feels like things are happening to you. You become a bystander in your life and health.

It’s kind of like that cupcake ate you, not the other way around, which leaves you feeling guilty and out of control and takes a toll on your self-esteem.

Being intentional about food and alcohol isn’t always fun. In fact, it means facing sides of ourselves we don’t want to see/deal with/admit exist.

As with any substance, if you’re looking for an escape in food or alcohol, you’ll never find it. Instead, you’ll wake up and still have to face whatever was bothering you. Only now, you’ll feel even more defeated (and let’s be real, probably bloated).

So what’s a girl (or guy!) to do?

The good news is that eating with intention can still involve eating the cupcake/pizza or driving to the gas station for those skittles. As long as you’re making the thoughtful and conscious choice to consume something, you’re eating with intention.

Here are the thought patterns from above approached with intention:

  • Oops, I had 4 glass of wine so this pizza “doesn’t count” I’m drunk, and I’d like some pizza. (intentional)
  • I get a free pass for inhaling those 3 cupcakes because I had such a rough day at work.→ I’m stressed, so I’m craving sweets. If I still want a cupcake in a half an hour, I’ll eat one and enjoy every bite. (intentional)
  • Everyone else is having another shot so I should too→ I don’t want a shot, so I’m going to pass. (intentional)

So what are some ways you can eat and drink with intention?

  • Understand that being drunk is not a free pass to eat without intention.“Getting away with it” because you’re drunk is not a thing. (Sorry, love!)
  • Don’t give into social pressure. If you don’t want that drink/piece of cake/kale salad, don’t have it.
  • Don’t eat when you’re stressed/angry/overwhelmed. Take a bath or get some exercise. When you feel calmer, have a light meal.

Treat your body like a bank account. Which foods deplete it_ Which foods help it flourish image

  • Treat your body like a bank account. Which foods deplete it? Which foods help it flourish? Every time you eat or drink something, you’re either making a deposit or a withdrawal. Make sure you’re not going broke!
  • Don’t second-guess yourself when it comes to occasional treats. If you want that doughnut, have it. Savor it and then move on.
  • Lastly, be real with yourself about your true motivations and feelings. You have to be self-aware if you’re going to be intentional.


Join the Conversation!

What are some ways you’re intentional about food or alcohol?

Anna Walker signature image


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  • Reply Jen February 22, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Awesome post! I’m a huge believer in this… How many times have we all inhaled a meal while watching tv/getting ready for work/doing homework, and realized after finishing that we don’t even remember the physical act of eating?! That’s how we end up eating too much and eating the wrong things. Taking a few minutes out of your day to focus on what you’re eating and to be thankful and intentional will do great things. Thanks for the post! :)
    Jen recently posted…Toasted Breakfast Millet with Berry CompoteMy Profile

    • Reply Anna February 22, 2016 at 9:31 am

      So true, Jen! I’m definitely guilty of the TV & eat combo. Thanks for reading :)

  • Reply Joanne February 22, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Food for thought !

    • Reply Anna February 22, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thanks for reading, Joanne!

  • Reply sandra February 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

    This is kind of like “think before you speak – think before you eat!” Have to admit, when I slow myself down respond to my hunger rather than react, my food choices are 100% better and more satisfying. Keep these posts coming, I learn something every time.

    • Reply Anna February 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Love that comparison! Thanks for reading :)

  • Reply jm February 22, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Eating with intention is the only way to go. Stop and think what you are putting in your mouth and evaluate is it worth it. Many times you will rethink your options. Great post. jm

    • Reply Anna February 22, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Totally! Thanks for reading, JM!

  • Reply Erin L February 22, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I have been changing my diet gradually over the past few years, eating vegetarian, more clean, superfoods, etc. This week I am trying to quit sugar and the struggle is so hard and this post is exactly what I needed to read right now. Your blog is so great. Thank you!

    • Reply Anna February 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Awww thanks, Erin! The struggle is REAL when quitting sugar. Try having some natural sources of fructose (fruit) to relieve cravings for sweets :)

  • Reply Kasie Chelanne February 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    This is a really fabulous post…there are some gems of quotes in here! I am really needing to start eating with more intention. It’s always the alcohol and sugar that gets me!

    • Reply Anna February 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      I’m so happy you liked it, Kasie! Margaritas are my kryptonite so I totally understand where you’re coming from. I never “intend” on that 2nd (or 3rd) one and then am annoyed when I’m hungover ?

  • Reply Jen February 23, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Love this post. So many good thoughts and tips (treat the body like a bank account). Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Reply Anna February 23, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thanks so much for reading, Jen!

  • Reply Kris | February 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Shine sister shine! I love this post!!! Your passion for being mindful with health and food choices is amazing and I honour you babe!

    There are so many great shares in here!!!

    Keep inspiring! xxoo

    • Reply Anna February 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      You’re making me blush! Thanks, Kris! ?

  • Reply Jessie R March 2, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Love it! So many great points, don’t blame the food, it didn’t jump in your mouth.

    It’s so frustrating to me, when people complain about gaining weight or not feeling well, but when someone brings in donuts to the office, they feel “obligated” to have one. No one made you eat that donut friend :).

    • Reply Anna March 2, 2016 at 9:55 am

      So true! Thanks for reading, Jessie!

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