What the Heck is Intuitive Eating?

You hear phrases like Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating, but what do they really mean?? Once you understand the concepts, your life could be changed forever. Plus you'll end up loving your body more in the end!!! www.happyfoodhealthylife.com #healthy #bodyimage

 

Chances are, if you’ve been around the healthy-living community for any length of time, you’ve heard phrases like Mindful Eating or Intuitive Eating. Trusting your body. Feeding your hunger. Yada Yada Yada. What the heck does all that mean? Because I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who feed their hunger and still aren’t happy with the way things are going with their health or their bodies. So today I want to break it down for you. And I promise you that it can absolutely change your life like it has mine.

Before I tell you what it is, let me first start by telling you how you will benefit from taking on an Intuitive method of eating.

* You won’t feel the need to be on a strict diet.
* You will be able to enjoy the foods you desire.
* Your body will adjust to your new way of eating, and you may even start to see changes in your body without even trying.
* You won’t ever have to worry about what foods are “good” and what foods are “bad.”
* You will be free of the dieting mindset.

More than anything, the number one way Intuitive eating benefits me is the last one I listed.

Freedom.

Freedom from the food battle. Freedom from worrying about what foods to eat and which ones to avoid. Freedom from trying to please those thoughts in my head that told me I could only eat a certain amount of calories a day.

So… What is Intuitive Eating??

* Eating only when you are truly physically hungry.
* Eating slowly, with purpose, and with true intent.
* Paying very close attention to the signals your body is telling you.

That may seem like a simple and short answer to what Intuitive Eating is, and really that is all there is to the principle, but the actual process of getting to the point where you’re being true to your body’s hunger can be a surprisingly difficult process. At the beginning I really struggled with “hearing” what my body was trying to tell me, so I had to take some necessary steps to be sure I was paying attention while I was eating:

* No TV, computer, phones, etc
* SLOW eating. Lots of breaks in between bites so I could listen. Still hungry? Not so hungry anymore?
* Eat in a stress-free environment
* Eat what you truly want (not what your emotions want).

Trust Your Body! www.happyfoodhealthylife.com #healthy #bodyimage

Once I let go of what my mind was telling me to do (ie: only eat x calories a day, eat only certain “good” foods, etc), and put the trust in something that I didn’t have much control over (my body), a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. The process was slow, but it was one that absolutely changed my life.

At the beginning of the process, I had to eat very slow so that I could really “hear” what my body was trying to tell me. Was I really still hungry? Or was I starting to feel satiated? Are those hunger pains? Or am I just bored and in need of something to do? Or am I trying to eat my emotions? Lots of asking myself questions about what my body was really trying to tell me.

One of my biggest concerns going into this process was that I thought I would immediately start gaining weight as soon as I let go of the calorie-counting and restricting/binging cycle. I was completely shocked, but the exact opposite happened. I was actually losing weight! My body was no longer confused and trying to stay on top of the crazy hoops I made it jump through. Before, it was in survival mode half the time while I was restricting heavily, and then as soon as I would binge, it held onto everything I put into it. With Intuitive Eating, my body got exactly what it needed and had no need to hold onto anything extra for the sake of “survival.” It didn’t take long for my body to get used to the fact that I wasn’t going to starve it anymore, so it could use everything for nutrients right away.

My Testimony of How Intuitive Eating Can Change Lives

The combination of exercising regularly, eating the foods that I knew my body needed (as well as indulging with moderation), and truly listening to my body and its needs has been absolutely life-changing for me. The internal battles are gone for the most part. The nagging voices in my head telling me I shouldn’t be eating a certain “bad” food are completely gone. I feel like I have completely gotten my life back.

Handing over the reigns to my body was one of the toughest things I have ever done, but it was also the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Our bodies are designed to work FOR us, not against us. We just have to trust it. And that is probably the thing that most of us struggle with the most. And not only trusting it, but truly LISTENING to it. It takes a lot of concentration, but it is so worth it. I will never look back.

Looking for more information on intuitive eating or overcoming dieting/overeating/food obsessions?

