If you use social media, you’ve probably heard or seen the term intuitive eating. Is it another fad? Or, is it a diet that lets you eat donuts all day? I hate to break it to you (mostly about the donuts), but it’s neither of those! However, I can tell you what it really is…
Watch the video below for a breakdown of intuitive eating, what the heck diet culture is, and how you can practically begin to reject the diet mentality in your life.
After you watch the video, read the 10 principles of intuitive eating and leave a comment. Let me know if you have any questions or if you’re ready to give intuitive eating a try!
10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
“Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency, or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.” Evelyn Tribole, Co-Founder of Intuitive Eating
1) Reject the diet mentality
- Commit to give up dieting from here on out!
2) Honor your hunger
- Listen to signs or noises that would signify you’re hungry (i.e grumbling or growling stomach, headache, lack of energy or mental focus). When you recognize this make time to eat.
- Don’t wait until your ravenously hungry. When this happens you’re more likely to eat something you wouldn’t typically eat and it also makes it harder to assess when you’ve had enough to eat. It also may cause you to eat faster than usual to satisfy and reduce the “hungry” feeling. Even if you’re sick or stressed it’s important to eat.
- Make time to shop, cook, and prepare your meals ahead of time.
3) Make peace with food
- Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.
- Get rid of the “shouldn’t” or “can’t” when it comes to eating a certain food. When you use these words it can cause a feeling of deprivation, which can lead to cravings or bingeing.
- Don’t deprive yourself of a food that sounds appealing to you.
- Observe how your body feels when you eat all foods—during and after. Do you feel energized, sluggish? Does you enjoy the consistency or flavors?
4) Challenge the food police
- Think about the negative or guilty thoughts or feelings you’ve experienced when eating foods. Realize the food police in your head has been created by the unrealistic rules set out by different diets and fads.
- Start to implement voices in your head that are supportive and encouraging of your food choices. Replace negative self-talk with positive self talk.
5) Feel your fullness
- Listen to the signals from your body that let you know you’re no longer hungry. Instead of reaching a place of feeling uncomfortably stuffed, aim to reach a place after each meal of feeling comfortably full (i.e. 6-7 based on a scale of 1-10).
- Pause in the middle of your meal to assess your hunger and see how you like the taste of your food (How does the food taste? What’s my hunger or fullness level? Is hunger going away?).
- Honor your hunger→ just as waiting too late to eat will make it hard to assess your fullness, if you eat before your truly hungry your fullness signal will be muffled (i.e guided by your tongue instead of your stomach).
- Try to eat without distractions (i.e TV or phone) so you can be fully present.
- Identify your ‘last bite threshold’ (the last bite of food in your mouth is the last). If you want to continue eating remind yourself you can eat again when your hunger returns.
- Push your plate forward or create an x with your fork and knife to signal that you’ve reached your ‘last bite threshold.’ Feed yourself foods that will create lasting satiety (with time you’ll be able to determine how much food is just right instead of having too less or too much)
6) Discover the satisfaction factor
- There is pleasure and satisfaction that comes from an eating experience. Make an effort to eat what you really want in an inviting or favorable environment. This will help you develop pleasure in your eating and also determine when you’ve had enough.
- Figure out what you really want to eat by thinking of the sensations associated with food (taste, texture, aroma, appearance, temperature, volume). Savor your food and eat as slowly as you can.
- Make your plate different for each meal to give yourself variety Make time to appreciate your food.
- Cook a yummy recipe to appreciate your meal more when you eat it. Try your best to eat something you enjoy for every meal but also keep in mind that not every meal is going to be perfect or in your control.
7) Cope with your emotions without using food
- Find other ways to deal with emotions of stress, anger, sadness boredom, loneliness, or anxiety rather than using food.
- Food won’t fix a situation or feeling. It may temporarily relieve it but may leave you feeling worse in the end.
- Choose to go for a run, meditate, talk with a friend, read a book, journal, listen to a positive podcast, practice yoga, or watch a movie.
- If you’re unsure ask yourself “am I hungry?” If the answer is yes, eat. But if not ask “what am I feeling?”
8) Respect your body
- Accept your body size and stop comparing yourself to other people. Appreciate your body and how it allows you to practice daily functions.
- Stop to think of the things you do really love or like about your body (ie. Nose, hair, feet, waist, etc).
- Ditch the scale, focus on how you feel.
- Avoid dieting and using meal replacements, fat burners, or any other dieting technique to size down for a special event.
- Stop the negative voice in your head that picks out your bodies imperfections. Start to replace that voice with a gentle loving one.
- Be realistic about your genetics.
- Be understanding and kind to yourself.
9) Exercise and feel the difference
- Have fun and get active.
- If you’re resistant to exercise try to think back to childhood or see if you can remember any events that may have caused this resistance. Exercise does not equate to weight loss.
- Make exercise a non-negotiable priority.
10) Honor your health
- It’s all about progress not perfection. One meal, one snack, or one day of eating will not cause you to gain weight.
- Fuel your body and feed your metabolism by eating whenever you feel hungry. Eat a balanced diet that includes protein, fat, carbohydrates, fruit, and vegetables.
- Drink at least 8-16 cups of water to stay hydrated, aid in digestion, cleanse your kidneys, and prevent constipation.
- Allow for ‘play foods’ (cookies, ice cream, chips, etc.) to balance your health with pleasure and satisfaction. Although, let most of your food choices be made to nourish you body.
- Don’t strive for perfection! Honor your tastebuds and health.
Intuitive Eating: a revolutionary program that works. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch 2012.