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.
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.
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.
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.
Want to know more? There are the 10 main principles of intuitive eating outlined in the book by Tribole and Resch.
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.
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.
Forget what you “should” or “shouldn’t” be eating according to various nutritional sources. Eat what makes youfeel good.
Stop punishing yourself. Challenge any thoughts that say you’re not “good” or “bad” for what you do or don’t eat.
Your body will tell you when it’s full. Make sure that you’re watching out for the feelings of comfortable fullness.
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.
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.
Learn to love your body and stop criticising how it looks. Realise that your body is capable and beautiful.
Find different types of exercise that you enjoy.
Don’t focus on losing weight. Focus on feeling strong, energised and alive.
Remember that your overall food patterns shape your health. One “cheat” meal or snack isn’t going to be a deal-breaker.
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!