A lot of people have asked me what Intuitive Eating is and how it can help in weight loss/weight management goals. Below is my interpretation of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating as outlined on the website created by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Fiaedp, FADA, authors of Intuitive Eating.
1. Reject the Diet Mentality This is a hard one for almost everyone because of all the marketing aimed at losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the magic diet or diet pill that does this. Instead we need to let go of these false promises and go back to your Intuitive Eating roots, which are outlined below.
2. Honor Your Hunger That means tuning in to our body and listening to it’s signals of hunger (Pipps Tips Hunger Scale can come in handy here), vs relying on our emotions or our mind to convince us that we’re starving for food, when in reality we’re only starving for affection, sleep, etc. Once we’re able to make the distinction we can start tuning in and start trusting ourselves around food again, which in reality is not the enemy, but our form of nourishment.
3. Make Peace with Food Stop making distinctions between food you should and shouldn’t eat. That only leads to wanting those foods you shouldn’t have even more, which inevitably will cause you break down and indulge in the forbidden food. Again, food is not the enemy. Instead consider eating all your meals, including your favorite foods, using the 50-80 rule.
4. Challenge the Food Police The Food Police is that little voice in your head that you created once you got on your first diet. It says “Good Job!” when you stick to whatever diet you’re currently on and calls you a “LOSER” when you eat fatty, forbidden foods. All that negativity does nothing toward helping you move from old habits toward Intuitive Eating habits and comes from the EGO vs from the truth about you and food.
5. Respect Your Fullness This simply means tuning in to your body and listening to it’s signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry, but comfortably full, and not stuffed. You can start brining back this awareness by pausing in the middle of a meal and checking in to see if you’re still truly hungry or if you’re at or getting to the comfortably full side.
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor This is about eating what you really want. By eating something that you are truly craving and that tastes out of this world to you, you may find that it takes less food for you to feel satisfied. Imagine if you had just given in all those times you were craving the chocolate cake, instead of deciding that you couldn’t because you were on a diet, so you turned to rice cakes, then protein, then fruit to take away the craving. Unfortunately for you though, you still couldn’t shake the craving so you broke down and had the chocolate cake anyway after eating all that food. Look at everything you could have saved yourself from if you had just decided to satisfy the craving, while tuning in with your hunger and fullness levels.
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Our feelings and emotions will never be fixed by food, but as an emotional eater myself, I know they help trick the brain into thinking it can because the food we go to is so good and comforting. Unfortunately that is only a short term bandaid, which may lead to more hurt in the future because we don’t feel good about adding on some weight on top of still having to deal with the initial issues which made us overeat.
8. Respect Your Body This journey is not about trying to reach the ideal weight Hollywood, magazines, friends, family and even medical charts say we should be. It’s about getting to what is ideal for each of us. If you’ve never been a size 2, 6, 8 as an adult, it is unreasonable to believe that this is the ideal weight for you – so let that go. Instead, think back at that point in time where you felt the most comfortable and confident in your body and make that your goal.
9. Exercise-Feel the Difference If exercise is not your thing, then don’t go out tomorrow and spend money on a trainer or a fancy gym. Just move around and feel how your body responds to the movement, the breath, the energy it takes to move. I personally exercise to de-stress from work and because I feel great after I do it, but I don’t always need a gym. A walk at the park and/or chair exercises have definitely carried me through several points in my life.
10 Honor Your Health Consistency is where it’s at. As long as you get regular check ups, consistently eat when you reach your hunger points and only eat to a comfortable fullness level, there is no reason that intuitive eating can’t work in keeping you on a healthy track. I know that’s my goal 😀
Which of the Intuitive Eating Principles struck a chord with you? How will you begin to make the shift from a diet centered mind to an intuitive eating mind?
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