What Is Intuitive Eating?
How To Eat Intuitively
Intuitive Eating isn’t a diet at all. In fact, this program was created to be the antithesis of diets.
The idea is based on the principle that we should trust our bodies and what they’re telling us instead of following a particular diet or expert.
Two Kinds of Hunger
To become an intuitive eater, you have to learn to determine what kind of hunger you’re feeling. There are two types: physical hunger and emotional hunger.
Physical hunger means you’re actually hungry! Your body is empty and needs fuel.
When your body is physically hungry, you’ll hear and feel your stomach growling. You might feel tired. You might also feel irritable (what some people jokingly refer to as ‘hangry’.)
But those symptoms disappear the minute you eat.
Emotional hunger is something different. It’s brought on by an emotional need, not physical hunger. And it isn’t really about being hungry as much as it’s about filling a void.
When you’re sad, depressed, bored, or lonely, those feelings may cause you to crave food. Then what happens? You eat the food – often unhealthy, comfort food – and then you feel guilt and get angry at yourself for your lack of control.
Intuitive Eating Principles
Intuitive eating is not a tool for weight loss. It’s about becoming non-judgmental towards yourself and about listening to what your body needs.
There are 10 principles that govern intuitive eating:
- Reject the diet mentality. Stop putting your stock in those lose-weight-fast promises.
- Honor your hunger. If your body is giving you physical symptoms of hunger, go ahead and eat. Don’t put it off till you’re so hungry you lose control.
- Make peace with food. When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want, you no longer risk breaking down and overindulging after depriving yourself for so long.
- Challenge the judgmental voice in your head. You are not good for eating something or bad for eating something else.
- Find satisfaction in food in a different way. You can find pleasure in eating what you really want in a peaceful environment.
- Check in with your body to determine when you’re full. You can pause mid-meal to ask yourself how your food is tasting and whether you are full yet.
- Treat yourself and your emotions with kindness. While you may reach for food when you’re feeling anxious or lonely, try instead to come up with other ways to soothe those feelings without food.
- Respect your body. Every body is different. Yours is unique and beautiful.
- Get active in an intuitive way. Instead of just pushing through exercise, stop to think about how good it makes you feel.
- Honor your health with good nutrition. Feed your body healthfully when you can while you’re also honoring your taste buds.
What To Look Out For
When you start intuitive eating, be aware that it’s not a free-for-all. If you’ve been living under a strict diet regimen, this isn’t an invitation to raid the pantry.
Another thing to be aware of is that some people gain weight initially while they figure out how to become an intuitive eater.
What’s more, while you are making sure to feed your physical hunger, you should do so with a balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet, for example, has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and ensures you’re getting proteins, good fats, and vegetables.
Is Intuitive Eating Right For You?
If you are ready to have a healthy relationship with food – one that doesn’t make you feel shame and guilt and instead enables you to listen to your body’s physical needs, then intuitive eating might be right for you.
I’d love to know your thoughts about intuitive eating. Is this something you’d like to try? Tell me in the comments below.
To your health,
The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.