Today let’s explore Intuitive Eating. This is the first part of a three part series of articles. We feel like it’s such an important topic because what we eat every day, the food we feed our bodies, is one of the most important things we can do for our health both now and for the future.
The reasons we choose what we eat are not always centered around targeting good health. Foods that aren’t good for us sure taste good. So we eat for taste. Some foods are associated with our emotions. So we stress eat or eat to be happy. There is an abundance of food available and often portions we are served are more than we need. So we eat too much food.
Deciding what to eat every day, and trying to make those choices the best we can, is hard work. How many times have you thought or said, “I wish someone would just tell me what to eat so I could be healthy or lose weight?”
Most people have wished for that exact same thing at least once. It usually happens when you’re sitting in front of the news or reading the paper and once again getting health advice that conflicts with the health advice you heard last week.
For example, one week eggs are bad for you and cause heart disease, and yet the next week they’re a great source of healthy fats and protein. Which is right? How do you know if you’re helping or harming your body?
Struggling with losing weight and dieting is the other reason people often wish there was a magic approach to eating, one where someone tells you what to eat – and it’s perfect and easy and you lose the weight you want to lose.
What if there really is someone to tell you what to eat to lose weight and improve your health? And what if that person was you? We’re talking about intuitive eating and it can change not only the way you look at food but also how you live your life.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is often called mindful eating or the “anti-diet”. It’s an approach to eating that embraces the concept that when you listen to your body and pay attention to the sometimes subtle signs that it sends, you know what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat to stay healthy.
It’s about awareness. So many of us eat unconsciously. We eat by the clock and we eat based on what sounds good right now. Cravings and deprivation are often synonymous with diet and losing weight. We pay very little attention to the ingredients in the food we eat and how it impacts our immediate and long-term health.
Intuitive eating embraces a few principles that are quite simple in practice. We’re talking about the concept of learning to recognize when you’re full and eliminating overeating. These principles can take some time to learn, recognize and embrace, yet once you make them part of your life they’re easy to hold onto. They become part of who you are and how you eat.
And you’ll be amazed at just how easy eating healthy can become. No more deprivation or yo-yo dieting. And the vicious circle of exhaustion and energy spikes will disappear. Your digestion will improve, you’ll feel healthier and stronger and your mental clarity and function will improve, too. There are so many subtle benefits to intuitive eating that you’ll wonder why we ever approached food any other way.
In the second part of our discussion about intuitive eating, or mindful eating, we take a look at the principles of intuitive eating including:
- Reject the Diet Mentality
- Value/recognize Hunger
- Learning to recognize fullness
- Let go of emotional eating
- Ignoring the food police
- Enjoy your food
- Respect Your Body
- Value/respect your personal health
We’ll also talk more about the challenges of intuitive eating, the benefits of it and how to get started. The getting started section also shares tips and tricks to help you fully embrace intuitive eating into your diet and your lifestyle. Ready to change how you think about food?
And finally, in the third part of the series, we will discuss the challenges that can be present when we decide to embrace intuitive eating, and also more about specifically how to eat mindfully.
Update: Part 2 of the series can be found here: Intuitive Eating Part 2: How To Stop Overeating
Please join our Anti-Aging By Design list to stay connected. Just put your name and email in the box at the top of the column on the right.