How to Stay Body-Positive on Your Weight Loss Journey Part 2: Intuitive Eating

How to Stay Body-Positive on Your Weight Loss Journey Part 2: Intuitive Eating

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting nutritional advice in the world. That said, what if you didn’t have to stick to a strict diet? What if you could eat whatever, whenever and how much you wanted — and still get results? Well, now you can, thanks to intuitive eating. 


What is Intuitive Eating?

First things first, intuitive eating is basically a type of eating that promotes a healthy attitude towards food and body image. And there aren’t any guidelines involved. The idea is that you should eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, making you the expert of your body’s hunger signals.  


How Does Intuitive Eating Work?

Even though the concepts of intuitive eating have been around since the early 1970s, the term wasn’t invented until it was used as the title of a book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. How does intuitive eating work, you ask? Well, it’s all about learning to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger.
  • Physical hunger is your body telling you to replenish nutrients — and its signals include a growling stomach, irritability and/or fatigue
  • Emotional hunger is driven by an emotional craving, such as sadness, boredom and/or loneliness, which can then cause feelings of guilt after you’ve eaten

Essentially, once you can recognise the signs of both kinds of hunger, you can successfully establish more self-control over what you eat and when.  


Top 10 Intuitive Eating Principles

Want to know more? There are the 10 main principles of intuitive eating outlined in the book by Tribole and Resch.  


1.   Reject the Diet Mentality

Don’t rely on the notion that there’s a diet out there that is going to work for you. Instead, embrace intuitive eating as the anti-diet.  


2. Honour Your Hunger

Let your own internal cues of hunger tell you when to eat. And don’t let yourself get overly hungry because this is how you’ll overeat.  


3. Make Your Peace With Food

Forget what you “should” or “shouldn’t” be eating according to various nutritional sources. Eat what makes youfeel good.  


4. Challenge the Food Police

Stop punishing yourself. Challenge any thoughts that say you’re not “good” or “bad” for what you do or don’t eat.  


5. Respect Fullness

Your body will tell you when it’s full. Make sure that you’re watching out for the feelings of comfortable fullness.  


6. Find Satisfaction in Food

Check-in with yourself when eating. How does the food taste? Are you enjoying yourself? Make eating a pleasurable experience, and you might find it takes less food to fill you up.  


7. Honour Your Feelings Without Food

Avoid using emotional eating as a way to cope with feelings. Find new ways to process how you feel, such as meditating, exercising or journaling.  


8. Respect Your Body

Learn to love your body and stop criticising how it looks. Realise that your body is capable and beautiful.  


9. Move and Feel the Difference

Find different types of exercise that you enjoy. Don’t focus on losing weight. Focus on feeling strong, energised and alive.  


10. Honour Your Health With Gentle Nutrition

Remember that your overall food patterns shape your health. One “cheat” meal or snack isn’t going to be a deal-breaker.  


Embracing Intuitive Eating

Sure, intuitive eating might seem like a strange principle at first. However, it’s all about bringing a level of awareness to how you eat and not just what you eat. And if you use your hunger signals as a way to help you with your weight loss journey, you might just find that this has a positive effect on your body image and your mindset.     Look out for the next post in the “How to Stay Body-Positive on Your Weight Loss Journey” series, “Ditching the Scales,” coming soon!
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