There are so many diet fads out there, it is hard to know which one is right for you. Should you go on the carnivore diet? Is eating meat bad for you? Do I have to count my calories to lose weight?
When it comes to the way you eat, it’s not about how to teach yourself to eat less or more. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating four chicken thighs a day to get your protein in. The truth is that the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn to eat intuitively. An intuitive eating approach is not a diet. It’s not about measuring your food or restricting yourself from dessert. Becoming an intuitive eater is learning to trust that your body knows when to eat and what to eat. This is the ultimate goal.
If the thought of letting go of your food scale is scaring you right now, I’m going to give you 5 reasons why intuitive eating is better for your overall well-being.
Several studies have shown that intuitive eating is associated with:
- Better body image
- Lower rates of emotional eating
- More satisfaction
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Less stress
So, now you’re probably wondering what intuitive eating looks like.
There are no set rules
When it comes to intuitive eating, you must reject the diet mentality; there are no rules when you are eating intuitively. You are no longer telling yourself you can’t have something. Food shouldn’t be labeled as “good” or “bad”. Maybe you’re getting ready to go to the gym and you feel hungry for a quick snack. Do you reach for a banana or a piece of chocolate? Let’s say you reach for the piece of chocolate. That’s okay! The longer you practice eating intuitively, the more confidence you will build. You will eventually reach a point where you want to reach for the banana, because you know that it will give your body the energy it needs to perform well during your workout.
Listening to your body
Have you ever felt hungry but ignored it, then you got so hungry you went home and ate everything in your pantry? We’ve all been there. When you see food as a scarcity during a diet, it’s common to ignore your hunger. You think that ignoring your hunger will get you to your goal faster. But ignoring your hunger cues makes you more likely to rebound and eat twice as much when you finally can eat. To become an intuitive eater, you must listen to your body’s signals. There is no better coach than your own body. Give your body what it’s asking for. If you’re hungry, feed yourself. If you feel full, don’t force yourself to finish everything on your plate. Now, listening to what your body wants doesn’t mean only eating junk food; though if you want junk food, it’s okay to have it in moderation. It’s about relearning your body’s natural instincts instead of following what these “fitness influencers” are saying.
It’s not linear
Living in a diet culture isn’t easy. Switching to an intuitive eating approach will not happen overnight. We always suggest picking one diet-learned habit and focusing on breaking it first. Once you unlearn that habit, go on to the next one. Maybe your first goal will be choosing to eat what you want, not what you think you should have. Take it one step at a time and most importantly, don’t judge yourself during the process.