This blog post is intended to help you on your journey towards intuitive eating. It’s meant to provide insight and help with reflection, trusting body signals, and responding to hunger and fullness cues. Hopefully after reading you will have a deeper understanding of what intuitive eating is and how you can maybe begin implementing these principles into your daily life.
Let’s start off with the basics, what intuitive eating is. The term was coined by Evelyn Tribole in her book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works. It’s the idea of rejecting the diet mentality, making peace with food, and honoring our body’s innate hunger cues. There are 10 principles listed in the book that include; reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger, make peace with food, challenge the food police, respect your fullness, discover the satisfaction factor, honor feelings without using food, respect your body, exercise, and honor your health through gentle nutrition. The goal of these principles is to create a healthier, harmonious relationship between you and your food.
From a young age all of us were incredibly in tune with our hunger and fullness cues. Fussing when we were hungry and rejecting foods with force when we were full. As time goes on we seem to grow further apart from our hunger cues, maybe from learning to eat all of the food that’s on our plate despite our fullness. Trying rigid dieting trends that tell us to pay no mind to our cravings and stick to a certain amount of calories a day or the daily stresses of life that can result in finding some comfort in foods, leading us to over indulge. It’s only natural that we lost touch with our inner child but we all can re-learn how to eat intuitively.
“Practice acknowledging the presence of unhealthy foods, and try to tune into what your body truly needs in the moment to replenish.”
A common misconception of intuitive eating is that you can eat whatever you want despite the nutritional profile of that item. Contrary to popular belief, when you give yourself permission to eat food whenever you want, the “off-limits” food becomes even less interesting. “ Knowing you can have it again takes away the urgency of I’ need to eat it right now’,” Tribole says. “The relationship dynamic really, really, changes.” The next time you go and reach over for those chocolates, instead of saturating yourself with the guilt of wanting them and then eating them, try removing the mental restrictions of ‘can’t have it’. Practice acknowledging the presence of unhealthy foods, and try to tune into what your body truly needs in the moment to replenish.
“Intuitive eating can serve as an undercurrent as to how you think about, and experience, and appreciate food and your body, no matter what your story or experience has been,” she says. If you or someone you know wants to adopt some of these principles and you have certain health conditions, work within the framework and apply it to any medical condition. There is a tool when it comes to intuitive eating, this tool is called “the hunger and fullness sale”.
Essentially it’s these numbers from zero to ten where zero on the scale is intense, uncomfortable hunger and 10 on the scale is when you feel uncomfortably full like painfully to the point of maybe even feeling sick. When we are at a 1 or 2 on the scale we normally tend to feel very irritable, maybe even shakiness and weakness. We tend to crave things like sweets, or deep fried food. This can then swing us to the 9 or 10 side of the sale. This yo-yoing between zero and ten is often what we see in people who binge and restrict. A proposed solution would be to eat when you are feeling a gentle hunger, which is around 3-4 and then put a pause on eating when you are feeling a gentle-full, around 6-7. In this range, we tend to think more rationally about the foods we are choosing and we even eat a little bit slower and mindfully.
Overall Intuitive eating is not a method of losing weight, but overtime by using these principles you can begin feeling more self-confident and maintain a healthy weight if that’s something that interests you.
Thanks for reading ♡