This week the focus is on intuitive eating and how those with disordered eating habits can be restored to a place of being able to eat intuitively, mindfully and without the guilt that can arise after eating food that has typically been labeled as “forbidden”.
When I first started on my journey towards becoming an intuitive eater, I found it very helpful to examine the habits and attitudes of those people who were “normal eaters”. Here are the main 7 habits that they exhibit:
1. Intuitive Eaters do not label food as good or bad. No food is off limits – the only requirement is that they are genuinely hungry for that particular food. They do not adhere to any diet rules, eating plans and do not avoid food simply because it has been labeled by others as “unhealthy”. They tap into the wisdom of their own body to decide what they will eat.
2. Intuitive Eaters eat food that they actually like. They have the freedom to choose what they want to eat without fear and would only eat something if they had a genuine hunger and desire for it.
3. Intuitive Eaters only think about food when it is time to eat. This means that they do not spend time creating food plans, reading labels and crafting diet plans far in advance. They trust that their own body will provide them with the best plan and advice on what to eat.
4. Intuitive Eaters eat when they feel hungry. This is the key! They know how to recognize hunger based on internal cues, as opposed to external ones like diets or rigid calorie controlled plans.
5. Intuitive Eaters do not obsess about what they ate after they have finished their meal. Once a meal is done, it is over. There are no rigorous gym workouts to compensate, no eating guilt or remorse.
6. Intuitive Eaters do not eat for emotional reasons. They eat to satisfy physical as opposed to emotional hunger. They also recognize the difference and when emotional hunger arises it can be nurtured in more appropriate ways like social connection, exercise, sleep or creative expression.
7. Intuitive Eaters enjoy their food. Being an intuitive eater certainly does not mean that you are not able to enjoy the food that you are eating. Quite the opposite is true. Food is meant to be flavorful and enjoyed, and those who are in touch with their bodies know exactly what they are hungry for and eating is a pleasure. They also know when they have had enough and their natural satiety signals kick in and they stop.
Stay tuned tomorrow to hear an insightful interview with a dietitian who takes the principles of intuitive eating to her clients. She explains how to how to heal the relationship with food and body, why there is no such thing as failure with this approach and how learning to become an intuitive eater will help you in all aspects of life.
Exactly! I love that - it is definitely about being consisitent. I also love that there is no externally defined "perfection" with intuitive eating. Trusting that our bodies give the most perfect cues is the key!
I don't totally agree with the wording on this article. Lots of "don'ts", where as intuitive eating is more guidelines than rules. Normal eaters do eat emotionally from time to time and DO think about food. They are human after all. Intuitive eaters CAN plan out meals for the week to keep them organized, but have the flexibility to go to Plan B.
Thanks for your comment Jill. My experience over the last 4 years is that I son't think about food or plan in advance. I only thinkg about it when I am hungry or am going out to eat. I am just speaking from personal experience.
Also, in the last 4 years I have never had an emotional binge eating episode and that is what true freedom looks like in my life.