Intuitive eating means breaking free from the on-and-off cycle of dieting and learning to eat mindfully and without guilt. Research suggests that intuitive eating is associated with a healthier relationship with food, a lower BMI and a reduction in chronic dieting and food-related anxiety.
The first principle of intuitive eating is to stop dieting. In order to do this the first thing you must do is stop believing in society’s message that quick-fix plans can deliver lasting results.
We are born as natural intuitive eaters. Babies cry, they eat and then they’re done until they feel hungry again. Intuitive eating is a way of eating that has nothing to do with diets, meal plans, discipline or willpower. It’s about getting back to your roots and learning to trust your body again. In reality, it isn’t quite as easy as listening to our bodies and knowing exactly what to eat to reach our goals. If it were, everybody would have the body of their dreams.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69% of American adults are overweight or obese.
At the end of a long, stressful, and hectic day, junk food may be exactly what you need. However, eating whatever you want, whenever you want, won’t help you to lose fat or build muscle. That’s common sense! Intuitive eating is an approach that requires genuine time, effort and dedication. You need to get to know your body and it’s hunger cues. It’s not for everyone and it certainly isn’t easy.
Are we hungry or full when we decide to eat? Are we eating to disengage from our emotions, or to get pleasure? We make so many food choices every day, but we’re so busy that we’re not paying attention. In order for someone to become an intuitive eater, this has to change. Here are some tips on how to start eating intuitively:
- Reject the Diet Mentality: When you realize that diets don’t work, you can start to take a more gentle approach towards nutrition and your body.
- Respect your Body: Your body naturally balances itself out, so if you’ve had a weekend of indulgent eating, you’ll probably crave a leafy green salad come lunchtime on Monday. Just be mindful of how these splurges make you feel. If your sweet treat causes your body discomfort, it may be time to explore a different treat alternative.
- Exercise: Become more active and feel the difference. This is an easy way to give your body the respect it deserves.
- Learn to listen to your physical signs of hunger and fullness: Listen for your body’s signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full.
- Honour Your Health: It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
By shifting to intuitive eating habits, you’ll never have to diet because, eventually, you will automatically follow a well-balanced process of giving your body what it needs, without compromising on your overall happiness.
The power is within you to observe, listen, act, and learn from your body. All you have to do is pay attention to your body and you will soon begin to see and feel the benefits of tuning in via intuitive eating.