The Quick-Start Guide To Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is more than just eating whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s a way of eating that allows you to understand your body and its hunger signals, rejecting diet culture, and improving your relationship with food. Here’s a quick guide on the benefits of intuitive eating to help you decide whether or not it’s for you.
What is intuitive eating?
Put simply, intuitive eating is where you make peace with all types of food. Traditional diets often restrict or demonise certain foods, whereas intuitive eating encourages you to stop seeing food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s about tuning in with your body and eating what feels right for you.
When you eat intuitively, you’re also rejecting the idea that you need to lose or gain weight to look a certain way. The idea is to understand that food is fuel, not something to be afraid of, benefiting both your physical and mental health.
Does intuitive eating help you lose weight?
While intuitive eating can cause weight loss, that isn’t the sole intention. It’s about moving away from diet culture and society’s expectations when it comes to weight and focusing on repairing your relationship with food instead.
For example, research shows that intuitive eaters have less food preoccupation, lower rates of disordered and emotional eating, reduced stress, a boost in self-esteem, and better body image.
How to start intuitive eating
According to Tribole and Resch, there are 10 basic principles of intuitive eating:
- Reject the diet mentality
If you’ve tried every diet there is, it’s time to admit that they’re not working for you. You’re not alone in this.
- Recognise your hunger
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. This will help prevent overeating.
- Make peace with food
Allowing yourself to have the foods you enjoy that were previously ‘banned’ by restrictive diets removes any guilt and helps you to enjoy healthy eating again.
- Challenge the food police
Challenge the thoughts that categorise certain food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as they lead to feelings of failure or guilt.
- Respect your fullness
Once you’re comfortably full, put your cutlery down, even if that means leaving some of the meal or deciding that you don’t actually want dessert.
- Discover the satisfaction factor
Savour the experience of eating and choose the things that taste good to you. Try to avoid eating whilst you’re distracted watching the TV, as it’s easier to overeat when you’re not concentrating.
- Honour your feelings without food
Emotional eating is something many of us struggle with, and while it might make us feel better for a little while, it doesn’t resolve the problem we’re experiencing. Try mindful exercises or reaching out to someone you can trust instead.
- Respect your body
You wouldn’t be mean about someone else’s body, so why should you be critical about your own? Recognise it as beautiful and strong as it is.
- Exercise and feel the difference
Find exercises you enjoy. Working out shouldn’t be a chore and definitely shouldn’t be about how many calories you can burn. It’s about making you feel good, energised, and alive.
- Honour your health
Remember it’s your overall relationship with food that has an impact on your health. So one day of overeating or having a snack won’t make a difference in the long-term.
If you’d like to give intuitive eating a go, you can build your own meal plan with us and include the foods you love without any restrictions. All of our balanced meals can be frozen for whenever you fancy something healthy and convenient.