Intuitive eating is a way of nutrition, which bases its philosophy on you being the expert of your own body and hunger signals.
It is quite different than the traditional diet because there are no guidelines on which foods to avoid. Neither does it have instructions on what time of the day to eat.
Intuitive eating focuses on teaching you how to make the right choice by knowing your own body and its signals.
It is an eating style that is all about having a positive body image and a healthy attitude toward nutrition.
Although this is what we should feel on our own, many people have issues with this way of thinking. And have to learn how to have a positive attitude toward food and their own body.
The first step to take in intuitive eating is to trust your own body. Followed by differentiating between the so-called emotional hunger and real hunger.
Physical hunger presents itself gradually with different kinds of signals, such as irritability, fatigue, or a growling stomach.
Hunger is a natural need for replenishing your nutrients and is usually satisfied when you eat any type of food.
Whereas, on the other hand, emotional hunger is only satisfied once you eat “comfort foods.”
It is an emotional need, driven by loneliness, boredom, sadness, or other feelings. This eventually leads to the urge to crave certain foods.
However, in most cases, once you satisfy your emotional need for food, people tend to feel guilt and self-hatred.
Eating should not cause these types of feelings. It should fulfill your physical needs for nutrition without avoking any negative feelings towards yourself.
Some concepts of intuitive eating were first presented in the early 1970s, but the term was first used in 1995.
One fundamental principle of intuitive eating is to get rid of the diet mentality. Although many believe that there are diets that will work for you and will help you lose weight, you should know that this goes against the principles of intuitive eating, which is anti-diet.
You should also learn to read hunger signals of your body and react to them by eating.
The belief is that if you don’t allow yourself to feel excessive hunger, you are much less likely to overeat.
The philosophy teaches how important it is that you are at peace with food and how you feel towards it.
Do not see food as an enemy that must be eaten to feel relieved or at peace with yourself. Avoid thinking that there are foods that are good or bad, or that what you eat makes you a better or worse person.
If these types of thoughts appear, you should challenge your thoughts and start thinking more positively.
At the same time, it is essential to read the signal of fullness. Just as your body tells you when you are hungry, it will also tell you when you’ve had enough.
You must stop eating once you’ve reached this comfortable fullness. Food and eating should be an experience that is enjoyable for you.
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You can make this experience enjoyable by eating only meals which taste good to you. While you are eating, it is vital to sit down and eat without a rush.
The concept is that when you slowly eat enjoyable foods, it will be easier to recognize fullness signals.
Emotional eating is something that many people use to cope with their feelings. It is important to find other ways of dealing with your emotions rather than eating.
Examples include talking to a friend, keeping a journal, or going for a walk.
Another concept of intuitive eating is to love your body and focus on the positive than the negative part of it.
You must find exercise methods which you enjoy doing. The purpose of exercise shouldn’t be to lose weight, but rather to help you feel healthier and more energized.
Lastly, it is essential to know that your overall food pattern helps shape your health.
Overall, you should eat healthy and tasty food which makes you feel good. But if one meal or snack isn’t up to these standards, it doesn’t mean that it will ruin your health.
Based on the research done so far on intuitive eating, more attention was paid to women than men. There is, however, still ongoing research on the topic.
Also, studies done so far have associated intuitive eating to more positive psychological attitudes. As well as better weight maintenance and to lower body mass index.
One of the most significant benefits of intuitive eating is improved psychological health. Participants of studies were able to improve their body image, their self-esteem, and they experienced less depression and less anxiety.
Their overall quality of life improved.
There are also excellent retention rates when it comes to intuitive eating. This means that participants are much likely to stick to intuitive eating than those who go on a diet.
Another study showed that women who practice intuitive eating are less likely to develop eating disorders later on.
If you decide that intuitive eating could benefit you, you must get started and challenge your thoughts first. Learn how to read your body signals and differentiate between emotional and physical hunger.
You should learn only to eat when you are hungry and not allow yourself to starve.
Also, you should stop eating and avoid getting stuffed once you feel comfortably full. It is important to start evaluating your eating habits without judgment.
Many dietitians can help you practice intuitive eating, or you could join a class or a group on this topic.
Additional resources can help you learn more about intuitive eating and how to best practice it.
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