Intuitive Eating - Getting Started, Benefits & Misconceptions

A Guide to Intuitive Eating – Benefits, and Principles

Diets and food restrictions tend to mess with the body’s set point weight, which is vital in keeping our bodies functioning. However, many people see these as the only way to keep themselves healthy.

Intuitive Eating may be able to help you find balance within your body once again. While Intuitive Eating has been around for a while, not many people know what it is really about.

So, what does intuitive eating mean? And, how can it help those who want to live a more balanced life and improve their relationship with food? What is an intuitive eater? And, how does this practice benefit them? Let’s look at all the basics to get a proper understanding of intuitive eating.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating seeks to help those who have been negatively affected by dieting and eating disorders. Think of Intuitive Eating as a set of principles to be followed that will help to improve a person’s overall relationship with their food.

By understanding what the body needs and treating it with kindness, you will start your body off on a journey to healing and health. Intuitive Eaters follow principles and have learned to approach their eating habits in a holistic and healing manner.

Can Intuitive Eating Be Healthy?

Studies imply positive effects associated with intuitive eating when it comes to changing eating behaviors. Most studies show that participants who took part in an intuitive eating program developed better awareness of their bodies.

These studies found that intuitive eating shows improvement in not just physical health but psychological health as well. Improved blood pressure and cardiorespiratory fitness, better body image, and more self-esteem were some of the health benefits experienced by intuitive eaters.

Why Should You Choose Intuitive Eating?

Wellness diets and programs run on rules and restrictions about food. What to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and even how to eat are some of the things covered that claim to help with weight loss and improved health.

When you have to follow so many rules and are restricted from eating food you like, the diet becomes more worrisome, and food is no longer enjoyable.

By following the Intuitive Eating approach, you allow your body to go back to its natural state of balance by feeding it what it needs when it needs it and being more mindful about enjoying taking care of yourself.

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating is gaining popularity with those seeking to better their health, and with good reason. Here are some benefits of Intuitive Eating:

  • You become more appreciative of your body.
  • You feel more motivated to move.
  • Your overall health improves. This includes lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Improves the satisfaction of life;
  • Aids in the increase of more nutritious foods that our bodies need;
  • Reduces the likelihood of binge eating.

Does it Help to Lose Weight?

Intuitive Eating is not about losing weight but more about eating what your body needs; it cannot guarantee weight loss.

Each person is different, and their bodies require different amounts of nutrients to function well. In the same way, certain things will also affect each body differently.

While you are focused on understanding your body and eating what you crave and need, you may gain weight, lose it or even stay the same.


On Which Principles Does Intuitive Eating Work?

The Principles of Intuitive Eating focus on improving your lifestyle by teaching you to understand your body and respond to it. These are the principles that define Intuitive Eating:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

There is nothing called Intuitive Eating diet programs since the diet culture is ultimately rejected for how unhealthy it is. You need to focus on eating what your body needs and eat with more mindfulness.

2. Honor Your Hunger

Hunger is not a weakness or something to be ashamed of. When your body is hungry, it tells you that it needs to be nourished to keep producing energy to help you keep going. Ignoring your body’s signal telling you to eat will only result in overeating or the loss of your appetite. Respect your body and eat when you are hungry.

3. Make Peace with Food

Food is food – there isn’t a good type of food or a bad type of food. You eat according to what your body needs and the occasion you are in. There is no need to feel ashamed if you had some cake at your friend’s birthday party. It’s only cake!

4. Challenge the Food Police

Diets are to be rejected, and with that, the “food police.” Do not allow anyone to make you feel bad about eating something, whether in your life or through posts on social media or your negative thoughts.

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Come mealtime, find out how you can make your food more enjoyable, and do it. Take the time to put on any seasonings you need to allow you to end your meal with a feeling of satisfaction. Do not use this as an excuse to break some of the rules you need to follow due to any particular circumstance. For example, if you are allergic to peanuts and crave them, do not give in to that craving. Find an alternative that will give you as much joy and satisfaction, but that will not ruin your health.

6. Feel Your Fullness

If you have ever been in the position where you have been told, very sternly, to finish everything on your plate even though you were full, you know what it feels like to be uncomfortably full. This type of behavior, where rules about how much we should eat are enforced, removes our natural ability to know when our bodies are comfortably full.

To relearn how to know if you are full or not without eating until you are stuffed, you must always take breaks to gauge how full or satisfied you feel. This way, you are more likely to stop eating before you reach the point of discomfort.

