What is Intuitive Eating?

Have you heard of Intuitive Eating? “Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating framework, which integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought” that was created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995.

Intuitive Eating is sort of a buzz word at the moment, growing in popularity both in the media and in research.

By Definition, intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to health and wellness that helps you:

1. Tune into your body’s internal cues and focus on feelings of hunger, fullness, satisfaction!
It’s lunch time, am I actually hungry, or am I thinking about food because it’s 12:00 PM.

2. Break the cycle of chronic dieting
The never ending cycle of going on/off a strict plan.

3. Heal your relationship with food.
Food is not “good or bad” it just is. You are not “good or bad” based on how you chose to nourish yourself on a given day.

the 10 principles of intuitive eating.jpg

photo credit:foodinsight.org

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating was designed to be your guide toward self compassion and understanding as it pertains to your thought patterns around food! Let’s take a closer look and see how we can to incorporate these into our daily life!

1. Reject Diet Mentality:

Eating for fuel and pleasure is the beauty of life and something I’m trying to pass along to my kids! My goal is to live like the Italians and ENJOY the hell out of food and out of life!!. I grew up in the height of the “low fat” and “fat-free” diet craze. Devouring boxes of fat free Snack wells cookies and the like because they didn’t “count”!! Who remembers the diet trends of the 1990’s?!
Back in my dieting days, I never gave one thought to nourishment when it came to my meal! I only thought about calories in and calories out or fat grams in and fat grams out. I’m so thankful to have rejected that way of life!

2. Honor Your Hunger:

Feeling hungry is normal! Your body is a machine, and relies on nourishing food to perform optimally! If you try to override your internal hunger cues and limit your food intake, your body reacts with cravings and binges! Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, become nearly impossible! Learning to honor your hunger cues sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food. Before, during and after your meal start to think about your hunger and satisfaction level by using a version of this Hunger-Fullness Scale. Try to eat a meal before you get below a 3 and see if that helps you finish your meals more moderately. 

3. Make Peace with Food:

There are no “bad” foods or good foods. No one food has the power to make you healthy or unhealthy. When you embrace intuitive eating you intrinsically understand what foods make you feel amazing and which foods don’t. It’s based on bio-individuality and varies from person to person.

4. Challenge The Food Police:

Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step to Intuitive Eating. The food police is the negative self-talk in your head that label you as “good” for slurping a smoothie post spin class and “bad” because you ate a glazed Donut in the car after a stressful preschool drop off! If you want to indulge in your favorite chocolate chip cookie. Own it! Sit down, savor it and then move on. It’s just a cookie and it doesn’t have the power to make you a health warrior or a failure.

5. Respect Your Fullness:

Look inward for cues that you are satiated and satisfied during and after each meal. Sometimes meal plans outline what you should eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack so you simply go through the motion of eating on auto-pilot, never bothering to simply stop eating when you are full!
Instead of devouring your entire lunch because it is part of a plan someone prescribed for you try to rely on your internal hunger cues to decide when and how much you should eat.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor:

Eat what you love!! Eat foods that truly make you happy! When you eat something that’s just “so-so” you finish your meal feeling unsatisfied, and continue to look for more food to quench your satisfaction level! I seriously love Avocado Toast on sourdough with a fried egg on top & arugula! When I eat this meal I’m so incredibly happy and extremely satisfied. I find I don’t snack at all and the nourishment keeps me full for hours!  Start to think of meals you LOVE! Meals that make you feel like you can conquer the day and aim to include more of them in your life!!!
The location and the setting can play a big role in your overall meal satisfaction!! Do you eat your lunch or breakfast in the car while driving to and from meetings? Are you eating dinner while standing over the sink? You might think you are saving time, but is it worth the risk of denying yourself the emotional pleasure of a meal? Try to think of ways you can allocate time to give your meals the time and space they deserve. Bonus points if you can enjoy meals with others!

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food:

Are you having a bad day, Feeling run-down or having major anxiety and now suddenly craving sugar?? We’ve all been there, and it’s totally normal to self soothe using food. Nourishing foods calm our parasympathetic nervous system. Our body biologically triggers cravings in effort to self soothe.
The problem is, when this is our only coping mechanism. When we numb out using food. Never really getting to the root of the problem. Try to find other ways to nurture yourself using kindness and compassion and aim to resolve what’s actually bothering you.
Take a 5 minute walk in the sunshine. Call a friend for support. Read an inspirational quote, journal about solutions or simply breathe!

8. Respect Your Body:

Accept who you are and give thanks for being alive! Your body is working so hard for your vitality every second of the day! Feed it positive thoughts as much as you can. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are constantly telling your body it’s not good enough!

9. Exercise

Find a form of exercise you love and be sure to consistently make it a part of your week! Notice how much better you feel on the days you move!

10. Honor Your Health

It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

What are your thoughts? Is Intuitive Eating something you can see yourself adopting?
Are you interested in learning more about Intuitive Eating and how you can apply this to your life?

I’d love to help you find balance, make long term lifestyle shifts and change your relationship with food! Use the contact form for your complimentary consultation.

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Welcome to Happy Dinner! I’m Cortney, a Holistic Health Coach, wellness entrepreneur, wife and Mama of two, here to make holistic health simple and engaging!

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