Intuitive eating is a popular anti-diet approach due to more people recognizing some of the long-term physical and mental health side effects of constant dieting. Advocates for intuitive eating say that it is a refreshing anti-diet approach that helps realign us with our natural instincts. If you’re curious about how to eat intuitively, this post is for you.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a process that helps people become attuned to their body’s messages about food and reject the often harmful messages that come from fad dieting and diet culture.
It can be a great method for people who yo-yo diet, have a history of disordered eating patterns, or who simply want to improve their relationship with food. If you have a chronic condition that requires a special diet, you may want to speak with your doctor before trying intuitive eating to make sure that it makes sense for you.
10 Intuitive Eating Principles
There are 10 principles that teach us how to practice intuitive eating:
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
Make a commitment to give up diet culture — no more dieting books, calorie counters, fad diets, or anything that can suck you into trying a new diet.
2. Honor Your Hunger
Begin to listen to your body to notice when you feel the physical sensations of hunger and eat when you feel physically hungry.
3. Make Peace with Food
Give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever food you want. Reject feelings of guilt or restriction associated with certain foods, and make note pf how you feel when you eat what you want.
4. Challenge the Food Police
Identify the inner voices that give you harsh criticisms or unsustainable rules about what you “should” eat, and instead develop a neutral or positive voice concerning food.
5. Feel Your Fullness
Listen to your body’s signals that tell you to feel full. Try to be “fully present” while eating, and don’t feel obligated to clean your plate if you’re full.
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Make eating enjoyable! Eat foods that are appealing to your senses and also make your body feel good afterward.
7. Cope with Your Feelings without Using Food
Recognize the difference between eating to manage emotions versus eating to satisfy hunger. Discover alternate coping mechanisms for emotional health.
8. Respect Your Body
Begin to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of your own body (and others!), and develop realistic expectations for your body’s shape and genetics.
9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
Focus on exercise as a way to take care of yourself instead of a way to lose weight. Get into an active lifestyle by engaging in exercise that is easy and fun to do.
10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition
Make food choices that satisfy your tastes and body sensations, and also keep a mindful eye to include nutritious foods that support your health.
Myths and Misconceptions about Intuitive Eating
As with most nutrition perspectives, there’s misinformation floating around about intuitive eating. One myth is that when you give yourself permission to eat whatever you want, you’ll only want to eat calorie-dense foods like cake all of the time. This may be your reaction when first giving making peace with “forbidden” foods, but your eating pattern will often normalize itself.
Another big misconception about intuitive eating is thinking that it is a weight-loss tool. While some people may lose weight while practicing intuitive eating, this is not a focus or expectation.
Making Healthy Snack Choices
In the principle of Honoring Your Health, achieving authentic health combines integrating the intuitive messages from your mind and body with some attention to health and nutrition guidelines.
You have the freedom to choose fun snacks for their sensory appeal, but sometimes you may want to choose nutritious snacks that help your body feel its best. Some healthy snack choices include fruits, Chomps meat sticks, or nuts and seeds.
If you’ve been wondering how to practice intuitive eating, you can learn with books, podcasts, and workbooks about intuitive eating, or you can start by simply becoming more present to your body and identifying your hunger cues.
If you’re looking for a snack to help satisfy your hunger while being a treat for your senses, shop online at the Chomps store to try the full line of Chomps meat sticks.