7. Cope With Your Emotions with Kindness

Rather than seeking food to find comfort, find other, healthier ways to deal with your emotions. There are so many things that you can do to live out your feelings of stress or sadness. Take your dog for a walk, pet your cat, paint or watch a favorite movie. Eat to enjoy, but do not eat as a way to feel better.

8. Respect Your Body

It does not matter what size you are, whether fat, thin, or average. You should treat your body with kindness. Your body does not need to be perfect, but it is a part of what makes you. So, get into the habit of respecting your body, and do not punish it. Exercise only as much as your body can handle, go for that massage that your body deserves, treat your skin to something fancy and appreciate that your body is strong enough to get you through each day.

9. Movement- Feel the Difference

When you focus more on working out because it makes you feel during and after, you are more likely to enjoy your workout sessions. So, aim for the feeling of working out, and the results will automatically follow without you needing to stress out over it.

10. Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

Focus on eating food that is healthy for you. Focus on maintaining the health of your gut, liver, heart, and other vital organs. Eat what makes you satisfied, but eat to make your body healthy. You can achieve Intuitive eating nutrition gains through a varied diet.

How to Get Started with Intuitive Eating?

If your interest in Intuitive Eating has been peaked, and you want to give it a shot, here are some ways to get started with Intuitive Eating for beginners:

1. Eat What You Want

Start rejecting what diet culture offers when it comes to good food and bad food. Food is food, and you should eat what you want without feeling shame or guilt. When your body learns that it has access to all kinds of food, you will notice that you have fewer cravings and are less likely to overeat.

2. Respect Your Hunger

Start respecting and honoring your hunger. When you start to feel like your body needs some food, eat something. Do not wait until your set time, and cause your body to weaken further.

3. Move Your Body

Forget everything you were told about what exercises you had to do and start focusing on just getting your body moving. Do something that you enjoy, rather than trying to keep up with rigid schedules.

4. Eat With Mindfulness

Take the time to enjoy your food. Put away all distractions and pay attention to what you are eating. If you are busy and usually work while you eat, take at least five minutes to practice this mindfulness before getting back into the swing of things.

5. Be More Aware of Your Internal Food Police

As you go about your day, monitor the thoughts that automatically come to mind when you think about or interact with certain types of food. Doing this helps change your mindset, as you will know what changes you need to make to build a better perspective towards food.

6. Unfollow the Fad Fitness Culture

Start unfollowing or rejecting the content and advice of people who offer quick and easy fixes to any of your problems or concerns. If you feel like you need help, seek out a qualified professional to guide you.

Misconceptions About Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating is gaining popularity, but as more people find out about it, more inconsistencies about what it is spring up. Here are some myths about intuitive eating that you need to ignore:

  • Intuitive Eating is a Diet for Weight Loss 

Intuitive Eating is not a diet for weight loss at all. It is about developing a healthy mindset towards food and health, learning to understand your body needs, and enjoying the entire process. People do lose weight, but that is an unintentional side effect that occurs for some people. Others do not see any change at all, while others even gain weight.

  • People With Disorders Cannot Practice Intuitive Eating.

When people make this assumption, they forget that there is more to Intuitive Eating than simply eating until you are full. It is also about learning how to deal with emotions without using food and developing a good mindset about their bodies. Intuitive eating disorder symptoms are also unheard of since such eating habits help to fade away such disorders.

  • Intuitive Eating is Not Healthy 

To help develop better mindsets, body images, and food habits, Intuitive Eating is one of the most effective and powerful sets of principles for people to live by if they want to live healthy lives.

How is Intuitive Eating Different from Intuitive Fasting & Mindful Eating

Intuitive Eating overlaps with these other concepts, so it is not surprising that you can easily mix it up. Though similar, these three concepts are different from one another:

  • Mindful eating involves taking the time to engage with your food thoroughly and enjoying it to its maximum. It is about being present in the moment and utilizing all your senses to experience everything to its fullest.
  • Intuitive Eating does not focus so much on the present moments but focuses on your relationship with food. It focuses on getting you to think about how you feel about all types of food to help build a more positive attitude.
  • Intuitive Fasting is all about picking a fasting schedule and sticking to it. This could be anything you desire, such as fasting between 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. You can even fast intuitively by not eating anything in the morning until you start to feel hungry. This would involve you being intuitive about your body’s needs.

As we have seen, intuitive eating is less about following a particular diet and more about changing your mindset and improving your overall lifestyle concerning food and health. Intuitive Eating is not for everyone, so if you are interested in trying it out, talk to your doctor and see if it is right for you.

Also Read:

Importance of Balanced Diet
Food and Drink That Promote a Good Night’s Sleep
Paleo Diet vs. Keto Diet: Which One is Better?

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.