An intuitive eater is someone who listens to their body and fuels themselves with what they think they need food based on how they feel. So there is no counting calories, macros, and no weighing food. It’s just you listening to your body and giving yourself what you think you need at that moment based off of how you feel.
When you are able to connect with your body and use intuitive eating, you’re able to intuitively be more clear in other parts of your life which means you’ll show up clearly for yourself & the people around you.
Intuitive eating is not for everyone. It’s a pretty broad way of eating and some people thrive on more structure and discipline when it comes to their food. However, intuitive eating can be a helpful way for people who tend to emotionally eat to slow down and think about what they are doing before they do it. In this way, it can help with increasing overall awareness for the individual.
If you are thinking about intuitive eating but are afraid to try it, think about why. Getting curious about trying different modes of “dieting” may open more doors for you physically and mentally. If you can be curious and explore without being judgmental of yourself, you’ll be successful.
Try not to base your decisions off of fear. It’s OK to be driven by fear- sometimes fear can be a solid motivator, but we shouldn't make our decisions based off of fear alone.
If you are someone curious to try intuitive eating, check out these eight tips below before you get started.
1. Reject the dieting mentality
It’s embedded in our culture. Recognizing the culture we live in is a more diet focused mindset will make a ton of difference for you. We don’t need to lose weight to be happy. Start to experiment with approaching food in a different way.
2. Honor your hunger
Hunger is different for everyone. Explore what that means for you. Define it and honor it. (Do you get dizzy, lightheaded, spacy, when hungry?) Define what it means for you.
3. Make peace with food
Give yourself permission to have certain foods & allow yourself to enjoy them. This one is all about breaking the diet mindset. Give yourself permission to eat certain foods. You’ll eventually realize your worst fear didn’t come true and you will redefine what certain food means to you.
4. Respect your fullness
Slow down and stop at the point when you’re almost full. There is a natural delayed reaction when we are eating so staying mindful while you are eating so you can slow down as you become mildly full is key. Fullness is finding that satisfaction after your meal but also being mindful while you are eating so you can slow down when you are feeling mildly full. Feeling”full” is ok and not something to avoid or be afraid of.
5. Finding the satisfaction in your food
This one is all about finding the balance between what you are craving and what you actually eat. For example, you can be craving a panini for lunch but you have a salad instead. Your physically satisfied (full) but you are not mentally/emotionally “full.” Something to help with this is creating a positive and worthwhile experience as you eat and even before. Creating a positive eating environment if you are cooking and taking your time to prepare for the meal can help with increasing our overall satisfaction. For example, putting on music while you cook or walking into a restaurant and smelling the aromas coming out of the kitchen can really help with increasing our overall satisfaction levels.
6. Honor your feelings without using food
How often are you eating because you are hungry or b/c you are feeling emotional? Explore your emotional hunger. If it’s an emotional reason why you are eating, food won’t satisfy it. Being aware and trying to make changes while being more mindful will help. Recognizing how you are feeling physically and emotionally helps with making the right decisions.
7. Respect your body!
Respect and appreciate your own body and it's shaped, what it can do, etc. Make the mental switch from the focus on weight to focusing more on how you are feeling. Set goals in the gym that are focused more on strength (doing ten pushups straight) rather than going for a number on the scale. The less we fixate on our physical appearance, the more we appreciate where we are in the current moment.
8. Exercise but do it in a way you really enjoy
Find something you love to do that’s physically challenging. Working out should not be something you dread. There are tons of physical and mental benefits of exercise but if you totally hate going to the gym and don’t go because you hate lifting weights, find something you like! Explore and try something new.