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Are You Eating Intuitively?

Fad diets, weight loss supplements, and workout routines in American culture are never-ending. It seems everywhere you turn, from magazines to social media, there’s always a new quick-fix promising you never before seen results. Oftentimes, these diets are restrictive, not sustainable in the long term, and weight-loss supplements rarely put true health and wellness first. This year, aim to find balance and health by giving your body the nutrients and foods you need through intuitive eating

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is the opposite of fad diets and restrictive eating. It’s a chance to find sustainable balance through lifestyle choices that put your individual needs first. The goal is to honor your hunger and to become more in tune with what your body needs. By ending the restrictive cycle, most people experience many life-changing benefits. 

How Do I Begin My Intuitive Eating Journey?

To get started, throw away the notion that some foods are “good” and some foods are “bad.” Each day, your body will need something different, and that’s okay. One day you may be craving pizza while another you’ll feel like having green smoothies! Listen to those hunger cues and before each meal, truly think about what foods will make you feel healthy and satiated. 

Next, learn to become more in tune with your hunger cues. Throughout your life, you may have become used to ignoring hunger signals, restricting your eating when hungry to meet weight loss goals quickly or even overeating in moments of stress. All of these behaviors have contributed to ignoring what your body truly needs. Learning to recognize and trust them can be difficult, especially for those in an endless cycle of dieting. 

You’re not alone and it will take time to reconnect with your body in this way. Honor your hunger by eating when your body signals a need for food, and stopping when it signals feelings of being full. Before each meal, ask yourself - am I truly hungry? Am I feeling stressed? Am I feeling bored? By connecting how you’re feeling when you want to eat, you can better serve your body and its needs while building the path to a better relationship with food and your body.  

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

The benefits of intuitive eating are bountiful! Because intuitive eating is a lifestyle change and not a fad diet, it is impossible to reach a point where you feel you have hit a wall, resulting in possible binge eating. Since no foods are restricted, you can enjoy the things you love in moderation, reaching a better balance with your diet. 

Studies have shown that people who embark on an intuitive eating journey tend to have higher confidence levels from finding peace and connection to their bodies. (1) Intuitive eating pushes for seeing your body as the deserving vessel that serves us every day.  

Additionally, people who eat intuitively have lower stress levels. Because, over time, food becomes easier. You eat when you’re hungry and learn to enjoy every meal. There’s no more stress or guilt about eating a certain meal or eating when your body tells you to. Many find it to be a very freeing way to live. 

Intuitive eating has also been shown as a great way to bring an end to emotional and disordered eating, improved metabolisms, and better overall happiness and satisfaction. 

Top 5 Tips on Intuitive Eating:

  1. Eat with purpose - think about what will make you feel your best at each meal and allow yourself to enjoy it fully.
  2. Pay attention to your hunger - allow yourself to get hungry, and connect with those feelings before you begin your meal. Are you hungry for a full meal? Would a small snack better serve your hunger? When you feel full, listen to those cues from your body, and save the rest of your meal for later.
  3. All food is good - so throw away the notion that foods are “bad.” Each food will serve you differently depending on what your body needs that day. Every food serves a purpose in moderation, and by letting go of limiting yourself, you will find balance in your dietary choices.
  4. Surround yourself with positive food options - fill your fridge and pantry with food choices that feel healthful to you, foods that make you feel your best, that you are excited to eat. Even something like trying a fun new flavor of your favorite PlantFusion protein powder is a good way to get excited about feel-good food.
  5. You deserve to fuel your body - each day is a new day, a chance to do your best. If you find you didn’t eat as intuitively as you might have wanted one day, don’t punish yourself on the next. Intuitive eating is a journey, and no matter what, your body is deserving of nourishment and enjoyment through food.

 

References

  1. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2014) “A Review of Interventions that Promote Eating by Internal Cues.”

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