10 Ways to Eat Intuitively
“Diet” is a word many of us talk about and have even participated in, trying one diet after another to achieve certain health goals. The rigid rules and restriction often cause stress and feelings of deprivation, resulting in a failed attempt and regained weight, causing the cycle to start again. Looking at it with this lens, dieting seem like a fruitless endeavor that just brings down our self-esteem. Is there a flexible way to still enjoy food that promotes health without strict dieting? The Original Intuitive Eating Pros, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch say "Yes!" and give us 10 enlightening principles to help us embrace mindful eating.
Reject the Diet Mentality. You don’t HAVE to eat this or that, and you’re not a failure if you do eat something you “shouldn’t.”
Honor Your Hunger. Restrictive eating can trigger binge eating and ultimately lead to weight gain. Skipping breakfast and lunch could make you so hungry that you would eat anything in sight. Usually the things wanted in this stage are high carbohydrate foods because your brain is running on empty, and your body is trying to save you. Even skipping a needed snack before dinner can trigger a smaller scale binge.
Make Peace With Food. Allow yourself to eat all foods. Telling yourself, “I shouldn’t have this,” can just make you want it more and you may end up eating it regardless. It depends on you if you’re going to be stressed about it or not.
Challenge the Food Police. If you eat brownies, it’s okay. You’re not “good” or “bad” for doing it. All foods fit.
Discover the Satisfaction Factor. Eating should be a positive experience –not a stress factor. Put away the food scales and eat until you’re satisfied, enjoying your food. In doing this, you might find that you eat less than you normally would.
Feel Your Fullness. Sometimes we get overly hungry, fill our plates and shovel it in. This can leave us overly full and uncomfortable. Try pausing for a minute in the middle of your meal and check in to see if you’re still actually hungry. If you are, maybe you can enjoy your food longer by eating more slowly. If not, your food will probably save very well in the fridge.
Use Kindness to Cope With Your Emotions. Emotional eating can be hard for many people. Whether you’re sad, stressed or nervous, some of us go straight to the pantry. Although your favorite snack can be comforting, it’s not likely to solve the problem and may even compound the negative emotions. Finding safe, effective ways to deal with your emotions is important to help you get to a better head space to solve the problems.
Respect Your Body. Not everyone is built the same. Surprise! Your friend may have thick, course hair while you have thin, fine hair. Not everyone has the same body type either. Some people have genetics for a smaller frame, and others for a larger frame. If your genetics code is for a larger framed body, don’t risk your physical and mental health to try to fit into a smaller frame. Our differences make us unique.
Movement – Feel the Difference. Exercise goes hand in hand with dieting, but it can be strict, rigorous and even dangerous. Exercise, when you’re properly fueled, can be a wonderful experience that is fantastic for your health – mentally and physically. But it’s okay to miss the gym sometimes. In fact, instead of the gym, you might enjoy a quick walk with your friends, a game of basketball, or something new such as rock climbing. Find fun ways to get your heart rate up.
Honor Your Health. Food should be enjoyed, but it also nourishes. While you’re deciding what to have for lunch, remember that your body still needs vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, etc. Enjoy foods that actually taste good and be mindful of how they taste. If you absolutely love ramen, have some vegetables and protein with it and eat until you’re comfortably full.
Learn more about intuitive eating and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by Kyla Sullivan, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern.