I teach intuitive eating. I believe our intuition can tell us a lot, but we need to be mindful and unattached to our beliefs for this process to work. Using these ideas, I came to the conclusion recently that I don’t like Nutella anymore and don’t want to ever eat it again. My body started to react to it, and thus I made the choice to remove it from my diet forever. This was after creating a thumbnail for a Youtube video where I said I loved Nutella, just a couple weeks ago.
Below I’ll explain the results of my Nutella experiment.
My Nutella Experiment
For those unfamiliar with the effects of chronic dieting with heavy exercising, what happens to our bodies is that it begins to demand more calories, from any and all sources. Contest dieters (people who lose weight for fitness competitions) experience insatiable hunger after their competitions. In these cases, eating Nutella is likely very healthy as it’s bringing the body back from a state of starvation to normalcy.
That’s what I needed to do several years ago, after being on a variety of restrictive diets and training like an athlete. I would practice intermittent fasting and end my fasts with sprints and weight lifting regularly. After a while, my energy during the fasts declined and my health suffered.
I began eating more sugar, and my health improved. I also ate more calories in general. As my health returned, my sugar cravings disappeared as well. Recently, at the grocery store, my intuition told me that I wanted Nutella. I got some, and my body enjoyed it for a period of time. I noticed less stress from eating it regularly for two weeks.
One symptom I experience if I get stressed is that my scalp starts to itch. It’s weird, I know, but it’s reproducible and a very reliable indicator to me that I need some food, as food helps it get better. During my two week stint with Nutella, I noticed less scalp itchiness. I also had a general sense that it was good for my metabolism to temporarily up my sugar intake.
Near the end of the two week period, my body stopped enjoying Nutella. I almost developed a sore throat too; there was some mild throat discomfort, but I continued eating the Nutella. The next week my throat just felt off. After it recuperated, I didn’t want any Nutella for another week.
But then, I decided to get some more. My intuition however wasn’t asking for it as badly as it did the first time. I swear. And this may explain why the following happened. As soon as I ate that Nutella, my throat reacted. It felt mucousy and irritated from the first spoon. My body told me no.
I waited a day, and tried it again, when my body was asking for more sugar. It tasted great, but still not as good as that first time a few weeks prior. Taste is a very important factor for your intuition to decide if a food should go into your body. But you will know beforehand if you want it or not.
There were two more incidents that led to my decision to never eat Nutella again. The first one took place later that night. I was sitting on my couch and I was craving a bit of sugar before bed. I lathered some Nutella onto a crisp apple and ate it. I noticed a strange sensation: I felt like there was greater metabolic activity than usual in my solar plexus area.
I’m not sure what was happening, but it felt like my body was stressed. Maybe the sugar hit my bloodstream too fast. I don’t know. But it didn’t feel “right.” The next morning, the second incident occurred.
As I made my way to my yoga mat to practice some asanas, I noticed that my knees felt stiff. Indeed, during my initial two week stint with Nutella, I noticed this too after regular consumption. This was surely a sign of inflammation I thought. I like training in the gym so having stiff joints is a no-no.
I tried doing some bodyweight squats and it was confirmed. There was some strange stiffness in my knees. This isn’t good. I waited a whole day before throwing out the just opened bottle of Nutella, but I had to. My body was clearly telling me it didn’t want it anymore. I spoke about this on Instagram and someone told me that her autoimmune condition worsened on Nutella as well. Yikes, I can imagine that now from my experience.
The reason it took me a whole day to throw the Nutella out is because of attachment. I was slightly attached to Nutella, and the taste is nice. Although, when I think about it now, especially when I can see the picture above as I write this, it’s not appealing. Using your intuition properly with foods requires you to let go of beliefs.
The person with disordered eating as well as the person on the standard American diet may have strong beliefs about what foods they want to eat. Intuition is about receiving honest feedback from your body and adjusting accordingly. All of this is discussed in my upcoming book.
I was initially a little sad to break up with Nutella. But I’m over it and my knees feel great. I did some squats yesterday and am working on a new PR. Go with your gut.