How to eat intuitively
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “intuitive eating” before. I’ve seen it in articles and online. But I’ve never heard someone explain what that actually means. Let me help with that.
I want you to think back to when you were a small child. You’d eat whatever you wanted and run around all day. At that time, you were fully connected to your body’s needs, without even realizing that’s what was happening. You stopped eating when you were comfortable. You didn’t overstuff yourself. You knew to grab something to eat when you were hungry. And you just did, no guilt or shame at all. Because food had no emotional attachment to it, no rules to follow.
Enter adults. They started telling us we had to finish our plate of food, even if we were comfortable already. They told us to eat our food at a certain time, even if we weren’t hungry yet. They told us we couldn’t have dessert unless we finished our meal.
See, all those lessons started the journey of becoming disconnected from our intuition. We ate and even overate because we were told to and we even learned to associate dessert as a reward.
Then when we got older, we tried diets. Reinforcing the disconnect we formed from our bodies. We ate at specific times because someone recommended it. We cut out foods because someone told us it was the best way to lose weight. We deprived ourselves because we thought it was what was best. But all along we were pushing ourselves further away from our very own instincts.
So, what is intuitive eating?
It’s the exact opposite of what I just explained!! Intuitive eating is about connecting with your primal needs and trusting that your body (your gut instincts) will guide you. It’s about leaving out all the rules. And it’s about unlearning the lessons we were taught as children and reconnecting to our body’s actual needs and wants. It comes down to self-trust. And being intuitive is a sure-fire way to guarantee you will never have to diet again.
Intuitive eating starts with being mindful. And I understand that can be a challenge because we truly are busy people. But…. We’re also worth the effort.
How do we do that?
- Give yourself permission to eat when and how much you want. Literally tell yourself, “I am going to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m comfortable. I don’t need to earn dessert. I can have some any time”.
- Sit at a table for meals, undistracted. When you’re eating your meal, pay close attention to how you feel. Are you enjoying the food? Are your hunger signals dissipating? If so, that’s when your body is comfortable and ready to stop eating.
- Sip water throughout the day. Yes, even if you’re not thirsty. Often times our hunger is just masked dehydration.
- Check-in with yourself often. I sometimes recommend to clients that they should set an alarm and check-in every hour. See how you’re feeling. Am I hungry? Will I be hungry soon? When’s the last time I drank? And whatever the answer is, honor it. If you’re hungry, eat. If you hadn’t had water in a while, stop and drink.
- Slow down! Your brain takes about 20 minutes to register that your belly is full. So, imagine what happens when you eat quickly? You don’t realize until 20 minutes after your meal that you’re overstuffed and uncomfortable!
Life experience and counterintuitive lessons have crippled us in making decisions that are best for us. It’s time to let those lessons go. Trust our guts (literally and figuratively). And get all the dieting rules out of our systems.
“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen” – Shakti Gawain
Want more tips like this? Follow us on Instagram here