Nutrition

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is the philosophy that aims at giving women power and control over their bodies, freeing them from restrictive dieting, disordered eating and punishing exercise. It also promotes the rejection of the guilt and anxiety associated with eating and, ultimately, it helps women to feel good about themselves.

Intuitive Eating is the process that aims at helping women to get out of their head when it comes to food and body image and tune into the signals their body is sending. So many of us feel guilt or anxiety about eating the ‘wrong’ things. We worry and beat ourselves up for that doughnut we had last week. Intuitive Eating helps break down arbitrary food rules and restrictions and external influences over what you can and can’t eat so you can focus on internal cues. It’s about relearning how to eat from the ground up!

Intuitive Eating is a developed approach that aims at helping people to heal from the side effects of chronic endless dieting. People who repeatedly diet often experience a the yo-yo effect which has very harmful effects on our health.

Check here for more details about the Harmful effects of yo-yo dieting on our health

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

We know all that diets can be hidden in several facets. They all offer you false hopes of losing weight fast, easily and permanently. However, they have one thing in common: restriction. Whether it is about carbohydrates, lipids (fat) or superfluous foods (eg wine and chocolate), deprivation is required according to traditional methods of weight management. 

Say no to fad diets and rigid eating rules, and get rid of all diet books and articles that offer you false hopes of losing weight fast, easily and permanently. Focus on being well instead of changing your body.

Intuitive eating is opposed to this somewhat simplistic mindset of weight management. 

2. Honor Your Hunger

Keep your body fed with adequate calories, don’t ignore your hunger cues. Even in the evening, or you have just eaten a meal that you consider adequate, if you feel the physical hunger don’t ignore it. When your body sends you hunger signals (you still have to know how to interpret them), your body speaks to you and tells you that you are running out of fuel. You have to refuel, otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.

Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust in yourself and in food.

3. Make Peace with Food

Restriction often leads to overeating, so give yourself permission to eat all foods.

Refraining from eating certain foods can lead to feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. This feeling can affect food choices and / or the amount of food that is desired. Often, restriction often leads to overeating, so give yourself permission to eat all foods.

4. Challenge the Food Police

Stop categorizing food as “good” or “bad”. The guilt that results when you eat foods classified as “bad” makes you overeat both categories of food.

Allow yourself to put these rules aside and follow your appetites! A crucial second step which is also the opposite of the usual dietary discourse. Indeed, allowing yourself to eat without any particular condition makes it easier to perceive when you have eaten enough.

This will only help you eat in moderation.

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

In the Japanese wisdom, people promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be slim and healthy, we often forget one of the most basic gifts of existence. The pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience.

Sensory pleasure refers to the properties of food, such as taste, smell and texture, which allow us to appreciate them with our five senses.

When you eat what you really want in the right environment, the pleasure you get will be a powerful force to help you feel satisfied and content. By doing this experiment, you will find that it takes a lot less food to decide that you have enough.

Food is an experience meant to be nourishing, joyful and satisfying – if you let it be!

6. Feel Your Fullness

In order to honor your fullness, you need to trust that you will give yourself the foods that you desire. Fullness is the signal that tells you how much food you need to eat to feel comfortable in the stomach, not in the head, and when to stop eating when you are no longer hungry. Take a break regularly during the meals and ask yourself how the food tastes as much and what is your current level of fullness.

7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions that we all experience in life. In the short term, food can comfort you, turn you away from pain, numb you, or even punish yourself. But that will not solve the problems originally. In the long run, this will not work out and you will eventually have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

Finding other ways to comfort, distract, and solve your problems without using food can help you better respect your eating sensations. 

8. Respect Your Body

Just as you do not choose the color of your eyes or the color of your skin, you do not choose your weight either. The only thing you can do is accept it.

You don’t expect a size 38 to fit into size 36 shoes. It’s as futile as it is uncomfortable to have the same expectations with your body.

But above all, respecting your body will allow you to feel better about yourself. It is difficult to dismiss the diet mindset and listen to your eating sensations if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body shape.

9. Movement—Feel the Difference

Forget about exercise as a way to lose weight. Just be active! Focus on the feeling of moving your body rather than the number of calories burned during exercise.

If you focus on feeling good during or after exercise, it can be the difference between rolling out of bed for a quick morning walk or turning off your alarm clock.

If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, this will not generally be sufficient motivation in the long term.

10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

Remember, you don’t need to have a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly be deficient if you have an unbalanced meal or day. It’s the general balance that counts. Know that it takes place over several weeks when you are listening to your taste buds, which are, among other things, a reflection of your nutritional needs.

Source: https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/ 

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