Intuitive eating is a philosophy of eating that teaches us how to get in touch with our body signals like hunger, fullness and satisfaction while learning to trust our body around food.
It's a self-care and non-restrictive eating method that involves emotions, instinct, and rational thoughts to determine internal hunger and satiety signals.
The term was first introduced in 1995 by two dietitians: Evelyn Tribole and Elisa Resch. They believed in this non-diet approach to health and wellness that, in our personal opinion, is so much needed in today's world. Intuitive eating is, what we like to call it, "a guilt-free world".
To eat intuitively means that there is no specific diet, no restrictive plan or type of food you need to avoid for the sake of dieting #hellocomplexcarbs. With this, we're not saying that we should go around eating pounds of chocolate, french fries and pizza for dinner. With this approach we learn to listen to what our body is really telling us. It helps us distinguish between physical and emotional hunger and heal our relationship with food.
The process of intuitive eating is a practice that has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. There are 10 principles:
1. Reject the diet mentality: It's not about the lack of willpower, it's about the diet behavior that is not sustainable for the long term.
2. Honor your hunger: Stop for a moment and listen to your body. Ask yourself is it real hunger? Sometimes our feelings come in the way and we comfort ourselves with food that make us feel better. Which is absolutely fine but it's not real hunger.
3. Make peace with food: There is no food on the planet that has the power to make you healthy or unhealhty by itself. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Following the 80-20 framework is a good way to balance out those cravings and not being restrictive. Eating clean 80% of the time and allowing yourself to have the food you like for the remaining 20%.
4. Challenge the food police: There are some rules imposed by the dieting system that sustains that you're "good" when you eat a salad and "bad" when you eat a treat. Remember, food does not define you. Allow yourself to enjoy the food you like and challenge those thoughts that may be governing your food decision and that end up creating a bad relationship.
5. Respect your fullness: Eat, pause, repeat. Listen to the signals your body is giving you by making a small pause during your meal time. This will help bring more consciousness and awareness to your body.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor: It may happen sometimes that we fill full but not satisfied and that usually happens when we force ourselves to eat a certain type of food. Allowing ourselves to have the food we like and focusing on the flavor, texture, and feelings that food is giving us, we'll probably going to enjoy it much more!
7. Honor your feelings without using food: we've all found ourselves, at certain point in our lives where we feel anxious, emotional, stressed and we turn to food. That's primarily because food has this comfort component that make us feel better immediately, and it's okay. But sometimes, overeating may happen and then the guilt feeling comes our way and then we start judging or punishing ourselves. Going through some if these emotions is not easy, take a step back and be mindful of your feelings. What is causing you to feel that way?
8. Respect your body: Your body is so wonderful, it is capable of doing amazing things. Let's accept and respect our body's signals, form, look, everything! Let's stop judging and talk to ourselves the way we would talk to our best friend. You wouldn't say anything mean to them, why would yo say it to yourself? This principe is one of my favorites because it doesn't take us one step closer to intuitive eating but teaches us about self-love <3
9. Exercise - Feel the difference: Part of a balanced life is to keep our bodies active. Sometimes, we only focus on the exercise we think we "should" do, or in the amount of calories we'd burn by doing it. the problem is that we might find ourselves not enjoying it and then it becomes stressful. Find that activity that you really enjoy, that makes you smile and feel good. It's more likely that it becomes a habit.
10. Honor your health with gentle nutrition: Being healthy doesn't mean eating perfectly all the time. In fact, it involves more than just food but it is the starting point for a more healthy lifestyle. Gentle nutrition is having a balanced lifestyle with nutrient-dense food and also with treats you like, what we like to call "food for the heart".
It's all about balance and consistency. These principles give us so much guidance not only for intuitive eating but also for self-love and being gentle with our wonderful bodies. These principles don't only take us one step closer to intuitive eating but also to what we're all about: being our best self.