If you still don't know what intuitive eating is, it's time for a change! In fact, it's an approach to eating that has nothing to do with restrictive diets, discipline or wanting it. Food is a philosophy that puts you in the place of the nutrition expert for your own body.
Basically, it's the complete opposite of traditional diets.
This philosophy teaches you how to better listen to your signals of hunger, satisfaction and fullness. Its premise dictates that you and only you are the best person to judge your nutritional needs. That's why I love this theory!
Since I am working to adopt this philosophy myself and these postulates really connect with my values. I wanted to write you a gentle introduction to this theory. A question of better understanding what it implies. Let's go!
Intuitive eating in a nutshell
Intuitive eating is a type of eating that promotes a positive attitude towards food. The basic idea is that an individual should simply stop eating when full.
This practice was created by two dieticians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch based on their experience with their clients.
As we grow, we develop a lot of limiting beliefs related to our diet. Indeed, we quickly learn that there is food called "bad" for our health and other "good" for our health. This can lead to feelings of guilt when consuming "bad" food. All this ends up leading us into a yo-yo of restriction and force-feeding. Because of all these regulations and restrictions placed around food, we end up losing sight of our intuition in relation to our diet.
Listen to each other
Intuitive eating is not a diet in itself. You have to get that out of your head. There is no calorie counting, no restrictions, no eating plan. It is strongly discouraged. Rather, this philosophy entails relearning how we eat and how we see food. The emphasis is on listening to our internal satiety signals only.
Basically, it's the theory of listening to your body and your intuition. Your body knows what it needs. Maybe it's a salad, maybe it's a piece of chocolate cake. By listening to each other, we remove the barriers that we can put up against so-called unhealthy food. These foods are no longer banned. They are slightly less nutritious foods, that's all. By removing the forbidden element from these foods, they become a lot less attractive! So, less risk of having a rage and eating 3 cakes in a day because you haven't eaten it for 1 month and you go crazy. If you want to eat it, you eat a reasonable amount of it until you're full and that's it.
It is the same for so-called healthy food. It has the connotation of being boring, restrictive and unappetizing. This philosophy encourages you to find ways to make these foods taste great for you. Even if it means adding butter to the cooking of your vegetables.
In short, no taboos. All food is on an equal footing. We taste it, we eat it. We are hungrier, we eat more. Just change our emotional relationship with food (easier said than done, I know).
Now that we understand better what it is. Does this theory have proven benefits? What are the advantages of adhering to this philosophy? Well, speaking for myself, the number one benefit of this theory is improved mental health. There is nothing heavier than constantly slapping your fingers for what you eat! It's extremely liberating to put all food on the same footing and just go for the "feeling".
Otherwise, there is plenty of scientific research detailing the benefits of this philosophy. In effect, several studies linked the adoption of intuitive eating with better mental health, an increase in self-esteem as well as a lower BMI and regular weight maintenance (note that there is no link between this theory and weight loss as such).
Besides, we have observed that women who consciously or unconsciously adhere to this philosophy are less likely to be affected by eating disorders.
I don't know about you, but for me, these are all good reasons to start learning more seriously about this lifestyle!
How to start?
Well, this all sounds great, but reprogramming our perception of food is hard work. Especially if we've been living with these limiting beliefs for a while. It is an everyday job. Another difficulty is the self-image and the link between the way we eat and the impact on our body. Not easy ! I haven't completely gotten rid of my preconstructed food mentalities yet, but it's much better than before! Honestly, it feels good.
If you're not sure where to start in this whole process, here are some guidelines.
First, start by becoming more aware of what you eat and why. Without judgment, try to understand if you are eating because you are hungry or because you are emotional. For your meal choices, try to follow your satiety signals, do you crave fruit? Maybe you are not hungry at all (if so, don't force yourself to eat). Or maybe it's the other way around, are you really hungry? The important thing is to stay aware of our hunger cues throughout our meal.
A good trick to be able to properly judge our level of hunger is to rate our level of satiety from 1 to 10. 1 being "very hungry" and 10 being "completely full". It will therefore be much easier to understand your behaviors and adjust them.
Another good way to get started with intuitive eating is to follow the 10 principles of this lifestyle.
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honor your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Defy the food police
- Discover the " satisfaction " factor
- Feel the feeling of fullness
- Manage your emotions with kindness
- Respect your body
- Move and feel
- Honor your health, embrace the concept of gentle nutrition »
Moreover, I talk to you in more detail about these principles and their applications in this month’s newsletter. To register, it's here.
Change your perception of food
Intuitive eating is such a beautiful concept. It is a concept of accepting ourselves and our needs, without restrictions. It's so liberating! Try to start small, change our toxic mentalities towards food, it takes a long time. But one step forward is one more step towards a better quality of life!