“I’ve tried every diet under the sun.” “I’ve lost and gained the same 50 pounds over and over again.” “Diets? You name it, I’ve tried it.” If these phrases sound familiar to you, it might be time for a new approach to health.
Intuitive eating is an approach that has been around for 25 years and continues to grow in popularity. It was developed by two dietitians who specialize in treating eating disorders. This style of eating can help people to heal from disordered eating and diet obsessions. The newest edition of their book was published earlier this summer. In the 25 years since the original book was released, over 100 research studies about intuitive eating have been published. These studies support the role of intuitive eating in reducing risk of eating disorders, improving physical and mental health, and promoting body positivity.
Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to a healthy life. It’s not a tool for losing weight. In fact, one of the main principles of intuitive eating is to respect and accept your body as it is. If you’ve spent your whole life hearing that weight loss is the pathway to better health, this might seem anything but intuitive. That’s why there are counselors who had received special training to help people adopt the principles of intuitive eating. You can find certified Original Intuitive Eating Pros throughout the world. While many of the professionals are dietitians, you’ll also find other professionals, such as therapists, with this training.
Wondering what to expect with the intuitive eating approach? Here is a summary of the 10 principles of intuitive eating:
1. Reject the Diet Mentality – This isn’t a new diet approach. This is an opportunity to break free from the constraints of diet culture.
2. Honor Your Hunger – Hunger is a survival mechanism, not something that should be feared. Learn how to trust your body’s hunger signals.
3. Make Peace with Food – There are no bad foods. Restricting foods can make you feel deprived and can lead to stronger food cravings.
4. Challenge the Food Police – Turn off the inner thoughts that tell you that you are a good or bad person based on your food choices.
5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor – Eating can be a pleasurable and satisfying experience. Learn how to create an eating environment that makes you feel content.
6. Feel Your Fullness – Just as you learn to acknowledge hunger, you will also learn to recognize fullness. Tune into your body’s signals telling you that you are no longer hungry.
7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness – Emotions are a natural part of being a human. Be kind to yourself while accepting that food will not solve emotional problems.
8. Respect Your Body – Accept your body as it is without being critical of your shape and size.
9. Movement – Feel the Difference – Instead of thinking about burning calories, appreciate how movement can make you feel more energized or stronger.
10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition – Balance the enjoyment of tasty food with the health benefits of food. You don’t need to eat perfectly to be healthy.
If you’ve been dieting all your life, it might feel scary to try a new approach that relies on self-trust instead of rules around food. But if what you’ve been doing hasn’t been effective or sustainable, it’s time to think about trying something new. For many people, intuitive eating provides freedom and hope in their relationship with food and their body. If you’d like to get started, look for an Original Intuitive Eating Pro.