Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to nutrition that emphasizes listening to your body’s hunger cues and eating in response to them. This approach has gained popularity in recent years, as more people are looking for an alternative to traditional dieting.
People who follow an intuitive eating approach often find that they are able to lose weight, improve their relationship with food, and boost their overall health.
If it’s the first time you’re hearing about intuitive eating, you may be wondering how it works. This article will explain everything you need to know about intuitive eating, including its benefits and how to get started.
What Is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is an approach to food that is based on listening to your body’s cues. It is a non-diet approach that allows you to eat what you want, when you want it.
The intuitive eating approach was developed by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, in 1995. Their goal was to help people break the cycle of yo-yo dieting and develop a healthy relationship with food.
The term intuitive eating has become more popular in recent years, as more people are looking for an alternative to traditional dieting. People who follow an intuitive eating approach often find that they are able to eat less, enjoy their food more, and have a healthier relationship with food.
What Are the Principles of Intuitive Eating?
There are 10 principles of intuitive eating that help guide people towards a healthier relationship with food. They are:
1. Reject the diet mentality
The first step to becoming an intuitive eater is to reject the diet mentality. This means getting rid of any thoughts that there are good and bad foods, or that you need to eat less to be healthy. Instead, focus on eating satisfying and nourishing meals.
2. Honor your hunger
Honoring your hunger means listening to your body when it tells you that you are hungry, and eating in response to that cue. It is important to eat regular meals and snacks so that you do not become overly hungry.
3. Make peace with food
Giving yourself permission to eat any and all foods is an important part of intuitive eating. This does not mean that you should eat junk food all the time, but rather that you should not feel guilty for eating foods that you enjoy.
4. Challenge the food police
The food police are the voices in your head that tell you what you “should” and “should not” eat. These voices can be very critical, and can make you feel bad about yourself if you eat “bad” foods. It is important to challenge these voices and learn to trust your own food choices.
5. Discover the satisfaction factor
The satisfaction factor is the feeling of satisfaction and pleasure that you get from eating. When you eat what you really want, and enjoy your food, the pleasure and satisfaction you feel will help to curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
6. Feel your fullness
Listening to your body’s cues of fullness is an important part of intuitive eating. This means eating until you are no longer hungry, but not so full that you feel uncomfortable. It is okay to leave food on your plate, and you should not feel guilty for doing so.
7. Cope with your emotions with kindness
Emotional eating is a common issue that people struggle with. If you find yourself reaching for food when you are bored, stressed, or unhappy, it is important to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. This may mean finding new coping mechanisms, such as exercise, journaling, or talking to a friend, instead of turning to food.
8. Respect your body
Respecting your body means treating it with care and love. This includes eating foods that make you feel good, and being active in ways that you enjoy. It is also important to listen to your body’s cues and not push yourself beyond your limits.
9. Move and feel the difference
Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it should not be considered as just a way to burn some calories. Instead, focus on how exercise makes you feel, and find activities that you enjoy.
10. Honor your health—gentle nutrition
The final principle of intuitive eating is to honor your health with gentle nutrition. This means eating in a way that promotes overall health, and not following any restrictive diets. Choose nutrient-rich foods, and eat in moderation.
How Can Intuitive Eating Help with Your Health?
There are many benefits to following an intuitive eating approach. People who eat intuitively often find that they:
- Enjoy their food more
- Are less likely to overeat
- Have a healthier relationship with food
- Are more likely to be at a healthy weight
- Have better overall health
Intuitive eating can be a helpful way to improve your relationship with food, and to promote overall health. For example, if your goal is to lose weight without feeling deprived, intuitive eating can be a great way to get started.
By eating more intuitively, you can learn to listen to your body’s signals and cues, and to make choices that are best for your health. When you make peace with food, and respect your body, you will find that you are better able to achieve your health goals.
How Can It Help with Your Mindset?
The shift from a diet mindset to an intuitive eating approach can be difficult, but it is worth it. People who follow an intuitive eating style often find that they:
- Are less focused on food and weight
- Have a more positive body image
- Have improved self-esteem
- Have a better relationship with food
- Feel more in control of their eating
Although it may be challenging at first, making the switch to intuitive eating can be very beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. You will become more attuned to your body’s signals, be mindful of your eating, appreciate your food more, and will learn to trust your own food choices. You will also find that you have more energy for living your life, instead of worrying about dieting.
If you are ready to make the switch to intuitive eating, there are many resources available to help you get started. You can find books, articles, and online resources that provide information and support. You may also want to talk to a registered dietitian or other healthcare professional who can help you navigate the transition.
Making the switch to intuitive eating is a journey, and there is no “right” way to do it. The most important thing is to be patient with yourself, and to listen to your body’s signals. With time and practice, you will be able to develop a healthy relationship with food, and to reach your goals for overall health and wellbeing.