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Intuitive eating and you

by Tobias 4 minutes read

Last updated: 20 Jun, 2022

There are innumerable diets out there but intuitive eating is a way of eating that attempts to remove us from diet culture, to live a healthy and happy life.

A new book written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch called "Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works" has been taking the diet world by storm with a return to a removal of diet culture. The authors describe the book as "A recovery book for chronic dieters". I don't wish to take away a sale of their book so by all means please buy it and read it yourself but I have disseminated some key principles of intuitive eating that I would like to share with you.

Does this sound familiar?

  • You are sometimes unsure if you are hungry, or just thirsty
  • You are trying to follow a new diet but struggling to adhere to it
  • You can't remember the last time you ate slowly and actually tasted your food
  • You eat because you're feeling emotional, or just plain bored.

The modern world is a very fast paced place and seems only to be getting faster and faster. This way of life can lead us to becoming very out of tune with our own bodies. We have our circadian rhythm disturbed so our sleep patterns are disrupted, we live in almost constant stress and our bodies struggle to alert us when we are actually hungry.

This is where intuitive eating enters the story, this way of eating is attempting to help former dieters tune in to their bodies wants and needs, and to learn the difference between the two. To trust their body to know when they are hungry and when to stop eating.

slow down, pay attention

When you are constantly rushing from point A to point B then you body will be in a constant state of flux. If your attention is focussed elsewhere then it is likely that you will over consume food as your body will simply not register that you are full and that you should stop eating. So get away from your desk if you can, if you can't then simply turn the screen off. Give yourself this 15 minutes to eat calmly and mindfully. Take the time to chew your food properly and taste each mouthful. Put your knife and fork down between each mouthful and enjoy a few minutes peace and quiet after eating before returning to your day.

are you really hungry, or is it just a meal time?

After a lifetime of following strict meal plans your body is likely very confused about when it is about time to eat. This is the main point of intuitive eating, eat when your hungry. This goes beyond an attempt to restrict your eating for weight loss. Losing weight is not the main goal, fostering a healthy relationship with what you eat will improve your life in several ways. It can help you foster a good body image, remove yourself from the diet mentality, improve your mental health and potentially beat an eating disorder. If you practice intuitive eating your body will tell you when it is hungry and then you eat, slowly and calmly as explained above and when you start to become full, stop.

Are you eating because you're sad or stressed?

For a lot of people eating is not an enjoyable experience, regardless of how hungry someone is they can feel the urge to eat to help them manage their emotions, whether this is sadness or stress. Eating calorific food releases chemicals in your brain that makes you feel good, it's when this becomes too frequent that your body becomes confused about why it is eating and begins to make you want to eat for no reason.

There is no restriction for intuitive eaters, they have an unconditional permission to eat, whenever or whatever they want. But if you follow the advice above and eat only when hungry and stop when full then the desire to eat will diminish. It can take a long time to learn to eat intuitively when we have been stuck in old patterns for many years but be patient with yourself. It will be worth it in the end.

Warning: Disclaimer - I am not a registered dietitian, this information is giving for educational purposes only. If you believe you have an eating disorder please seek medical advice.

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