HOW TO EAT INTUITIVELY AND LEAVE FOOD RULES BEHIND
Have you ever heard of intuitive eating? This is a practice created by dietitians that emphasizes listening to your body and actively acknowledging all of our emotions when it comes to eating. Intuitive eating is an anti-diet mindset – AKA no food rules whatsoever. This can actually be viewed as a form of self-care that’s purpose is to nourish your body and eliminate any food-associated stressors in your life. Let’s dive into some basic strategies that anyone can implement to start eating intuitively.
CHEW YOUR FOOD!
I know it sounds silly, but chewing your food is so important for overall digestion and mindfulness. There are a few reasons for this. First, chewing is one of the first steps of digestion. When we chew, we are releasing enzymes that help with the rest of the digestion process. Secondly, chewing helps us slow down and be more aware of our fullness signals instead of rushing through the meal.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Believe it or not, your body is constantly communicating with you. Try to limit distractions when eating and truly pay attention to how you feel when you eat something. Ask yourself questions like: Is this meal satisfying enough? Am I in the mood for something else? Am I truly hungry right now or just bored? Although it sounds easy, listening to your body can be difficult and requires patience and practice. As mentioned previously, chewing will help with this.
BE IN THE MOMENT, NOT IN THE SCREEN
You heard that right – put the phone down! Unhealthy behaviors like overeating or constantly snacking when you’re not hungry can be the result of boredom or the many distractions on our screens. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you just need to turn on the TV, kick your feet back with a glass of wine, and indulge in a big bowl of popcorn. And that’s totally okay too! But if you feel out of tune with your hunger cues and find yourself eating when you’re not hungry, try putting the technology away in order to be more present. Engage in conversation with loved ones or spend time reconnecting with yourself during mealtime.
EAT WHAT YOU ENJOY & DON’T RESTRICT
The most important concept when it comes to intuitive eating is to eat what you enjoy and never restrict! Remember that food is both fuel and enjoyment. No one can follow the perfect diet because it simply does not exist! Eat the cake and pizza on your birthday without stressing – I promise the memories will be worth it. Restricting or obsessive dieting can lead to eating disorders and/or binging later on.
It’s never too late to start eating intuitively and build a healthier relationship with food and yourself. Intuitive eating is truly a skill that takes time to master – don’t give up! Keep trying and learn what works for YOU. Here are three easy steps you can take today to start eating intuitively. Good luck!
- Put your phone away (and all other screens) for each meal
- Be mindful of chewing and chew your food thoroughly
- Stay hydrated and pay attention to whether your hungry, thirsty, or just bored