Intuitive eating is about making peace with food. It means not categorizing food as “bad” or “good” but instead trusting your body to eat what feels right. Here are a few ways to adopt a more intuitive approach to eating.
Reject Diet Mentality
Stop all diets, throw out diet books and pills, and accept that diets don’t work. Restricting yourself of foods can lead you to deny your body of the key nutrients it needs to function its best. Diet mentality can also affect your mental health and, in some cases, lead to eating disorders.
Eat When You’re Hungry
Give yourself permission to eat when your body tells you it’s hungry. If you ignore your hunger cues, you can trigger the primal drive to overeat or binge on unhealthy foods. When you listen to your body and avoid overwhelming hunger pangs, you will naturally make smarter eating decisions.
Stop Food Policing
Intuitive eating means letting go of categorizing foods as “good” or “bad,” policing yourself because you think you are following “rules” you’ve learned from diets. Telling yourself you can’t eat something triggers you to believe that you are deprived, causing cravings that can also lead to binging. Eating what you want, when you want it, will help you stop feeling guilt over food.
The Satisfaction Factor
When we focus on the rules of a diet, we forget to enjoy our food and forgo any satisfaction we get from eating. Enjoying foods you like and want makes the experience of eating more positive and satisfying.
Feel Your Fullness
Listen to your body, and pay attention to the cues it signals you when you’ve had enough food. Being in tune with your body’s fullness will help you avoid overeating. The best way to do this is to be mindful while you eat: Turn off any distractions and focus on enjoying your meal. You can better monitor your fullness when you pay attention, rather than scarfing down food in front of the TV.
Food and Emotions
Be sure to note when you’re eating due to anxiety, depression, boredom, or other feelings. Eating to feel better might seem like it will help, but it often leads to added feelings of guilt surrounding food. Instead, look to the root of why you’re feeling certain ways.
Respect Your Body
Everyone’s body is unique. Respect your body by recognizing everything it does for you instead of punishing it with negative self-talk.
You don’t have to have a rigorous exercise routine, but you should move to make your body feel good. Pay attention to how energized you become from working out and the positive way your body responds to it.
Share your intuitive eating experiences with us in the comments below!