What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a method in which a healthy relationship with food is developed. It promotes body positivity and focuses on recognizing hunger. Intuitive eating requires people to listen to the signs of hunger and eat without guilt.
Intuitive eating is basically a natural process, but not for those who have been dieting for years. Often it is found some people restrict certain food for years, use food to deal with emotions, and obsess over healthy or so-called clean food. These are the ones found struggling with intuitive eating.
Toddlers are examples of intuitive eaters. It is found, those following intuitive eating find it easier to return to a simpler view of eating. This diet also helps people in building a stronger relationship with their body by listening to hunger and fullness cues.
Keys of Intuitive Eating
If you want to try intuitive eating here are 10 key principles you can look ahead to:
Reject Diet Mentality
People with a diet mentality, know it very well how a particular food affects the body. They can filter their food choices for a healthier choice. This way of diet mentality can be harmful in a long run.
People with a food mentality choose their food accordingly and do not consider hunger, craving, and do not look for what their body wants.
Honor Your Hunger
Whenever you restrict hunger there is an urge to overeat. People who follow intuitive eating, eat enough calories, including sufficient carbohydrates, proteins, and fats keeping them full for long. This, however, may make it difficult for some people to learn to recognize hunger and fullness cues.
Make Peace with Food
Food should not be considered an enemy. One should not consider any food off-limits unless they are allergic or intolerant to certain food.
If you give yourself uncontrollable permission for food, the uncontrollable cravings, feeling of deprivation, and desire to overeat are never there.
Challenge Food Police Mindset
Food police mindset refers to people moralizing food, which means considering healthy foods as good and unhealthy foods as bad. This mindset is not considered good by people following intuitive eating and this eating habit challenges the food police mindset.
Look for Satisfaction Factor
Eating should be enjoyable. It can be made pleasurable by sitting and enjoying meals, eating enjoyable food, and eating in an inviting environment. A person is more satisfied after eating a meal with a pleasurable experience.
Feel Your Fullness
Both, feeling of hunger as well as a feeling of fullness should be honored. Intuitive eating helps people check themselves during eating. They pay attention to what they are eating, its taste, and their hunger level. This helps them in recognizing when they are satisfied.
Cope with Emotions and Kindness
Sometimes people eat to deal with their emotions and this is known as emotional eating.
Instead of eating to deal with emotions, a person should find other ways to deal with it such as writing a journal, taking a walk, and calling a friend or family. Also, one can seek help from a professional.
Respect Your Body
People may make unrealistic expectations for their body in the terms of how it should look and would criticize themselves harshly. This can make them stick to a diet mentality.
Following intuitive eating makes you try to appreciate your body and respect it.
Move As It Can Make A Difference
Instead of focusing on how many calories you have consumed, concentrate on how many calories you have burned. They can focus on how exercise can make them feel and keep them motivated and feel active.
Honor Your health
What a person is eating consistently is what matters. Anyone should choose and honor their nutrition goals and food challenges and cravings.
Benefits of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is known to have both mental and physical benefits.
A study done in 2019 found people who ate intuitively and focused on physical hunger had more positive body image. (1)
This correlation was strongest in those with lower body mass index.
Another study was done in 2019, which involved 37 people with anorexia nervosa and 31 without an eating disorder. (2) The researchers analyzed interoceptive sensitivity, which is a measure of how accurately a person recognizes body signals. A correlation was observed between increased intuitive eating and interoceptive sensitivity in people with or without an eating disorder. However, it was observed that intuitive eating was lower in people with anorexia.
Risks of Intuitive Eating
Although beneficial, intuitive eating may not be a good choice for everyone. People with certain health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease should always stick to the diet recommended by their doctor or dietician.
Some people looking forward to gaining weight should also avoid intuitive eating and seek guidance from a registered dietician.
Intuitive eating is an approach that focuses on hunger and fullness. People who want to develop a healthy relationship with their body and food can consider following it.