12 Aug It’s Time To Fire Up Your Health With Intuitive Eating Habits
These days a new way of eating seems to pop up every other week. One day you should eat paleo; next, it’s a big no-no. Intermediate fasting was a trend; before the Keto diet became the new black of food trends. Or is it already on the way out?
Who can keep up with these trends? What happened to eating when you’re hungry or eating whole foods? We’re shining the light back on intuitive eating, and why it might just be the healthy upscale to your diet, you’ve been waiting for. Check out the concept below and judge for yourself.
Intuitive eating is basically in case you have forgotten, eating when hungry, and to stop eating when you start feeling full. It’s trusting your body to know when it needs food, same as when you’re thirsty you naturally drink water, no? It’s not a diet as such; it’s a healthy outlook and attitude towards food and your body — no need to calculate calories, weigh every morsel or avoid whole food groups.
Sounds pretty simple, but we’ve ventured maybe a bit too far into the realm of “controlled eating” that for some of us it might be pretty strange or even challenging to rewind and go back to basics – if you want to call it that.
Intuitive eating has been around for decades, think before various diet books, food labels and calorie intake rules were created. Your growling stomach usually was an indicator, that it’s time to eat. Hangry anyone? Probably you should’ve eaten ten minutes ago. We’ve listed ten basic principles taken from the book, that has made intuitive eating mainstream. “Intuitive Eating” written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch to bring you on the intuitive eating journey and to help you find a healthy balance to nourishing your body.
10 Steps To Intuitive Eating
1. Reject The Diet Mentality
The diet mentality is the idea that there’s juts one diet out there that’ll work for you. Intuitive eating is the anti-diet. Sounds a bit scary these days, doesn’t it? But coming back to listening to your body will feel rewarding. It’s about tuning into the signs of hunger and the physical pangs of needing to refuel. And yes, you might have eaten at midnight and are hungry at 7 am and again at 11 am, so it is. So not intermediate fasting but hey, that is the new you now. Remember, this is about tuning into your body and eating when hungry.
2. Honour Your Hunger
Hunger is not your enemy. Quite the contrary. Respond to your early signs of hunger by feeding your body. If you let yourself get excessively hungry, hangry anyone? – Then you’re likely to overeat. An excellent place to start is to differentiate (again) your emotional hunger from your real hunger. How often do we start eating because we’re bored, lonely, sad or maybe even angry? We’re talking stomach growling hunger feelings here. Take a second to tune in to how you’re feeling before reaching for that snack and determine if maybe you need a quick dance party to shake out those emotions or it’s time to whip up a delicious smoothie or how about grab a slice of our nutrient-dense banana bread.
3. Make Friends With Food
Call a truce in the war with food. Food is your friend. We’re serious here! Get rid of those ideas about what you should or shouldn’t eat, how much you should or shouldn’t eat and for goodness sake how many calories you should or shouldn’t eat. Beating yourself up isn’t going to help you feel content and happy after a delicious meal. Maybe all you need is an excellent cookbook for inspiration or follow some foodie on Instagram, to reactive your appetite. Even if you’re intolerant a gazillion foods (welcome to our tribe), there’re amazing recipes out there.
4. Challenge The Food Police
Food is not good or bad, and you’re not good or bad for what you eat or don’t eat. It’s YOUR body, not THEIRS. Challenge thoughts or even people that tell you otherwise. You don’t need to jump on the latest diet craze because everyone else is. Feel like a delicious bowl of pasta, dive on in. Want to get Uber Eats delivered, fo right ahead sista. Want to whip up a vegan, grain-free bowl sounds delicious to me. YOU do YOU in every aspect! Enjoy your food!
5. Respect Your Fullness
Just as your body tells you when it’s hungry, it’ll also tell you when it’s full. Listen for the signals of comfortable fullness, when you feel you’ve had enough. As you’re eating, check-in with yourself to see how the food tastes and how hungry or full you’re feeling. A great time to do this check-in is when you’re about 3/4 the way through your meal. Being full and satisfied feels different to being super stuffed. You won’t feel sick from being full. You don’t have to finish your plate of veggies so you can get that delicious dessert at the end. Your parents aren’t watching. These days the portion size has increased, so eat until you’re full and leave the rest behind. Nothing beats some leftovers the next day.
6. Discover The Satisfaction Factor
Make your eating experience enjoyable. Have a meal that tastes good to you. Sit down to eat it. How does not watching TV, scrolling through your social feed or catching up on emails while eating sound? Not so enjoyable at first, maybe even scary but once you tune out of all these distractions and sit down and eat you’ll also find your food tastes so much better. Consciously eating will make your body more aware of what you’re eating, and you will also feel when you are full rather than being distracted and continuing until you feel sick or their’s nothing left on your plate. And hey, if you finish your plate and want seconds because you’re still hungry, don’t hold back. It’s about eating until you’re satisfied.
7. Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food
Emotional eating is a strategy for coping with how you’re feeling. We’ve all been there; when we’re lonely, we tend to eat or even when we’re bored. We just mindlessly grab anything and start eating. Hoping it’ll make “that” feeling slide away like that delicious morsel. Find ways that are unrelated to food to deal with your feelings, such as taking a walk, meditating, journaling, or getting in touch with a friend. Become aware of the times when a sense that you might call hunger is an emotion.
8. Respect Your Body
Rather than criticising your body for how it looks and what you perceive is wrong with it, recognise it as capable and beautiful just as it is. Look at how strong you are. Those vigorous vinyasa classes count for something, don’t they? And imagine having to flow through these without adequately fuelling your body? Embrace your body as it is; there is no perfect body shape. Remember, there is always some fancy filter behind those super perfect Insty body photos.
9. Exercise — Feel The Difference
Find ways to move your body that you enjoy. Shift the focus from losing weight to feeling energised, strong, and alive. As mentioned earlier, those strong, vigorous yoga classes won’t be half as fun when you need to take a break because you only ate one carrot that day. Same as after your practice, your body needs fuel.
10. Honour Your Health
The food you eat should taste good and make you feel good. Remember that it’s your overall food patterns that shape your health. One meal or snack isn’t going to make or break your health. Don’t get super mad at yourself for having a delicious pasta for dinner. Is there anything better than pasta? Nevertheless, it’s all about nutritionally fueling your body, so it’s as healthy as it can be. Lots of veggies and greens, proteins and buying as fresh as you can. Shopping local organic produce to take the best of the fruit and veg that is currently in season. Our bodies are not all the same, so remember that there’s not a one fits all way of eating. While your bestie might thrive on a vegan diet, you might thrive on meat and fish – that is okay. Fuel your body with what it needs to give you energy, wake up feeling incredible and keeps your hormones in balance.
How are you feeling now, that you know the insight on intuitive eating? The concept of intuitive eating doesn’t feel like rocket science to us. In a nutshell, it’s consciously listening to your body when you’re hungry and stopping to eat when you’re full. And of course, falling off the intuitive eating bandwagon is part of the whole journey, jump back up – we won’t judge you.
Eat the rainbow, yogis!
Written by Kerri-Ann Jennings for Healthline