Do you have a list of good and bad food? Do you count calories? Do you feel guilty when you eat certain foods? Do you constantly obsess over food and think about how you will make up for eating extra calories or “bad” foods? Do you restrict yourself from bad foods and then end up bingeing them later?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are in the right place. It’s time to learn about eating intuitively.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive Eating is an approach that was developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. These wonderful ladies are Registered Dieticians who specialize in eating disorders. Intuitive Eating is the process in which someone eats food without guilt. An Intuitive Eater is someone who eats the foods they want when they are hungry, enjoys their food and respects fullness.
Here are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, simplified:
1. Reject Diet Mentality
This is where you make the commitment to reject diet culture. You are making the choice to stop engaging in diet behaviors that weight loss companies promote. You understand that diet programs and products provide only their false promises of weight loss. You have never failed at these programs because they were never going to work anyways.
2. Honor Your Hunger
When you are hungry, you should eat.
3. Make Peace with Food
Give yourself permission to eat. By restricting certain foods, your primal drive to eat can take over. When you deprive yourself of food, your cravings will become uncontrollable. This can lead to bingeing and feelings of guilt.
4. Challenge the Food Police
The food police are actually the thoughts in your mind that monitor your personal food rules. Food rules are taught to you by diet culture. These thoughts are the reasons why you believe that there are good and bad foods. They are why you think of yourself as being good for restricting calories and why you think badly of yourself for enjoying dessert. Challenging these thoughts (the food police).
5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Eating food is pleasurable! When you allow yourself to eat the foods you want, when you want it, you feel happy and satisfied.
6. Feel Your Fullness
When you have followed a diet culture system for so long, it can be difficult to actually discern when you are hungry or full. Focus on how you feel when you eat (not your mental thoughts but the physical ones). Learn to observe the signs that tell you that you are comfortably full. When you focus on how you physically feel during and after you eat, you will begin to identify the foods that make your body feel good.
7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
Using a food as a coping mechanism (aka emotional eating) is not a productive way to deal with negative feelings. If you are experiencing negative emotions, it is important to find ways to deal with them that do not coincide with food. Perhaps, taking a walk, going to therapy, doing yoga or reading a book is a better approach. Find something that works for you!
8. Respect Your Body
Every body is different and certain characteristics are genetically determined. You have to learn to stop being overly critical of your appearance. This is when you learn to accept the body you have been given. All bodies are good bodies!
9. Movement – Feel the Difference
Get active! Exercise because it makes you feel good, not because you want to lose weight. Let go of extreme exercise habits and routines. Do things that you enjoy and focus on how energized those things make you feel.
10. Honor your Health – Gentle Nutrition
Make food choices that make you feel good and that taste great too. Include foods that have health-sustaining properties, but do not feel like those are the only foods you should eat. A balance of all goods is best!
Eating intuitively while suffering from body image issues is a process, but it is one that will lead you to feel so much better about yourself. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Are you ready to start eating intuitively?