For many people, traditional diet techniques have led to frustration and feeling of failure – and some modern ideas of “healthy” seem unappealing or inaccurate. Intuitive eating, the anti-diet eating method, might be the change you’ve been looking for.
Intuitive eating rejects the themes of typical dieting and instead places emphasis on growing attuned to your body. The central focus is to learn when you are hungry by monitoring the physiological signals demonstrating hunger and learn to accept that you know your body best. With intuitive eating, you understand which foods make it feel healthiest, how much to eat and when to stop.
An important distinction to make early on is the difference between “physical” and “emotional” hunger. Physical hunger is provoked when your body requires additional nutrients to keep it happy and healthy. The noticeable signals of physical hunger are a growling stomach, irritability, and fatigue. Emotional hunger is triggered by emotional need. Boredom and sadness, for example, are two emotions that can trigger cravings for food.
When practicing intuitive eating, it’s best to reward physical hunger with sustaining food to help condition your body to better understand when it needs nourishment. To dissuade from emotional hunger, it’s important to create other routines like drinking a glass of water first, calling a friend, or taking a 10-minute walk before reaching for a snack.
Once you’ve learned the distinction between the two types of hunger, monitor your body and pay careful attention to physical hunger pangs. Eat when you’re physically hungry and until you feel full. Don’t leave a meal unfinished when your body tells you it needs more food. However, make sure to listen when your body signals it’s done eating.
Another tips is to closely monitor which types of foods your body reacts well to and which ones it does not. The goal is to prioritize the foods that keep you energized, happy, and feeling refreshed. Wean yourself off of anything that causes sluggishness, stomach or skin issues. It’s not uncommon for intuitive eaters to gain or lose a few pounds during this process, depending on their previous eating habits.
Although it may sound straightforward and commonsensical, intuitive eating can be more difficult because of society’s expectations around dieting and diet culture. This strategy aims to reconnect you with the innate instincts washed away over years of social standards, expectations and trends. Practicing this style of eating helps your body communicate more clearly with the mind and maintain naturally healthy consumption habits.