OK, But What Is Intuitive Eating?

OK, But What Is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a relatively simple idea. Traditional diets typically include restrictions on certain foods. Intuitive eating requires us to stop viewing the food we eat as good or bad and instead involves listening to our bodies and eating what feels right for ourselves.

There is a common misconception that this means we can eat whatever we want to, whenever we want. However, that’s not the case. Instead, intuitive eating means we are tapping into our body’s natural ability to tell us when it is hungry or not.

Eating intuitively allows us to let go of the idea that we need to lose weight or gain weight to look a certain way. The main idea is to help us focus on the foods that work best for our overall physical and mental health.

How To Practice Intuitive Eating

Reject Special Diets: Strict rules about food might not help lose weight in the long run. Suppose the diet doesn’t work, or we’re unable to keep up with it. In that case, we might search for a newer, more improved diet and start from square one. Not to mention, restricting some foods can cause our body to lack the vital nutrients it needs to function at its best. In some cases, frequent dieting can actually lead to an eating disorder.

Eat Whenever You’re Hungry: It’s essential that we trust our body, giving ourselves permission to eat when signals hunger. Consuming a variety of foods ensures that we’re getting the vital nutrient we need. Don’t ignore the hunger pangs until they’re overwhelming; we’re more likely to overeat this way.

Choosing Foods That Make Us Feel Good: Eating intuitively is all about choosing foods that satisfy our nutritional needs and tastebuds. Everything in moderation that’s the key. A small candy bar isn’t going to add ten pounds overnight. There is a difference between indulging and overindulgence. Depriving ourselves of certain foods can trigger intense cravings, which in turn can lead to binge eating.

Be Mindful Of Fullness: It is essential that while we eat, we frequently pause to assess our hunger levels. Take time to savor the meal, and you've had enough when you’re satisfied and happy. It takes a little while for our brain to realize when our belly is full. Eating without pauses can lead to overeating and being overfull.

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating has been shown to produce physical and emotional health benefits.

  • An increased self-esteem
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved metabolism
  • Lowers rates of emotional and eating disorders
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Increased levels of contentment
  • Higher levels of satisfaction

A review of 24 studies examining the psychosocial effects intuitive eating had on adult females showed that intuitive eating was associated with positive results, including:

  • A more positive body image
  • Less disordered eating
  • Improved emotional functioning

The Journal of Eating Behaviors published a study comparing restrictive diets and intuitive eating among a group of men and women. It was found that intuitive eating consistently and uniquely lowered levels of disordered eating and body image concerns or issues.

Intuitive eating might seem like a far-out approach to weight loss or improving our health, but it’s an excellent tool to help us not only feel better but BE better. If you’ve tried diets that have failed in the past and are searching for something plausible, intuitive eating might be worth trying.

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