What is intuitive eating? A self-generated eating approach without guilt [Video]

  • Intuitive eating practices the non-diet approach, in which you eat without guilt.
  • There are 10 principles of intuitive eating that you must know and keep to heart.
  • The benefits of intuitive eating include enhancing self-esteem, lower body mass index, higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels, lower rates of disordered eating, and lower triglyceride levels.

You may be wondering what to eat today and probably thinking of how many calories those foods have. On that account, you then prefer to eat healthier foods because they have a small number of calories. Or probably you do not want to eat foods that particularly belong to a major food group.

This is the traditional diet approach that most people do. But not with intuitive eating.

So, what is intuitive eating, anyway?

“Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to health and wellness that helps you tune into your body’s signals, break the cycle of chronic eating, and heal your relationship with food,” said Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D. the owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness and a certified intuitive eating counselor.

In this type of eating approach, there is no counting of calories and nutrients or restricting any food group. It is a kind of self-generated eating in which you use feelings of hunger, and satisfaction on which food you are to eat.

The following are the 10 principles that complete this eating approach. Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, both registered dieticians, wrote these 10 intuitive eating principles:

1. Follow your hunger instinct

If you are hungry, then eat. Heed your hunger, which comes naturally. Consume foods that can satisfy you and nourish your body.

2. Forget about dieting

Stop dieting and do not read about how to gain weight loss in magazines or books. Tribole said that dieting is not sustainable. There is also research that indicates dieting may heighten the risk of future weight gain. 

3. Stop labeling the foods

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Do not label foods as good or bad.

Intuitive eating allows you to eat unconditionally. One slice of cake in a week will not ruin your body.

4. Don’t mind the food police

The food police contain thoughts about rules of what food to eat or not. This tells you to eat or not to eat this food because it is full of nutrients or lack of them. Don’t mind this food police instead challenge it. Enjoy the food you want to eat and don’t feel guilty about eating it.

5. Know the real satisfaction from food

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When you are hungry then eat and when you are full then stop eating.  In this manner, you will discover the real satisfaction from food.

6. Honor your fullness

Take time to know if you are already full or still in need of eating foods. Learn when to stop eating or still need to eat.

7. Manage your emotions

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Some people eat a lot when they are bored, angry, stress, sad, or lonely. Do not use foods to deal with your emotions. This may lead to certain medical conditions or weight gain instead manage your emotions in other ways.

8. Honor your body

Feeling good about your body is also intuitive eating. Do not think of how much weight you will gain or lose when you eat these foods.

9. Have a high level of physical activity

Exercise regularly, which can make you feel good and strong. In this way, your calories will also burn. You will also have good sleep and it will energize your body.

10. Still keep healthy with good nutrition

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Intuitive eating has this “eat what you want” mentality. But this does not mean you will not eat healthy foods. Still, eat foods that can make you healthy and feel good.

What can intuitive eating do for you?

Some studies indicate that intuitive eating is good for psychological health. It can also manage your weight and have a lower body mass index (BMI). Some of the participants of these studies had improved self-esteem, experienced less anxiety and depression, and had a good body image. It also increases the level of good cholesterol and lowers the rate of eating disorders.

Source: Prevention

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