Intuitive’s definition is using what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning or instinctive. Many of us use intuition daily in many ways. Maybe you listen to your inner voice or that gut feeling and let it lead you in your next decision. Other ways to be intuitive is that you connect with people, you listen to your body’s needs, or maybe you are observant of all things or situations.
What is Intuitive eating (IE)?
This eating style has been popular for some time. The basis of IE is a normal eating or a non-dieting approach. There are many handouts, literature and even research that explains why and how to follow this style of eating. Here are some of the major points of an intuitive eater.
- Remove Typical Diet Mentality
- Honor your Hunger and your Health
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Respect your Fullness, Discover Satisfaction
- Honor Your Feelings without Using Food.
- Respect your Body
Many individuals do not feel hunger or understand how to honor hunger without over doing it. It may be because often we do not think about food in such a way or even recognize it.
In addition, we often use food for comfort in this highly productive, demanding, emotional and entertainment-driven society. When we recognize that food is a useful tool and used for enjoyment within reason, many of these concepts fall into place. Here is how I interpret the above suggestions.
1) Diet Mentality: Research says diets backfire (The Biggest Loser for example); try incorporating balanced plates with smaller portions of starches/grains and high fat. Increase vegetables whenever possible.
2) Honor hunger eating when you feel hunger. Using a hunger scale (included below) learn to observe when you need and want food that is not related to your emotional state. Honor your health by adding in foods that are good for your body, and try new items often.
3) Make Peace not War on food: Try to avoid being angry of your food choices. Are you restricting foods that could lead to overdoing it? When we feel we are not “allowed” to have certain foods, we might be setting up ourselves for overdoing it. Allowing yourself a small amount of something you crave or enjoy is perfectly all right. My favorite thing is to take my time; smell and truly taste foods I enjoy, and makes it taste even better.
4) Food Police: That voice inside us that tells us we cannot have certain foods or they make us bad. We adopt these over time. Have you labeled foods as bad, sinful, dangerous, and evil? I believe there are no bad foods but there are usually better for us foods.
5) Fullness & Satisfaction: Stop eating when you are full, allow for smaller portions of a regular meal, and avoid getting to the point where you need to unbutton your britches for extra breathing room. Choose plates and food items that satisfy your body instead of stuffing your tummy. Learning to recognize fullness takes time. Eating with friends and purchasing foods in smaller quantities is one way to help satisfaction level.
6) Honor Feelings: Confront the thoughts about food. Learn to recognize, comfort and nurture yourself during stressful or emotional life events without food. Do you know what triggers certain food eating behaviors? Acknowledge these behaviors by writing them down. Then discover why you want certain foods during emotional times. Talk about these issues with friends or someone trustworthy. Replace food thoughts with positive stories or kind thoughts from your day.
7) Respect your Body: Body acceptance is a great place to start. You are incredibly unique with individual genetic makeup, WOW!. Talk nicely to yourself. Some people call this self-love, I call it positive self-talk along with body acceptance. Start practicing this today!
8) Exercise: Enjoy moving, find fitness that you love and enjoy that make you feel invigorated and alive instead of beat down!
Prepared by Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD email@example.com