Intuitive Eating Is The Only Diet Tool You Need To Live A Healthy Life
Honest question: What do you do when counting calories, tracking points, eliminating entire food groups and exercising your ass off fail you in your weight-loss journey? Obviously, you kick, scream and pout a little bit. (At least we do.) But once that outburst is over, you pick yourself up off that sad kitchen floor and begin to regroup.
It’s at this point in the perpetual dieting cycle that we want to introduce you to a little thing called intuitive eating. It’s not a diet in and of itself, and it’s not a crazy strict set of rules, either. It’s a means of forging that mind-body connection so you can identify the foods that make your body feel good and the times at which your body wants to have them. By simply knowing which signals to listen for, you can stray from the foods that leave you feeling sluggish, bloated and craving endless sugar, and lean into those that power your body in the most efficient way.
So the next question that naturally follows is, “How do I connect with my intuition to then eat intuitively?” Glad you asked! There are several pieces to this puzzle that you can tackle one at a time, eventually ending up so in tune with yourself that you’ll forget how shitty traditional dieting felt in the first place.
Practice mindful eating. That’s right — mealtime is not something to be multi-tasked. Put work, technology and whatever else aside to be present with your food. Experience your meal with each of your senses, eating slowly enough to pick up on each flavor and texture and genuinely enjoy what’s on the plate in front of you. The more you connect with the food itself, the easier it’ll be to learn how it’s serving you and your body.
Eat when you’re hungry. Enough with that diet shame already. If your body says it’s time to eat, that doesn’t mean starve yourself or count out exactly 150 calories to fend off your appetite for a while. Go eat a real meal, one with nutrients and sustenance. And then pay attention to how your body reacts. We bet there won’t be subsequent junk food binges, clouds of guilt or waves of hangriness. Your body will be satisfied so you can move on with your day — end of story.
Put an end to all those food judgments. Playing food police in your mind only harms your relationship with food. Instead of labeling everything as “good” or “bad” and saying, “I should eat this” or, “I should never eat this,” approach food with a fresh perspective every time it presents itself. Ask yourself open-minded questions like “Will I enjoy this food as I eat it?” and “How will it make my body feel afterward?” and “Is this something I want right this minute or would I rather save it for later?” Contemplate instead of criticizing, and you will totally flip your perspective on your eating habits.
Make time for self-care. Seriously, how do you ever expect to connect with your intuition if you never take a minute for yourself to just sit down and be? Your world cannot revolve entirely around others if you plan on getting healthier and staying that way. So prioritize some self-care in whatever fashion strikes you, and use it as a means of learning to connect with yourself. Identify anxieties, stresses, feelings of excitement and how each of those things doesn’t have to have anything to do with food. (That’s what hunger is for.)
At the end of the day, your body already knows what it needs — you just have to listen. That’s the single most important facet of intuitive eating. Be quiet, hear your inner self speak and honor what it has to say. And if all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to delete the “D” word from your vocabulary forever.