Intuitive eating is gaining popularity in the wellness world today, but there is a deeper meaning beyond its celebrity status. Here’s why learning to listen to your body’s needs can help you.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that has nothing to do with diets, meal plans, willpower, or discipline. Intuitive eating is about listening to and trusting your body.
There are many signs and signals to determine and assess your relationship with food. Let’s be clear: intuitive eating is not a diet. Because everyone’s body is different, there is no strict, predetermined portion sizes, no meal plans, no counting calories, banned foods, or ignored cravings. The most experienced and successful intuitive eaters are able to eat whatever they want without feeling guilty. By listening closely to your body, you can begin to understand when, what, and how much to eat to be your best self.
Intuitive eating is made up of ten core principles:
#1 Reject the diet mentality
Take all you thought you knew about diets and weight loss and toss it out. Instead, accept the concept of reading the signs your body gives you and give it the nutrients it needs.
#2 Honor your hunger
Listen to your body. Don’t deprive it! Learn to understand and respect your body’s hunger cues and the value of food as delicious and necessary fuel for mind and body health.
#3 Make peace with food
Give yourself permission to eat what makes you feel happy. Too often, many foods are written off and thought of as evil. Intuitive eating is about making peace with the understanding that all food has value.
#4 Challenge the food police
Silence those voices in your head that try to control what you eat and don’t eat! Release the negative energy, thoughts, and people that control your eating choices. Surprisingly, you most likely won’t only eat dessert when you give yourself food freedom! Self-regulation is learned quickly and is far more productive than restriction.
#5 Respect your fullness
In the same way it is important to honor your hunger, it is also important to honor your fullness. Listen to your body and its cues! Try giving yourself 20 minutes to let your food settle in your stomach before going up for seconds.
#6 Discover the satisfaction factor
Learn what feels good and what doesn’t when it comes to eating. Ask yourself questions like “What do I like to eat?” or “How did this food make me feel?” or “Where did this food come from?” These simple questions can quickly make you reevaluate what you chose to put in your body.
#7 Honor your feelings without using food
Try to separate your emotions from your eating habits. Habits like overeating, undereating, and binge eating can stem from emotions and not biological necessity. Although it’s hard, work to understand your feelings without getting your eating involved.
#8 Respect your body
Accept and honor the body you’re living in. It’s the only one you’re going to get. Have fun with it, but also keep it healthy and performing at its best!
#9 Exercise: Feel the difference
Maybe you love to walk, hike or job. Maybe you are getting into group fitness. Or, mix it up. Just listen to your body and move in whatever way it wants to that day, week or month. The most important thing is to move your body with purpose on a regular basis.
#10 Honor your health
Although intuitive eaters eat what they want, that doesn’t mean nutrition should be ignored. In fact, most people who practice intuitive eating find themselves wanting the healthy foods. Why? Because they are what feels best in the short and long term.
A good rule to follow is to make food choices that honor your health, your taste buds, and your heart.