Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to listen to your own body when making decisions about food, which is what I think many of us could use more of right now. With intuitive eating, you learn to use your innate body wisdom and distinguish between your physical and emotional feelings of hunger and satisfaction. As simple as this approach may seem, it takes a lot of practice and letting go of years of conditioning learned from dieting and today’s society.
How to Eat Intuitively + 3 tips to start now!
When we begin to listen to our body and give it what it wants, we begin to transform our relationship with food and our body. We can know when we are hungry for food vs. hungry for distraction or filling a void in ourselves.
Intuitive eating is all about noticing when we are feeling sad, mad, or stressed and moving through those feelings without using food to comfort ourselves. A huge benefit of listening to our body and eating intuitively is that we can finally stop looking to outside sources for the answer and start looking within.
Intuitive Eating is for you if you struggle with:
- Emotional eating
- Food restricting
- Overeating/Binge eating
- Compulsive eating
- Body image issues
- Weight loss
- Disordered Eating
When starting on this journey my clients often say they don’t even understand what it means to listen to their bodies.
I get it! This is not something we are taught to do, in all actuality we are taught the opposite. We are taught to reject our bodies, control them, and manipulate them. So to make it simple, listening to our bodies is just a moment of pause, tuning in, and creating an inner dialogue so we can better notice the physical sensations.
We can ask things like, “How am I feeling? What do I want/need right now?” Perhaps your chest feels tight or your stomach is growling, but you are so used to going through your busy day and ignoring your body’s sensations that you don’t even notice what your body is trying to tell you.
This doesn’t pertain to just when we eat, our bodies talk to us all the time, it cues us when we are hungry and full but also when we need deeper breaths, rest, when we have a boundary crossed, when we aren’t in integrity with ourselves. Our bodies are in constant communication with us, it’s that we aren’t good listeners.
So often I hear from clients that can’t even tell when they are hungry or when they are full. They are so used to restricting food or binge eating that these natural body cues have been lost.
01. Learning to Listen
When I first got started trying to listen to my body, I believed I was already doing quite a good job at it. When my body wanted pizza I gave it pizza or something sweet I gave it sweets. Occasionally it wanted a smoothie or salad and I gave it those things too.
The thing is it wasn’t my body wanting these things. It was my mind, my anxiety, my boredom, and my stress. I used food as a way to comfort myself.
Over time, as I started to pause more and tune in to my body’s needs and desires, I began to realize I didn’t want sugar, but instead I needed a good night of sleep. Or when I was feeling anxious and stressed, I realized that my body was craving movement and deeper processing.
I learned how to give myself what I needed, not cope with food.
02. Daily Dialogues
You can truly learn a lot from just taking a few seconds to ask your body what it wants. At first, it may be a challenge and I recommend trying to journal about it. Notice the sensations in your body and ask yourself what it wants and write down your thoughts and feelings. If you commit to this practice daily for a week you will start to notice sensations and desires you may not have noticed before.
If you are ready to start listening to your body and eating intuitively, here are the 10 principles to live by.
It’s important to know that this journey is yours and so if take what resonates and leave the rest. I’m a big believer that again, you know better than anyone how to nourish and feed your body.
03. Ditch Diet Culture
Throughout the diet books, magazines, and unfollow all those that feed you this false hope that a diet could work. Anyone who is selling this one size fits all, lose weight quickly and easily is not a valid resource for information on health and wellness.
When diet is engaged, your eating habits are dictated by diet rules, which control what you eat, how much, and when, regardless of your food preferences, and energy needs and so you do not support the system that is trying to communicate with you. Your body is way more intelligent than some diet that knows nothing about you, your needs, your stress levels, your hormones, genetics, and so on.
Now I know that many people are becoming aware that diets don’t work but many are still surprised when I share that dieting increased the risk of weight gain also.
Yep, that’s right!
If your looking for more info on Intuitive Eating below are some of my favorite resources.
If you’re looking for guidance with developing a deeper relationship with yourself, your health, intuitive eating, body image, emotional stressors, hormones, or pretty much anything related to being a woman, I offer 1:1 coaching, and twice a year I open the doors to my Eat Well + Feel Whole course. Both are great resources for someone navigating new habits and working through old programming.
Have you tried intuitive eating? Is it a great tool or what?! Comment below — or tag @livesimplynatural if you are doing this work with me. I’d love to get inspired by your journey too <3