intuitive eating, bowl of food

What intuitive eating really means

The nutrition industry is one hell of a minefield. There are so many different schools of thought, all screaming over each other “No THIS is the best way to eat”, “Don’t eat that, eat this” and “If you eat like this, you’ll be happy/lose weight/be healthy forever.”

OK, I’m exaggerating a little, but you see where I’m going with this.

Along with the noise, there’s also confusion. New terms get thrown around in the media with several different interpretations. An example of this is ‘intuitive eating’, heard of it?

It’s a way of eating that sadly has got caught up in the noise and confusion. Some think it’s a new diet that means they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.

This is not true.

Today, I want to delve into the world of intuitive eating, explaining what it really is and why, for most of us, it’s better than any ‘diet’ we’ve ever been on.

What is intuitive eating?

It’s an approach to eating that encourages you to reject ‘diet culture’ and create a neutral and logical approach to eating. Sounds simple, but for many of us, eating is a complicated subject.

Even if you’ve never had eating problems or suffered from an eating disorder, you may well feel guilty after eating certain things, count calories, try to lose weight or think you have to avoid certain food groups.

Created by US dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, this approach aims to eradicate our emotional and socialised view of food.

They, like many experts, know that dieting doesn’t work and want us to disassociate ourselves from the diet-based rules we seem hell-bent on following.

What’s involved

There are 10 principles behind intuitive eating, I’m not going to list them all here (click the link to read them all) but here are a few that stood out to me:

  • Reject the diet mentality
  • Honour your hunger
  • Make peace with food
  • Honour your feelings without using food
  • Respect your body

It’s all about listening to your body and respecting it. Are you hungry or are you eating out of boredom? Are you hungry or are you rewarding yourself for something? Are you hungry, but not eating because you think it’ll make you gain weight?

And here’s the thing – weight, is not the focus here. Yep, you read that right. Intuitive eating is not a way to lose weight. For some people, tuning into their body and eating intuitively will naturally lead to change in body shape, but this is not the goal.

So, what is the goal?

To have a normal relationship with food. To eat what makes your body feels good. To exercise to make your body feel good. To make peace with food and your body.

Is it for everyone?

In theory, yes. But if you have a medical condition, are pregnant etc. then of course, seek advice from your doctor. Like anything, intuitive eating needs to be personal to you. If you want to find out more, here’s a great article on intuitive eating myths.

Let me know if you follow the intuitive eating approach and how you find it!

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What intuitive eating really means

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