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Intuitive eating is a process in which you become more aware of your body and its needs, so that you can make healthier food choices accordingly. It’t the kind of eating that focuses on listening to your body rather than following pre-determined rules for what to eat and when. Intuitive eating helps break through the noise of diet culture and allows you to focus on what your body truly needs. It’s not about counting calories or points, but instead learning how to tune into your hunger cues and recognize when you’re actually hungry versus just thinking you should be hungry. When we practice intuitive eating, we trust our bodies to let us know what feels right. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about intuitive eating!
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is a term used to describe eating in a way that is truly in tune with your body’s needs and desires. It is based on the theory that we have an inner ability to understand what our bodies require nutritionally to be healthy, which may be different than what current nutrition advice suggests are necessary. Intuitive eating is not a diet or a rule-based system. Instead, it is a movement that encourages people to listen to their bodies and trust their inherent ability to know what is best for them. This can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. There are various theories around the concept of intuitive eating that say we should listen to our hunger cues, eat when we’re hungry, stop when we’re full, and eat according to our individual nutritional needs.
Why is intuitive eating important?
The goal of intuitive eating is to settle into a place of trust with ourselves and our bodies. It’s about letting go of the idea that there is one right way to eat, and instead basing your eating off of what feels right for you. The ultimate goal is to have a healthy relationship with food, and with yourself. Intuitive eating is not a diet, it is a way of life. It’s a way of looking at food and eating, and it’s not about what you eat, but how you eat. In a culture that seems to thrive on rules for eating and dieting, it can be easy to get caught up in the noise. But over time, when we rely on external rules to guide our food choices, we may experience a lot of dissonance between what we think we’re supposed to be eating versus what our bodies truly desire.
How to practice intuitive eating?
- First, be aware of how diet culture may be impacting your relationship with food. Diet culture refers to the various beliefs and practices of the diet industry. Diet culture is deeply rooted in the idea that there’s a right and wrong way to eat, and that certain foods are “good” while others are “bad.”
- Understand your body’s needs. The first step to practicing intuitive eating is to look inward and recognize what your body actually needs. Many people don’t even know what their nutritional needs are, so start by educating yourself on the basics.
- Get to know yourself. The next step is to really get to know yourself and your unique relationship with food. Be observant and pay attention to the thoughts and feelings surrounding your eating patterns and cravings.
- Be kind to yourself. Above all, remember that when you’re practicing intuitive eating, you are becoming your own best friend. You are your own advocate and you deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion.
3 Steps to begin your intuitive eating journey
- Connect with your emotions: When you’re first starting out with intuitive eating, it’s important to get in tune with your emotions. This means listening to and being present with your thoughts and feelings around food.
- Notice your cravings: Once you can tune into what emotions are triggering certain cravings, it’s time to look inward and discover what your body actually needs. What do your cravings mean? What do they signal? It’s not as easy as “if you’re hungry, you should eat”. There are so many other factors at play when it comes to what your body truly wants.
- Get to know your hunger cues: Once you’ve connected with your emotions and cravings, it’s time to get to know your hunger cues. Learning how to differentiate between cravings and hunger can be tricky, and it takes a lot of practice. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Bonus Tip: 5 Foods That Will Keep Your Skin and Joints Healthy
Think staying young is only about the way you look? Think again. It’s in your hands, quite literally. Keeping your hands healthy is one of the best ways to keep your skin and joints healthy too. Let’s take a look at some foods that will help you keep those essential organs in good working order.
The key to intuitive eating is to listen to your body and to eat when you’re actually hungry. It’s also important to remember that there is no perfect way to eat. There is no perfect diet. There is no “right way” to live your life. There is only you, your unique needs and desires, and the path that leads you to a happy and fulfilling life. There will be times when you fall back into old patterns, and that’s okay. It’s a continuous process, not a quick fix. You don’t have to figure out everything right away. Just open yourself up to the possibility of creating a more healthy relationship with food, and take it one step at a time.