The concept of intuitive eating is taking the health world by storm. It is the notion of wiping out diets, rules and restrictions when it comes to the way we view and consume our food. Intuitive eating promotes listening to the body when it comes to what we should and should not eat and aims to focus on personal needs rather than a general diet or rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating. Many people are jumping on the intuitive eating band wagon, and for good reason! Not only is it a food regime that is full of freedom and individual understanding, it also promotes getting in touch with a deeper level of your body, listening and responding.
Many of us don’t realize the important role that food has on our daily lives. What you eat can affect how you feel physically and emotionally and can dispel or enrage certain illness’ or ailments that we have. Being aware of this is the very beginning step of understanding intuitive eating. Counting calories, weighing our food and weighing ourselves constantly is not going to do much else but drastically effect mental and emotional health.
This kind of thinking when it comes to food creates a lot of stress around such a basic human need, that we are attributing negative energy to something that should be viewed as wholly positive. Intuitive eating rebukes the guilt and harsh treatment associated with the physical body and questions the notion of being harsh on yourself in the name of health.
It is a working relationship between person and food, and in most cases through body image issues, fad dieting, television, social media and the internet, this relationship has been tainted. It is sad that we have lost touch of respecting our bodies and instead have resorted to unhealthy lifestyles aiming for the “perfect” bodies.
Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, dieticians from South Carolina developed the idea of intuitive eating in 1995. They came up with this approach to food because they kept finding a gap in the success of dieting, where their clients were putting the weight from diets straight back on. They were beginning to understand that diets were unsustainable and furthermore, were actually rather unhealthy. Tribole and Resch were pushing the conception of “Eat what you want, with no rules about what to eat, how much of it, or when”. This is a way to heal from the pressures of crash dieting. It may initially seem like a dangerous way to address food, but it actually works and it great for overall wellbeing. This being said, you must be smart about intuitive eating and continue to value foods nutritional value and respond to your body when it tells you that you are full or not hungry.
An intuitive eater is said to be someone who eats and feels no guilt, remorse or negative connotations to their eating patterns. This person also honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys every single pleasure of eating. Intuitive eating completely rejects the idea of strict dieting. The dieting industry is one of the biggest in the world, with many people spending their hard-earned money on the latest craze to lose weight. Dieting is risky and very bad for mental health, especially when the diet fails and you end up putting all of the weight that you initially lost, back on. Keep in mind that diets run of a complete opposite principle then that of intuitive eating.
Honoring hunger is a part of intuitive eating that is hard to get used to. Dieting tells you to look away from the feeling of hunger and avoid giving into it. Intuitive eating tells you to honor that feeling, and feed it with the appropriate amounts of carbohydrates and energy. This is based on the theory that by looking away from hunger, you will lead yourself into feeling excessively hungry. This often leads to over eating. Honor and address that first primal instinct of hunger. It is not something to be afraid of. This is the same for restricting yourself from certain foods. By doing this, your body feels completely deprived of said food, which can lead to uncontrollable cravings.
Respect the feeling of full. Listen closely to your body for the tell-tale signs that you are full. A good way to do so is by pausing around the middle mark of your meal. Honestly listen to how full you feel and how your body is responding to the food. Stop and assess how delicious and satisfying your meal is. With all the dieting in the world, taste and satisfaction have been overlooked, with calorie counting and nervous eating taking its place. Respect who you are and the body shape and size that you have been given. Being a size 6 is not natural for some people and intuitive eating will help you to work establish your perfect size.
Most importantly, respect your health and get exercising. Getting active is unbelievably beneficial for your mental and physical health. Exercising is not only going to help you stay in shape, but it will assist you in becoming your most healthy and happy self. Making healthy and nutritional food choices is also a big part of respecting your bodies health. Intuitive eating does not have any rules, but it does insist on your making the right choices for your self and always valuing mental and physical health and wellbeing.