What does it mean to intuitively eat?
Nutrition and eating are very nuanced. What we choose to eat often depends on our hunger, mood, energy levels, emotions, what we have available, and what sounds satisfying-just to scrape the surface. On top of these complicated variables, we live in diet culture which interferes with our instinct and mental about food. Someone’s always encouraging us to eat a certain way, or making sure we exclude “X” food in our diet. We later see conflicting information down the rabbit hole of the internet. So, what the heck should we be eating? And how often? What amount? The short version is whatever you want.
I feel your eyebrows coming up to your hair line. But I have an important word for you:
Have you heard of Intuitive Eating? It’s this idea that we can turn to our bodies to let us know what to eat. This must sound scary. I want to change scary into liberating for you.
You may be thinking to yourself “If I listen to my body it will tell me to eat 3 pizzas, 10 Oreos and a box of cereal for dinner!” and I understand why. We put food on a pedestal and tell ourselves not to have it. And when we do have it, we feel guilt and shame and regret. But intuitive eating helps remove the judgement out of food.
Intuitive eating is composed of 10 principles that delve deep into stopping dieting, learning hunger and fullness cues, satisfaction, exercise, body respect, gentle nutrition etc. You can find a snippet of each one on the intuitive eating website here. This way of eating and living takes us back to how we were born knowing how to eat, before the noise of diet culture and body shame was internalized.
Intuitive eating allows you to enjoy a donut and to stop when you are full or satisfied. It encourages you to try a new way of making green beans by adding butter and garlic powder to enhance the flavor and make them satisfying. You learn what it means to move your body joyfully, rather than compulsively. And most importantly, it empowers you to live your most fulfilling and happy life.
It’s also can be hard to embrace, especially if you've struggled with chronic dieting or disordered eating. It takes being patient, giving yourself a ton of self-compassion and space to be uncomfortable. Sometimes this can be a vulnerable journey, and you may want support.
So, where to start? I highly recommend the book Intuitive Eating,3rd Edition. Its written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch- it's the best $9 you will ever spend on amazon. I think I’ve purchased ~7 copies from gifting them to friends and reading myself. There are a ton of IE support groups on Facebook, hash tags to follow on social media etc. What questions do you have? Does this sound appealing to you? My door(or inbox) is always open for your questions, thoughts, comments!