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- 10 Essential Keys to Intuitive Eating
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
When it comes to the way we eat, particularly how we work to uphold a healthy eating lifestyle, there is a term that pops up..."intuitive eating". Have you ever heard of it? Well the overreaching goal of "intuitive eating" is to achieve a healthy relationship with food and throw out the notion of dieting.
We've put together 10 essential keys to achieving intuitive eating to help you achieve your healthy relationship with food:
1. Reject the diet mentality- Throw all those diet books and magazine articles out the window. They do nothing more than give you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily and permanently. Even more absurd, they are often not based on science but on unproven myths, unrealistic rules, and some can actually be harmful and do permanent damage.
2. Listen to your body and honor your hunger- keep your body biologically fueled with all the macronutrients. Remember, calories = energy. Don’t wait till you become famished. This will trigger the primal drive to overeat. Once that happens, all desire to stick to intentional portion sizes and balance will be fleeting and irrelevant. Addressing the first signs of hunger will give you a head start to setting the pace for your biological urge to eat.
3. Make peace with your food- give yourself permission to eat. Eliminate phrases like, “I can’t “, or “I shouldn’t”. Stop referring to foods as “Good” or “Bad”. This can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings that could lead to binging. This, in turn, can lead to strong feelings of guilt.
4. Lose the food police – Watch out for the voice in your head that says you are “Good” for eating under 1000 calories, or “Bad” for eating a piece of chocolate cake. That is the voice that monitors the unrealistic “Rules” that dieting has created. The jail is housed deep within our psyche and it’s time to set you as the prisoner free. This is a critical step towards becoming a
5. Respect your fullness – Listen to your body for signs of fullness. Pause during a meal and ask yourself, “are you comfortably full yet?” Also ask, “How does the food taste?” Learn to assign numbers to your level of fullness where you feel like stopping. (for example a 7 out of 10). Practice using your body signals to stop at that same point for other meal times.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor- Don’t overlook the experience of pleasure when eating. In our efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle we often forget that eating is designed to be enjoyable. When you eat what you really want in an environment that is inviting and conducive, it will become a powerful source of feeling satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself you will find it takes much less food to feel satisfied.
7. b- Find other ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. We all experience fear, anxiety, hurt, loneliness, boredom, anger and guilt from time to time. They each have their own set of triggers and their own appeasement. Food may comfort, distract, even numb in the short term, but it will never be a permanent solution. Eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. Accept the feelings and learn to resolve them in a more productive way.
8. Respect your body- Accept your genetics as it relates to the size and shape of your body. Just as someone who wears a size 9 shoe, would not expect to squeeze into a size 6 shoe, it is equally uncomfortable and unrealistic to have the same expectations about your body. This is not to say change is not impossible, just make sure to have realistic expectations when it comes to body change. Instead, try to respect your body for what it can do, how it feels, and what you like about it. This type of respect will help you feel less critical about body shape and better about who you are inside of that body.
9. Exercise- Just get active and feel the movement. Shift your thought pattern from “How many calories am I burning?” to “How does this type of movement make me feel?” More importantly, do not forget to focus on how you feel afterward. If you focus on how you feel afterward, such as energized, it will be a lot easier to get out of bed early in the morning for that brisk walk. If the only goal is to burn calories to lose weight, how easy will it be to hit the snooze alarm?
10. Honor your health- Make your food choices ones that honor your health and your taste buds.
Remember that you do not have to eat perfect to be healthy. You will not suddenly get nutritional deficiency or gain weight from one snack or one meal. It is consistency over time, progress, not perfection, that counts.
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Adapted from “Creating a healthy relationship with food, mind, body”, Authors Evelyn Tribole MSRD and Elyse Resch MS RD FADA.