Intuitive Eating Basics

Intuitive eating is not a diet, but an eating philosophy that builds a healthy relationship with food and body image. The most important principle being that you should eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This seems simple and intuitive, but it is not.  Many of us don’t trust our bodies because media and diet gurus are always telling us what, how much and when to eat foods. We don’t recognize the subtle messages our bodies send us about hunger and fullness.  Some of us have trouble distinguishing biological hunger from emotional hunger.  We stop eating for a lot of different reasons (like when our plate is empty) rather than assessing our fullness. Sometimes we mindlessly eat while working, scrolling, watching television, etc. and never notice our fullness.  Fad diet culture has taught us to restrict and stress about food.  In contrast, intuitive and mindful eating teaches us how to eat for satisfaction, enjoyment and nourishment. You will learn to respect and trust your body again. There is no restriction or deprivation involved.  You are free to choose and enjoy all types of foods. However, when you really tune into your body, you will begin to make better choices and your health will improve.

Intuitive eating has been researched and is associated with improved lab values and overall health. When you honor your body, you honor your health.  Honoring your body means listening and following its biological signals, choosing mostly nourishing foods and practicing daily enjoyable movement to build strength. Nourishing our bodies means choosing more of the foods that help us feel energized and lower inflammation to feel good and stay healthy.

Here are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating created by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch:

1.       Reject the diet mentality

Diets don’t work. Two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they have lost within 5 years. Your body has a genetic set point it will always try to maintain.

2.       Honor your hunger

Learn and respond to early hunger signs. Feed your body as soon as you are hungry.

3.       Make peace with food

Allow yourself unconditional permission to eat any food. We are biologically wired to crave foods we are restricting. Restricting foods leads to binge eating.

4.       Challenge the food police

Examine your negative thoughts about food and where they came from. Challenge this self-talk with positive self talk.

5.       Respect your fullness

Assess your fullness while eating and relearn your body’s fullness signals.

6.       Discover the satisfaction factor

Use mindfulness to stay in the moment and savor every bite of your food.

7.       Honor your feelings without using food

Assess whether you are biologically hungry before you eat or craving food to deal with unpleasant emotions. Practice alternative ways to deal with emotions.

8.       Respect your body

Stop judging your body and celebrate the positive aspects about your body.

9.       Exercise — feel the difference

Find ways to move your body that you find enjoyable. Shift focus from losing weight to feeling strong and energized.

10.   Honor your health — gentle nutrition

Begin to choose nourishing foods that make your body feel good. Your overall food pattern will determine your health rather than one single meal.

If you would like to learn more or you are ready to dive into a happier, healthier eating philosophy, contact me for an appointment.