Lets Break This Down
Intuitive eating is NOT a diet. Simply put, this lifestyle choice encourages psychological flexibility with food. Intuitive eating is an approach to food where the individual eats for physical needs rather than an emotional one (Boucher et al., 2016). There are three major parts of intuitive eating. The first one focuses on eating based on your internal hunger and satiety cues. Second, give yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods you desire. Lastly, choose healthy foods that will help your body function (Sairanen et al., 2015).
Intuitive eating eliminates the stressful relationship with food not to mention improves the relationship between an individual to his or her own body. Diets evoke a negative mentality towards body image, so much so, we many not understand the depth of this self-imposed damage. Intuitive eating has been proven to attract unconditional self-respect and improve body satisfaction (Sairanen et al., 2015). There is evidence of intuitive eating minimizing the risk of mental health issues such as, depression and eating disorders. An individual will benefit emotionally by eliminating self imposed body shaming (Boucher et al., 2016). It is vital to learn of our emotional triggers with food because it can influence food related behavior (Boucher et al., 2016). By recognizing and healing emotional wounds stemmed from negative experiences with food, we are able to increase psychological flexibility. Furthermore, psychological flexibility is associated with a lower BMI. Why? By eating for physical reasons rather than emotional ones such as sadness or boredom, we realize how much food our body is actually asking of us. To give yourself unlimited freedom in your diet, it is easier said than done when you are used to diet restrictions. By granting ourselves freedom, we begin to recognize the self imposed limitations (Horwath, Hagmann, & Hartmann, 2019).
It’s not to say that we should all start eating fifteen pounds of chocolate cake every morning because we have a sweet tooth, but it’s allowing ourselves to NOT be afraid if we want to eat chocolate cake in the morning. When we start repairing our relationship with our mind, body, and soul we start to learn what foods bring us happiness, peace, health and wellness.
Intuitive Eating Tips
Following your intuition can be difficult at first when it comes to eating, but with consistency and patience intuitive eating will become as natural as breathing.
Boucher, S., Edwards, O., Gray, A., Nada-Raja, S., Lillis, J., Tylka, T., & Horwath, C. (2016). Teaching Intuitive Eating and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Skills Via a Web-Based Intervention: A Pilot Single-Arm Intervention Study. JMIR Research Protocols, 5(4), E180. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5086025/#__ffn_sectitle
Horwath, C., Hagmann, D., & Hartmann, C. (2019). Intuitive eating and food intake in men and women: Results from the Swiss food panel study. Appetite, 135, 61-71. Retrieved from: https://www-sciencedirect-com.jpllnet.sfsu.edu/science/article/pii/S0195666318312881
Jennings, K. (2019). A Quick Guide to Intuitive Eating. Health Line Media. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/quick-guide-intuitive-eating
Sairanen, E., Tolvanen, A., Karhunen, L., Kolehmainen, M., Järvelä, E., Rantala, S., . . . Lappalainen, R. (2015). Psychological Flexibility and Mindfulness Explain Intuitive Eating in Overweight Adults. Behavior Modification, 39(4), 557-579. Retrieved from: https://journals-sagepub-com.jpllnet.sfsu.edu/doi/full/10.1177/0145445515576402
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