How to apply intuitive eating with a non-diet approach and honor your hunger?? For starters, you need to
LET GO OF THE RULES!
Believe it or not, switching from diet to diet year after year can cause weight gain, instead of losing it. Many people find that they gain even more weight than when they started because of the changes in metabolism and digestion caused by restricting. Food should be a source of joy and nourishment and not associated with stress, restriction, and dieting.
Start honoring your hunger, trusting your body, and eating to fuel and nourish your body.
Instead of focusing on restriction, focus on the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy whole foods 80 percent of the time, allow for treats and eat more freely the other 20 percent.
STOP STRESSING ABOUT CALORIES AND FATS
Think about how much time you spend thinking about food, researching diets, trying to plan your life around healthy meals, and the stress that comes from fear of hunger, restriction and an obsession with how you look.
STEP #1 – MAKE PEACE WITH FOOD
- For gentle nutrition, start to make peace with food. Keep your thoughts neutral rather than categorizing things as good or bad.
- An indulgent food is not bad nor something to feel guilty about, or a craving that needs to be avoided. No food or ingredient is bad for you.
- If you are generally a healthy eater, it’s okay to enjoy something without shame or regret.
Nothing to fear:
Challenge your perceptions and empower yourself with information:
- Fat is not bad.
- Fat is fuel for healthy brains (too little may impact memory, brain development, and brain function).
- Fat is metabolically active (too much can upset hormone balance).
- Carbohydrates are the main energy source for your body.
- Complex carbs help maintain balanced blood sugar.
- Simple carbs provide quick energy and a big blood sugar dip after the energy is used.
The more you know
Protein provides the building blocks for all cells, tissues and muscles.
- Excess protein gets stored as fat.
- Too little protein can impact energy and mood.
Fiber is filling, adds bulk to stool and supports microflora.
- Too much fiber can cause bloating or difficulty pooping.
- Too little fiber can cause constipation.
- Fiber helps mop up excess/spent hormones, toxins, and bulks stool so it can be excreted.
STEP #2 – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
- When you begin eating more intuitively, you may need to be more mindful of hunger and satiety cues.
- What does it feel like to be hungry?
- How does that feeling differ from thirst?
- How does it feel to be 80% full?
- At what point do you feel comfortably full or satisfied?
ENJOY THE PROCESS
- The act of eating, in and of itself, can be nourishing or stressful.
- Eat more slowly.
- Eat with others (people who you enjoy!)
- CHEW! Chewing slows the process and supports digestion (your stomach doesn’t have teeth!)
- Enjoy the look of your meal.
- Take in the smells of your food.
- Savor not only the taste but the texture of your food.
STEP #3 – NOURISH WITHOUT FOOD
Many people eat for comfort or because they are bored.
- What am I really hungry for?
- The answer may be comfort, connection, control, self-care…
- You may need to fill the emptiness or a desire for more sweetness or adventure or “spice” in your life.
STEP #4 – RESPECT YOUR BODY
- Dieting and weight loss are usually tied together.
- Intuitive Eating may or may not result in weight loss, but it should result in balance.
- Weight loss is for you and about you… no one else. If your family, friends, and significant others are getting on you about your weight they are likely well-meaning but your why has to be your own.
- Challenge your ideas about “ideal weight” and look at things through a lens of health… what is a healthy weight for my body type, my height, my age, my activity level?
SOLUTION #5- MOVE
- Movement prevents stagnation.
- Keeps your life more fluid and enjoy the freedom that comes with less rigid thinking and fewer rules.
- Move your body in ways you enjoy; do it for fun and your well-being.
- Move your mind and challenge your perceptions; learn, explore and experience other ways to nourish yourself.
RULES? WHAT, WHEN AND HOW
Intuitive eating with a non diet approach has very loose rules.
- Focus on whole foods
- See how it feels to go without a meal plan
- Try cooking without recipes
Allow yourself the freedom to choose what to eat, when to eat, and how much.
- When you are hungry, eat.
- When you are thirsty, drink.
- When you are stuck, move.
Look for opportunities to nourish your needs and desires without food.
Part of the process of Intuitive Eating and natural weight balancing is tapping into yourself. Use a journal to jot down your feelings.
- ✓When I eat…. I feel…
- ✓I have more energy when I eat….
- ✓My favorite people to eat with are…
Self-Care for Nourishment
- Work on ways to rebuild your relationship with yourself. There are so many great ways to do just that. I personally love Pilates to help me reconnect to my body.
- Focus on gratitude. Start to practice daily gratitude. It sounds corny but keeping a gratitude journal (it can even be a list in your phone) of three things you are grateful for about your body can make all the difference.
- Work through any anxiety or stress you have in your relationship with food. Meditation and mindfulness practices can be beneficial. Try a pre-meal meditation and see how it makes you feel.
- Schedule more “me” time. It helps you reconnect with yourself and indirectly helps heal your relationship with food. Just 10 to 30 minutes to do something for yourself is enough—try a walk-through nature, reading a book, or cooking your favorite meal.
- Commit to giving up dieting. Diets do not work.
Not sure where to start, send me a message here for a free health coaching consultation.
You can also learn more about the principles of Intuitive Eating with this informative book by the originators Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.