Updated: May 24
I was literally sick and tired and sick and sick and tired some more, that's how I began intuitive eating.
After an appointment with my doctor about diabetes and a few prescriptions in hand, I knew there had to be a better way of taking care of myself and staying healthy.
If you struggle with food and digestion intuitive eating may be the strategy you need to teach you how to love your body and your food.
Intuitive eating is based on listening to your body so it can guide you in making food choices. The term is often associated with a 1995 book by the same name, but the concepts are much older and widespread.
Studies show that following your inner cues can enhance your mental and physical health. However, the process can be confusing if you’re unsure about where to begin. Learn how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to intuitive eating.
Myths about Intuitive Eating:
Avoid extremes. There’s a difference between enjoying your food and eating anything you want without regard for the consequences. When you give up strict diets, you’ll need to invent your own guidelines.
Clarify your goals. The desire to lose weight can make you lose sight of other important objectives. Intuitive eating encourages you to think about your body being strong and fit rather than just a smaller size.
Do your research. While your body possesses great wisdom, it can use a little help. Plus you probably don’t instinctively recognize and avoid cookies containing trans fats. Use medical studies and product labels to guide you in making informed choices.
Recognize True Hunger:
Rate your symptoms. Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full is a basic principle of intuitive eating. However, it may be difficult after years of dieting. Increase your awareness by assigning a number from one to ten, based on whether you’re peckish or ravenous.
Fuel up. It’s easier to resist junk food when you’re slightly full. Carry nutritious snacks around with you. Use an online calculator to figure out how many calories you need each day to meet your basic needs.
Slow down. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’ve eaten enough. Pause during meals to avoid becoming stuffed.
Stay hydrated. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Before you head for the refrigerator, drink a glass of water to see if your cravings will disappear.
Examine your feelings. Your emotions can also make you vulnerable to overeating. Find alternatives to comforting yourself with cheesecake. Go for a walk when you’re bored and call a friend when you’ve had a rough day at the office.
Other Truths about Intuitive Eating:
Exercise regularly. An active lifestyle helps you to connect with your body. Make your workouts fun by varying your routine and inviting family and friends along to join you.
Learn to cook. You’ll look forward to eating your vegetables and other fiber-rich foods if you learn how to prepare them. Watch food channels on TV and browse online for quick and easy recipes.
Be patient. It takes time to change your eating habits. That’s especially true if you’ve been losing weight and putting it back on over the years. Give yourself credit for taking the first steps toward restoring balance.
Honor your body. Intuitive eating involves your attitude as well as your menu. Appreciate your body and its capabilities. Focus on your positive features instead of dwelling on your thick ankles.
Think long term. Work towards changes you can sustain instead of crash diets that you’ll probably abandon within a few weeks. The choices you make today can help you live longer and lower your risk for diabetes and other serious conditions.
Create a more positive body image and eat the foods you love without feeling any guilt. Intuitive eating is more fun than any restrictive diet and helps you to develop healthy habits that you can practice for the rest of your life.