Intuitive eating is about trusting your body to make food choices that feel good for you.
Diet culture has been so normalised in our everyday lives that we’ve forgotten that our bodies can regulate and monitor themselves perfectly well!
For most of human history, dieting was non-existent. Instead, we ate when we were hungry, stopped when we were full, and made mealtime a communal, social experience.
Now, with the abundance of food choices and availability of convenience food due to busy and stressful lives, we tend to overeat. We also eat to comfort ourselves, and out of boredom or habit.
We’ve gotten into the habit of eating in front of the television, while driving, and mindlessly snacking while sitting at our desks.
These habits have distracted us from staying in tune with our bodies and actually feeding them with the fuel that they crave when they crave it.
When I work with clients, I empower and assure them they are the expert of their body and its hunger signals. By being more aware of our bodies and bringing a consciousness to our eating habits, our body can tell us what it needs. We just have to listen to it!
What does Intuitive eating mean?
Intuitive eating is when you make peace with food. You stop viewing food as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and you have a no diet approach to nutrition, which means no restrictions.
It means knowing your body well enough to know when it’s hungry, but also knowing when it’s full! Rather than follow what someone else or a diet dictates, you are the best person to make those choices.
Bringing an awareness to your choices
How often do you reach for a bag of crisps and realize you’ve eaten the whole thing? Or eaten your way through a large chocolate bar without thinking.
Intuitive eating means paying attention to the food you’re putting in your body so that you’re better able to monitor your intake based on cues from your body naturally.
Next time you’re eating a snack or a meal, check in every few minutes and assess your current state. Are you really hungry? Or are you looking for a distraction, or trying to cope with stress or boredom?
We all have the power to listen to our bodies, and they’ll guide us in the right direction if we trust them,
Feed your body the fuel it needs
Although intuitive eating might seem to imply that you can ‘eat what you want’, you definitely should pay attention to nutrition.
The pinnacle of intuitive eating means honouring your health and your taste buds.
Eating mindfully or intuitively means that you can still eat the things you love, like ice cream or chocolate, but you should also eat fruits and vegetables more regularly.
It means that you don’t have to beat yourself up for eating a cheeseburger because you’re also eating plenty of colorful and nutritious foods to balance it out.
Tips for intuitive eating
No foods are off limits. Allow yourself to have the foods you love with no guilt. When it’s no longer forbidden, the food may not seem so appealing. When you deny yourself certain foods, it’s more likely you will end up having unhealthy snacks, anyway.
- Aim to get as much colour onto your plate, which means eating a variety of different coloured vegetables.
- Learn to enjoy fruits and use them as replacements for sugary sweets every once in a while.
- Get adventurous and introduce new foods whenever possible.
- Cook from scratch, using fresh ingredients. This is not only healthy as you are in control of what goes into your food, it also brings a connection to your food and the raw ingredients.
- Mindfully choose where you eat and enjoy your meal. This means taking time to sit and eat away from distractions. You are more likely to notice how much you are eating and when you are full.
- Exercise because it makes you feel good. This means choosing something you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, walking, running, gardening, swimming, cycling or team sports, rather than forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy just to burn off some calories.
One of the biggest misconceptions about intuitive eating is that without a structured diet, you’ll fall off the wagon and eat mostly unhealthy foods. Research has shown us that this isn’t the case. Instead, you’ll eat a wider variety of foods, have more trust in your body, and feel better about the way you move through life.
If you would like to take back control of your health and weight and look and feel better with an abundance of energy then get in touch.