The Rise of the Non-Diet: What to Know About Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. The new method, which abstains from diets or any form of food rules—it advocates that dieters tune into their body’s cues to determine what it needs instead of using a formalized plan—aims to honor the natural relationship between food and wellness.
In some ways, intuitive eating is as old as time since humans have been eating whole foods for centuries! There was no fad diet back in early civilization. Even with all the “new” incarnations of dietary plans, some experts argue that intuitive eating has always existed because our bodies naturally crave healthier options when we listen to them.
Tuning in to your own needs might sound like an easy enough task at first, but with decades of social conditioning dictating what, when and how much we eat along with the influence of certain family backgrounds or cultures, it’s no wonder that most Americans have big trouble naturally feeling full, avoiding emotional eating or listening to hunger cues.
When you follow a traditional diet plan, the focus is often on food quantity rather than quality. You might be able to lose weight through calorie counting or eliminating carbs for a short period, but ironically you’ll likely gain back any lost weight plus more once you go off your diet if you didn’t make lasting changes in your life that enabled long-term success for real weight loss.
With intuitive eating, instead of focusing on elimination diets or “forbidden” foods, the focus is on healthily eating whole foods because if you truly pay attention to your body’s needs without judgment or restriction, it will tell you exactly what you need to eat and when.
Weight management isn’t necessarily the goal of intuitive eating; instead, it focuses more on using food as nourishment for the mind and body. Intuitive eaters can even be overweight and still practice this form of healthful self-care: They know that not every day is going to be perfect (and they don’t want it to be), but through tuning into their bodies’ cues they make choices that help them feel good throughout each cycle of their lives, rather than focusing on an external number or measurement like the scale.
In this context, intuitive eating can be a very effective approach to maintaining a healthy weight. When you feel good, you’re more likely to take care of yourself and put your energy into other areas in your life like relationships, career goals, or family time instead of food cravings (and the inevitable overindulging).
However, many people don’t know where to start on their journey toward intuitive eating; that’s where the Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor (CIEC) comes in! A CIEC is specially trained in an eight-step model developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, coauthors of the book “Intuitive Eating.” This program aims to help dieters reverse their relationship with food so they can resolve the underlying causes of overeating or undereating.
The program is broken up into eight stages that guide you, step by step, in learning to tune in to your body’s needs and honor them without judgment (you can find more information here).
It’s also important to note that intuitive eating isn’t about healthy vs. unhealthy foods; it’s about honoring how food makes you feel inside and out, which means enjoying the occasional donut but understanding that it might not make you feel good all afternoon.
After all, your body knows best what it truly needs—and if cookie dough ice cream makes you explode with pimples the next day, there’s no reason why you need sugar when perfectly ripe strawberries are in season!
Intuitive vs mindful eating:
Eating is not just a process of providing our body with nutrients, but it is more than that. How we eat can affect our moods and impact us on psychological levels too. To put it in simple words, the way we eat can either make or break our day.
If our food intake makes us feel good about ourselves and gives us some peace of mind then it’s good for the body. On the contrary, if one feels guilty while eating, eats in haste, or always feels hungry then this affects overall well-being too often leading to disorders like anxiety, stress, depression, etc.
If you are someone who has gone through any disorder related to self-nourishment then here are two ways that will help you get out of your misery.
The first one is to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is not just about allowing ourselves the pleasure of enjoying our food but also about nourishing ourselves in a healthy way which eventually leads us to feel good. It’s important to eat with full attention, enjoy each bite and make sure you are not eating more than what your body needs.
There are many types of mindfulness techniques that can be followed like taking smaller bites, chewing chew thoroughly, holding utensils properly while cutting vegetables, etc.
Mindful eating helps you become aware of how your body reacts to certain foods and whether you need them or not. The act of mindfully chewing one’s food bloats up the stomach less than other snacking habits due to the digestion process which takes lesser time as compared to eating without focusing on food leading to better health.
In short, mindful eating is a lifestyle change that helps you give up the habit of snacking mindlessly and even makes one stop oneself from going for that fourth serving due to the satisfaction level achieved after three servings.
Intuitive eating nutrition:
The other way to nourish oneself is intuitive eating. It’s the act of listening to your body. To put it in simpler words, it means eating whatever feels right for you without thinking about calories or fat intake. If you feel like having that extra serving then go ahead but make sure you are aware of how much energy this food will give you and whether your body needs more after a certain time interval to maintain optimum health levels.
Intuitive eating not only helps one eat healthily but also makes an individual listen to his/her bodily requirements which helps them control their weight or even lose weight if required. This type of eating helps people get rid of their emotional bond with food and gradually allows them to become aware of what their bodies need and what they don’t.
Eating healthy does not mean following a strict diet chart or exercising vigorously, it’s all about listening to your body and giving yourself the best nourishment without feeling guilty about it afterward.
Being aware of both these ways helps you eat healthily irrespective of where you go and what you do. These two may seem very different from each other but they both have their advantages that help people become happy individuals through better nourishment. Instead of starving over calories intake, over-exercising, and so on out there in the market to maintain weight, try these simple ways for healthy living and feel good at every mealtime!