Are you familiar with the concept of intuitive eating? Intuitive eating is all about listening to our body’s internal cues rather than our external cues. This may look like evaluating where you are on the hunger fullness scale prior to eating and deciding how much YOU want to eat, rather than letting what workout you did that day or the number on the scale dictate how much/what you eat. Let’s talk more about this, from an intuitive eating dietitian perspective.
We are all born with the innate ability to know what hunger and fullness feel like. We know what foods we like and what foods we don’t. But over time, we become more in tune with what the outside world tells us about ourselves, rather than listening to our own bodies. This is where an intuitive eating dietitian comes in. The concept of intuitive eating may sound like the opposite of anything you’ve ever been told, but intuitive eating promotes positive body image and a healthy attitude towards food. It involves surrendering control in order to re-learn how to trust that your body knows what it needs. An intuitive eating dietitian can walk alongside you on your journey as you rediscover the joy of eating. Intuitive eating is all about working with your body instead of working against it.
There are 10 principles that make up intuitive eating:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Rejecting the diet mentality acknowledges that diets don’t work. In order to find freedom in intuitive eating, diets must be given up.
- Honor your hunger
- Responding to physical feelings of hunger by feeding yourself an adequate amount of carbs, fat, and protein is a way to honor your body.
- Make peace with food
- Food is not the enemy. Restriction and deprivation lead to binging. By giving yourself unconditional permission to eat any and all foods, peace with food can be made.
- Challenge the food police
- Challenge the thoughts that assign moral value to food. Food cannot be good or bad, and you cannot be good or bad for eating or not eating something.
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Food is full of pleasure and satisfaction. You have permission to enjoy your eating experience! Food is supposed to be satisfying and satiating.
- Feel your fullness
- Listen for the body signals that tell you you are not hungry anymore and are finished eating. Practice mindful eating by pausing and asking yourself how the food tastes, evaluating your hunger level, and learning what fullness feels like in YOUR body.
- Cope with your emotions with kindness
- Emotional eating is a way for us to cope with our feelings. Food won’t fix our problems or feelings, so it’s important to address the emotions you’re feeling, rather than numb them with food.
- Respect your body
- Start by accepting your genetic make-up. But ultimately, accept who you were created to be. All bodies are beautiful bodies and deserve respect.
- Be active and feel the difference between finding movement you actually enjoy doing vs. working out simply to burn calories and “earn” your food.
- Gentle Nutrition
- The food you eat can taste good and make you feel good. Honor your health and your taste buds by practicing gentle nutrition.
Being an intuitive eater means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what food you desire when you’re hungry. As an intuitive eater, you rely on your internal hunger and fullness cues to decide how much to eat and when to eat.
At Main Line Nutrition, the staff believes in intuitive eating. It is about being conscious of what you eat, why you are eating it, and eating for physical reasons rather than for emotional reasons. Maybe you feel out of touch with your internal cues in the busy and on-the-go world we live in. More often than not, we are eating while working, scrolling our phones, or in front of the TV. It is possible to get those cues back! The intuitive eating dietitians at Main Line Nutrition can work with you to help you achieve your goals. We will give you the necessary tools to guide you on your path to intuitive eating so that you can improve your relationship with food.
If you are interested in learning more about intuitive eating or want to learn about other healthy eating strategies, please visit our scheduler to set up an appointment with an intuitive eating dietitian.