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Stop Dieting // Happy Food Healthy life

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Stop Dieting

How I Stopped Late-Night Snacking and Started Achieving Goals www.happyfoodhealthylife.com

How I Stopped Late-Night Snacking

Comments

  1. says

    I had to stop by from the Creative Collection Link party when I read the title of your post because I actually did my masters thesis on intuitive eating. The theory is that people who follow an intuitive eating method will eat healthier than those who consider themselves on a diet. Dieters will crash, and cheat, and thereby eat more sugars and fats, and less healthy foods. Whereas those who follow more of an intuitive schedule will eat the sugars and fats in moderation and consumer more fruits and vegetables. My theory was upheld through my research, and I have continued to follow an intuitive eating method. Thanks for sharing!

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your insight Anne! It’s nice to hear that this theory is backed up by research. You know, I’m always really shocked when I step on the scale (yes, I still own one and know I shouldn’t) and see that the numbers haven’t gone up after I’ve eating some sweets. It’s all about moderation, listening to your body, and really being true to yourself without restrictions. I rarely binge anymore. Sure, there’s the occasional battle with emotional eating, but nothing like it used to be.
      And you’re totally right about the water situation. I’ve been trying to drink a ton of water and that’s really helped me.

  2. says

    One more quick comment, I’ve found that the majority of the time when I “think” I’m hungry, I’m actually thirsty. If I feel a real snack mood kicking in, I drink a glass of water first, that usually takes away any of the cravings.

  3. says

    I like where you say that you still are eating foods you know your body needs.
    Growing up, my mom served a side dish vegetable with dinner every night and we ate it–in fact we loved it. When we ate dinner at my aunt’s, my mom told my brother he wasn’t allowed to eat all the peas.
    When I moved away from college, my body still craved vegetables regularly because it was used to getting them.
    I don’t know that I’m great at listening to my body, but I’ve found that when my body is telling me I’m still hungry after dinner, I think about what food group I may not have eaten enough of and fix me some more of that.

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Julie, it’s true – our bodies do crave what it needs. The problem is that we often mistake it for something else. We hear salt and go for potato chips, when in all actuality, there are probably a whole host of vegetables that could potentially do the trick.

  4. says

    This is a wonderful article. I really enjoyed reading and learning about the way I can improve my eating, especially taking my time to eat. That allows for meaningful conversation and quality time spent with friends and loved ones at meals. It’s a win-win!

    • Holly Waterfall says

      It’s true. There are many reasons why slowing down while eating is a good thing. It’s probably the #1 thing I still struggle with. I have to consciously remind myself to stop for a minute and actually enjoy the company I’m with as well as the food I’m eating.

  5. says

    I think I may have been doing this all my life without knowing what it’s called. I only ever eat when I’m hungry so don’t worry about skipping meals or eating twice quite close together if that’s when I’m hungry. Sometimes I really want a biscuit, so I have a biscuit and don’t worry about it too much. It’s always worked ok for me, I’ve never dieted (I really don’t think I could be that organised) I also completely agree with your previous commenter, often a glass of water is what you really need.
    I do need to improve on the speed/watching TV bit though, definitely an area of improvement for me. I love your calm post and gentle reminder. Thanks

    • Holly Waterfall says

      You are one of the lucky few 🙂 The fact that you have never really had to work on listening to your body is such a wonderful gift that you have. SO many people struggle with first HEARING what their body is saying and then on top of that actually following its direction. So kudos to you for not falling into the dieting trap and actually using the body you’ve been given as a tool for good health.

  6. says

    Thanks so much for sharing at our Cook it! Craft it! Share it! Link Party. Hope you can join us this wednesday night at 8:30 PM EST -Doree

  7. says

    I’m a little late to the party, but I love the simplicity and encouragement of this article! When I was first mindfully eating, a Japanese friend mentioned that his parents ate “to the taste”. Food loses a substantial amount of flavor once your body is satiated. That little tip helped me more than almost anything else. Thank you again for the time you put into this article–it’s a message we all need to hear often.

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Rebecca, I’m so happy that you enjoyed this post – intuitive eating is all about truly listening to our bodies (something many of us don’t know how to do anymore). Once you have that down, so many issues with health and weight can be resolved.

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