By SHANNON SKAE, health and life coach at Revive with Shan
As a society, we have lost touch with our bodies and understanding of what hunger and being full means due to diet mentality and the overconsumption of foods (especially processed foods). The idea is not to waste food, which means finishing everything on your plate, whether you are hungry or full. We also eat due to boredom, sitting in front of the TV, emotional issues, and because it’s the weekend, all leading to losing touch with our intuition on food.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating refers to listening to your body’s signals on when to eat and when to stop eating. It does not impose guidelines on eating, unlike traditional diets. This is to promote a healthy attitude towards eating and your body.
The focus of intuitive eating is to eat when hungry and stop when full.
How to eat intuitively:
- Ditch the diet books/magazines/media.
- Listen to your body when it is hungry.
- Give yourself unconditional permission to eat food, any type of food.
- Remove the idea that being “good” is associated with healthy foods, and being “bad” is associated with unhealthy foods.
- Slow down and enjoy every bite of your food.
- Listen to your body when you feel full.
- Mostly eat foods that make you feel good, give you energy and honour your health.
- Ditch the calorie counting.
- Challenge people who judge your food choices.
- Avoid emotional eating; instead, find other coping mechanisms that do not include food. This means learning to understand your emotions and work through them rather than using food to avoid them.
- Become aware of and embrace your body and then move your body.
- Avoid putting a moral value on food – you are not a bad person for eating certain foods.
- Don’t skip meals to leave room for a bigger meal.
Benefits of intuitive eating:
- Positive body image and heightened self-esteem.
- Lower rates of disordered eating.
- Higher feelings of general well-being.
- Decreased levels of anxiety and depression.
- Helps maintain a healthy body weight.
- Reduces binge eating.
- Improves cholesterol levels.
- Improves your metabolism.
The most important takeaway from this article is that diets are only helpful in the short term but can lead to restrictive and disordered eating in the long term. It is better to work towards a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy by focusing on eating intuitively rather than following a diet tailored towards losing weight.