Have you ever wondered about non-diet approaches to change your eating habits and live a healthy lifestyle? Have you heard of Intuitive Eating?
A non-diet approach means honoring your body’s internal hunger and fullness signals. Being mindful of how your body is feeling and responding accordingly will allow your body to reach a weight it is most comfortable at.
Intuitive Eating a is non-diet approach that will help you integrate a healthy and positive attitude toward food and body image. This framework, developed by Registered Dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, is a self-care model of eating that will help you develop self- trust and become the expert of your own body.
Who can benefit from Intuitive Eating? If you are an individual who experiences any of the things below, you are a great candidate for intuitive eating.
o Strict black-and-white food rules
o Counting calories
o Offset calories by working out
o Eliminates specific foods or whole food groups
o Categorizes food as “good” vs “bad”
o Feelings of guilt and shame around certain foods
Intuitive eating is not easy – but there are a few steps to help you get started!
o Start the unlearning process of everything you think you know about body weight, appearance, and food
o Limit distractions like your phone or TV while eating to help you pay more attention to your body signals
o Unfollow people who promote fad diets or diet trends
o Find movement that makes you feel good
o Move away from “fixing” your body weight and allow yourself to connect with your body
If you are new to intuitive eating, consult a dietitian so that they can help you get started on
your journey of self-care and self-love.
The Ten Principles
- Reject the diet mentality
- Say no to fad diets and diets that will lead you to false hope of losing weight quickly, or diets that may induce non-sustainable or unhealthy weight loss
- Start recognizing the lies that led you to believe you are a failure
- Honor your hunger
- Your body needs fuel! Recognize your hunger and understand those cues to keep your body adequately fed to accomplish those biological bodily functions
- This will help you start trusting your body
- Make peace with food
- Give yourself unconditional permission to eat without telling yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t eat something. This can lead you into a vicious cycle fueled by feelings of guilt that often drive you right back to the deprived behaviors that ultimately fuels those uncontrollable binges or cravings. This cycle of binging > guilt > deprivation is very tough to break
- Challenge the food police
- Avoid categorizing food as “good” or “bad” because this can make you feel guilty for eating which will ultimately land you in the cycle mentioned above
- Feel your fullness
- Listen for and understand your body’s hunger and
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- When you eat, you should feel pleasure and joy in fueling your body. Eat within an environment that will bring you feelings of satisfaction
- Cope with emotions without using food
- Think of ways that will resolve certain emotions with things other than food
- Food can at times resolve feelings like stress, boredom, or anxiety, but food should not be the only tool you use to cope with these feelings
- Respect your body
- Treat your body with dignity and respect by providing it with what it needs to function optimally
- Here are some ways to cultivate body respect:
- Get comfortable with your own self
- Get rid of body-assessment tools like a scale
- Quit the body-check game
- Stop body bashing
- Be realistic
- Do what is best for you during “big events” like vacations or holidays
- Do nice things for your body (self-care)
- Respect body diversity
- Movement – feel the difference
- Get active and feel the difference of exercise for pleasure and enjoyment rather than focusing on how many calories you are burning
- Honor your health with gentle nutrition
- Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well
- You don’t need to eat perfectly all the time to feel healthy
This scale is a great tool to help you reconnect with your body signals of hunger and fullness. According to which number on the scale you are currently in, you can learn how to appropriately respond to those levels. You can use the “Hunger Discovery” Journal to document your hunger level and how your body feels during those different levels of hunger.