What is Intuitive Eating?
“Intuitive eating is a dynamic mind-body integration of instinct, emotion and rational thought. It is a personal process of honoring your health by paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs. It is an inner journey of discovery that puts you front and center; you are the expert of your own body. After all, only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Only you know how hungry you are and what food or meal will satisfy you.”
This definition is from the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
- Reject the Diet Mentality
- Honor your Hunger
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Feel your Fullness
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
- Cope with your Emotions without Using Food
- Respect your Body
- Exercise-Feel the Difference
- Honor Your Health- Gentle Nutrition
Over the course of the next 10 weeks I will be sharing how I am incorporating the Intuitive Eating Principles into my life and the impact they have made on my journey. If you want to receive this series in your email, sign up here.
The first Intuitive Eating Principle is to reject the diet mentality.
The first step is usually the hardest isn’t it? When I decided to dive into intuitive eating rejecting the diet mentality didn’t feel like something that applied to me if I can be honest.
I didn’t think I was engrossed in diet culture. I had spent the last 2.5 years losing weight but said, and believed, it was a lifestyle change, not a diet. That was until the scale wasn’t cooperating any longer and my body began to fight my efforts.
I had to figure out what was going on and the only way to do that was to take a step back and look at my journey and what needed to change. It also meant I needed to get really honest with myself.
I was on a diet.
I tracked my food. I was very focused on the number on the scale and it going down. I was exercising a lot to attempt to maintain a weight my body wasn’t happy at. I had to finally come to terms that even though I said I wasn’t on a diet, I really was.
I love this definition from Georgie from In It 4 the Long Run, “Diet culture is a society that places value on being a certain size, weight, and shape over actual health. Diet culture also promotes the false notion that health equals to thinness. It’s our society’s obsession with thin bodies. Diet culture praises and promotes weight loss as a tool for health. In reality, weight gain and loss is not inherently healthy or unhealthy. Fat is not inherently healthy or unhealthy.”
Living in a society that is so focused on the next fad diet is exhausting, and annoying if I can be honest. There is SO much pressure to look a certain way, and if we don’t look that way, we feel like we have to explain ourselves.
WHY?? We do not owe anyone an explanation for the shape and size of our body. NO ONE.
When I realized how much I felt this way, I got angry.
I realized I’d been seeking praise from others to help me feel better about myself. My before and after comparison always got a lot of attention on Instagram but do you want to know how I felt when I slowly to begin not looking like my “after” picture anymore?
- hatred for my body
- no willpower
I could go on and on and on. I was so petrified of what everyone was going to think about me gaining weight that I lost sight of the most important person in this equation… ME. MY feelings. MY thoughts. I felt like I owed everyone an explanation and looking back, that wasn’t fair to me, the one who was just trying to figure it all out as she went along. I still am.
Diet culture and the diet mentality stole many years from my life. It made me obsess about the number on the scale and led me to believe that THIS time, I wouldn’t gain the weight back.
No matter how many times I’d failed before, this time would be different.
Dieting isn’t sustainable. Only 2-5% of dieters who lose weight keep the weight off longer than 5 years.
The first time I heard this statistic was on the Nutrition Redefined podcast and it was the wake up call I needed.
I was fighting to stay on a program that I had never (since I was in elementary school) successfully maintained my weight loss. I thought to myself, why not try something different?
You are gambling your happiness and your health on a promise that once you reach that “goal weight” life will be so much better.
Life wasn’t better at my goal weight. I was so fixated on the scale it was ridiculous. Yes, I was more comfortable but I paid a huge price for that comfort. A price I’m no longer willing to pay.
I want to share an inspiring Ted Talk with you. When we know better we do better. Sandra Aamont is a neuroscientist and explains what dieting does to our brains. It’s fascinating, and the first time I saw it I ended up in tears.
It’s proof that body positivity and intuitive eating are truly a healthier alternative to any diet on the market, regardless of your size.
You are beautiful the way you are.
You are enough.
You are so much more than that number.