What Is Intuitive Eating And Will It Help With Weight Loss?
As the name suggests, intuitive eating is all about following your own innate intuition.
“The biggest difference between intuitive eating and diets—or ‘lifestyle changes’—is the focus on internal signals and cues rather than external rules,” says nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor Alissa Rumsey, RD, owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness. “Intuitive eating uses feelings of hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and body knowledge to dictate eating choices in the moment. Traditional diets, meanwhile, use external factors like nutrient counts, calories, or food groups to plan food ahead of time without room for flexibility.”
While you can lose weight by following an intuitive eating approach, it’s not necessarily the goal. Instead, the goal with intuitive eating is to foster a healthier, happier approach to food.
Yes, it sounds suuuuper simple—but it definitely takes work to achieve. “We’re all born knowing how to listen to our body’s hunger and satiety signals but, as we go through life, our natural intuition is blunted on so many levels,” says nutritionist Karen Ansel, RD. “As children, adults are constantly feeding us snacks, whether we’re hungry or not; we’re told to finish our meals even though our bodies may be perfectly well-nourished; we’re rewarded with food for good behavior. At the same time, we’re told that hunger is an emergency, even though it’s a completely natural sensation, just like being tired.”
Though intuitive eating offers the alluring promise of no food being off-limits, the process of reestablishing (and following) your natural cues is a tricky one.
“It’s long and time consuming, and sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed,” Ansel says. “The upside is that once you learn to eat intuitively, weight control often becomes infinitely easier, as your body naturally possesses all the tools to guide you.” At this point, you can easily eat only when truly hungry and stop when satisfied. No stress.
The 10 Principles Of Intuitive Eating
So, how does one become an intuitive eater, exactly? To help you get there, Tribole and Resch came up with the 10 principles of intuitive eating, which all focus on creating a healthier relationship with food.
“The principles of intuitive eating are guideposts that help you unlearn the dieting behaviors and diet mentality you’ve been taught and instead learn to tune back into your own body,” Rumsey explains. “While it’s not always a linear experience, rejecting the diet mentality and learning to honor your body’s hunger cues are some of the foundational experiences.”
Live by these principles, she says, and you’ll not only find a happier relationship with food, but more positive self-care and coping behaviors, body respect, and more intuitive, joyful movement, too.
1. Reject The Diet Mentality
This means ditching diet books and avoiding articles that tell you how to lose weight quickly.
2. Honor Your Hunger
Learning to listen to your hunger cues is crucial, Tribole and Resch argue. Focusing on keeping your body nourished with the right foods can help prevent overeating.
3. Make Peace With Food
This means giving yourself permission to eat what you want, when you want it.
4. Challenge The Food Police
Tribole and Resch urge people to remove “good” and “bad” thinking from eating. Have a bowl of ice cream? Don’t feel guilty about it; it’s just food, and it’s part of your overall healthy diet.
5. Discover The Satisfaction Factor
Eating should be a pleasurable experience and, if you enjoy what you’re eating, should help you feel satisfied and content. Identifying this satisfaction can help you learn when you’ve had enough of a food you enjoy.
6. Feel Your Fullness
Trust your body to lead you to the right foods and listen for the signals that you’re not hungry anymore. Tribole and Resch also recommend pausing in the middle of eating to ask yourself how the food tastes, and how hungry you are at that moment.
7. Cope With Your Emotions With Kindness
Learn to recognize that food restriction can trigger loss of control and emotional eating. Learn to ID your emotions and find ways to deal with them that don’t involve food.
8. Respect Your Body
Embrace your body, so you can feel better about who you are.
9. Movement—Feel The Difference
Be active for the sake of moving your body, instead of tracking how many calories you burn during exercise. Focusing on the energy you get from working out can help keep you motivated.
10. Honor Your Health With Gentle Nutrition
Make food choices that are good for your health—and taste great—while making you feel good. Know that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. That one snack, meal, or day of less-healthy eating won’t torpedo your goals.
Contact Physician’s Weight Control today for more information and to get started on a weight loss program today!
At Physician’s Weight Control and Wellness, our weight loss programs are unique in that they are physician-guided and individually tailored to each patient. Because every patient is different, no two treatment plans are the same. The same philosophy applies to our nutrition consulting and coaching programs. These programs are designed to be the next step after meeting with our doctors to ensure your investment in your new lifestyle takes root.