Intuitive Eating helps you free yourself from the years of dieting. A diet is any prescribed style of eating – whether you’re following a diet plan, eliminating foods from your diet, fasting or restricting food intake during the day. If you’re finding yourself obsessing about food, eating emotionally, labelling foods as “good” or “bad,” or feeling guilty for eating, you may be stuck in the diet mind-set. The diet mind-set is sold to you by the weight loss industry and relies on willpower, strictness, and 100% commitment to losing weight. When you are in the diet mind-set, you firmly believe that you are the failure, not the diet. Invariably in the diet mind-set we just move from one diet to another. But there is another way to live your life! With Intuitive Eating, you can start to trust and connect back with your body and start to ditch the diet mind-set. At Toss the Scales, we believe you have the right to an inner peace with yourself and a happier life, without the stress and guilt of dieting. We are sharing our top 5 tips to start integrating Intuitive Eating with your life today.
- Listen to your Hunger
Too often, we are set in a habitual eating pattern. We eat at 12pm because it is lunchtime, or we eat the same amount of food each day. Yet, our body’s hunger signals vary from meal to meal and day to day. One a diet plan, we are only allowed to eat fixed portions at certain times of the day. Because everyone is different, the potions may not be enough, so we find ourselves trying to override our hunger cues, by drinking coffee or water. In the diet mindset, we also often find ourselves skipping meals. This then leads to a dip in energy in the afternoon. It can leave us feeling absolutely ravenous, you’re more likely to eat fast and eat until you’re overly full. It’s hard to slow down your meal and enjoy it. You feel like you are out of control around food and crave starchy and sugary because your body is looking for a quick energy fix.
The physical sensations of actual hunger are your bodies cues to start eating because you need energy. By tuning into your hunger, you can explore when you naturally feel hungry throughout the day and how hungry you are feeling. You can also discover what actual hunger cues are, and what non-hunger cues are. Start to eat at the point of moderate hunger when you recognize hunger in your body, yet you’re not starving. You may even need to recognize what mild or moderate hunger feels like rather than extreme hunger. These feelings or signals will be different for everyone. Download the Toss the Scales hunger diary to start exploring your hunger today at ….
- Ask yourself what you want to eat.
Start to eat the foods you enjoy and want to eat. If you’re only eating foods because you heard they are healthy or good for you, you probably won’t feel as satisfied from your meal. Eating foods purely for health often leads to feelings of deprivation and guilt. If you cut out certain foods and don’t eat regular balanced meals during the day, you may be hungry in between meals and crave starchy and sugary because your body is looking for a quick energy fix.
Food is energy and nourishment, yet it’s also a source of pleasure. Food tastes delicious! When you take the time to ask your body what it wants to eat and prepare a meal, you’ll enjoy it much more. For example, in the winter, you may crave hot, nourishing soups or curries with warming spices. While in the summer, you may feel more like fresh salads, fruits, or cold smoothie. Giving yourself permission to eat all types of foods, when you want to eat them, will help you start to stop listening to any voices of moral judgment.
- Start to notice how your body reacts to foods or meals.
After meals, pay attention to your body. Notice how satisfied the meal keeps you and when you start to get hungry again. Notice how energized or drained you feel after a meal. Notice how it feels to overeat, do you feel sick? Do you have stomach pains? Are you eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness?
For example, if you have just a fruit smoothie for breakfast, I’m hungry within the next hour or two. You may need to add more protein to your breakfast to keep me satisfied, or move smoothies to a snack. You may also notice that days that you have more sugar than usual, I feel anxious and can’t think as clearly. You may find that if you have a big meal in the evening, you don’t feel hungry for breakfast; so you may explore eating less in the evenings, so that you do feel hungry when you get up the next day.
- Take time to Savour your Food
Whatever you eat, enjoy it. Slow down and savour it. Food is meant to be pleasurable, start to be mindful of what you are eating.
Too often, we don’t take time to eat. We rush to work, drinking a shake in the car on the way. At work, we eat our meal while checking our emails at our desk. Instead, give yourself the luxury to take time away from work, and have a delightful meal. Make meal-time a beautiful experience, slow down and savour your food. When you are slowing down and chewing well, your digestion works much better. You will be more satisfied after your meal and can listen to your fullness cues.
Remember that you are an Individual & Trust your own Body
Everyone’s body is unique and will thrive on a different style of eating, usually with the basis of mainly whole foods. Recognize that what worked for your sister or friend may not work for you. Their latest style of eating may leave you feeling tired and irritable.
Your body is resilient and has the amazing capability to heal and recover from extreme situations. Trust that your body is healing, and support that with good nutrition, movement, sleep, and managing your stress levels.
When you see the newest diet or superfood out there, you can remember that you know what works for your own body rather than switching diets every month. Remember people selling diets know nothing about you or your life, but feel they can impose their eating and exercises habits on you.
Intuitive Eating has transformed my own personal relationship with food. It’s brought me to a place where I naturally crave whole foods and know what works best with my body, but I don’t obsess or stress out about food. Now I no longer buy into diet culture, I am much happier, content and have a lot more energy. If you would like to learn more about the non-diet approach and intuitive eating, sign up for one of our courses at Toss