This might sound like a new term to you and it may seem like another diet plan. Let’s get one thing straight. This is the furthest thing from a diet or meal plan. Intuitive eating is breaking the rules of diet culture and learning how to have healthy relationship with food. It’s basically a fancy term for learning to eat “normal” again. If you find yourself always going on a diet or trying to find the latest and greatest thing to help you lose weight, intuitive eating is for you. If you’ve ever had an eating disorder, intuitive eating gives you real life, practical applications for overcoming it.
Constantly obsessing over your next meal or excessively counting calories and macros is stressful. Restricting yourself of foods you love and nutrients you need only cause your cravings to increase. Learning how to fuel your body but still enjoying food takes practice. Intuitive eating has some basic principles to help guide towards a healthier relationship with food.
- Break up with your diet and reject any sort of diet mentality. Resist the urge to try the newest diet that everyone else is doing. Clear your mind of all rules and restrictions related to all of the diets you’ve done over the years. No counting calories. No measuring food. No meal plans. Nothing but listening to the cues your body is giving you.
- Listen to your body and honor your hunger. Listen to your body when you’re hungry and when you’re full. Learn to recognize your hunger cues and give in to them. Resisting the hunger cues when they first come on can cause you to have uncontrollable hunger and then cause you to binge and overeat. When you give in to your hunger and feed your body, listen to the cues telling you that you’re full. When you feel full, practice self control and stop when you’re satisfied. Practice self awareness and learn the feelings of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.
- Make peace with food and discover satisfaction. When you stop restricting yourself and telling yourself particular foods are off limits, you remove the guilt and shame associated with eating. This allows you to have more satisfaction when eating foods you love and crave without feeling guilty. Usually the more you restrict something, the more you want it. Allowing yourself to give in to your cravings and recognizing your hunger cues will leave you feeling more satisfied and stop the binge eating cycle.
- Honor your body and respect your health. Make food choices that honor your taste buds and your health. You only have one body and you should take care of it. But you don’t have to eat healthy food 100% of the time in order to be healthy. Sometimes being healthy means allowing simple pleasures in life and doing things that make you happy.
- Stop using exercise as punishment or a way to make up for a poor diet. Exercise is not for weight loss. It is to help us build strength, stamina, balance, mobility, and coordination. Stop using it as a way to undo a binge. Honor your body with exercise.
These are some basic guidelines of what intuitive eating encompasses. There is much more to it than just this and there are tangible ways to put these principles into practice. Overcoming the diet mentality and feeling comfortable around food again takes practice and is not easy, but worth it. The goal is for you to not only build a healthy relationship with food, but have a better body image, more confidence, and more freedom in your life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go to a holiday party and not worry about ruining your diet with all of the goodies at the party? What if you could eat a few cookies and be totally okay with it? This is possible when you learn how to eat intuitively. If you’re interested in learning more, please check out my nutrition coaching page and contact me.