What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a self care eating framework. It supports you to let go of diet rules and connect with your body's signals so eating becomes natural and peaceful.
Using an intuitive eating approach, I support you to feel confident around food and never need a diet again.
First things first... why anti-diet?
Intuitive eating is anti-diet. Research into dieting shows not only that it doesn't work, but also that it causes harm. Largely this research is based on 'sensible' diets guided by health professionals. Long term side effects from dieting include:
The majority of dieters gain back the weight (and often more) after dieting. It is not because of willpower or poor dietary habits but rather our body's innate biological and psychological responses to the famine (diet).
Obsessive and constant food cravings, emotional eating and binge eating are extremely common side-effects of dieting. Often we blame the food itself and try further to restrict but this just drives this cycle further.
Poor mental health
A constant focus on weight loss or perfect eating leads to a low or erratic mood, irritability, poor focus, less participation in social events, less connection with others and reduced passion in other areas of life.
Losing weight is not your life's purpose
Imagine if all the time and energy that goes into thinking about how you can shrink your body was put into a passion or activities that make your body feel good. What could you achieve?
We live in a diet culture. This means we are surrounded by messages from all around, both subtle and blatant, that tell us our value and worth in this world is tied to our weight and food choices.
But, how does the pursuit of weight loss or perfect eating really improve your health or your life? We can focus directly on the things we are promised weight loss will give us such as health, confidence and a positive relationship with food and body.
It's time to let go of these unrealistic ideals, find trust with your body and understand its messages. It's time to work WITH your body, not against it.
Is intuitive eating healthy?
Intuitive eating is really just our body's natural way of eating. We are all born intuitive eaters and, if our trust and connection with our body is not taken away, we will continue to use our body's signals as our number guide in eating.
Although, some factors can disrupt being able to hear or trust our body's hunger signals. This can happen from poverty or famine when food is not available unconditionally. It can also happen from dieting and following food rules in place of our natural signals.
The intuitive eating framework was developed for those who have lost touch with the body to guide eating and self care, to re-learn how to become an intuitive eater.
Benefits of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating was developed in 1995 based on research. Since then there has been over 150 studies directly on the intuitive eating framework showing amazing physical and mental health benefits including:
Improved body acceptance
While dieting (and pursuing weight loss) actually leads to worsened body image, intuitive eating improves our understanding, appreciation and confidence in our bodies.
Reduced binge eating
Intuitive eaters have lower amounts of binge eating, emotional eating and loss-of-control eating and feel less guilt or shame over food. They also get more pleasure and less stress from food.
Higher life satisfaction
Intuitive eaters are shown to have higher wellbeing and optimism, coping skills, psychological hardiness, self regard as well as overall improved life satisfaction.
How does intuitive eating work?
Eating is a complex interplay of instinct, emotion and rational thinking. Intuitive eaters develop understanding and trust in all these areas so eating becomes supportive and enjoyable. There are 10 guiding principles of intuitive eating.
The principles of intuitive eating
Reject the diet mentality
More than stopping a diet. Develop a deep understanding into the ways our culture places value on thinness.
Honour your hunger
Provide adequate energy otherwise you will continue to trigger the primal ravenous hunger.
Make peace with food
Give yourself unconditional permission to eat otherwise deprivation will continue to drive cravings and bingeing.
Challenge the food police
Get rid of "good" and "bad" thoughts towards food because the guilt this triggers is harmful.
If you are not satisfied you will keep craving food even if you are full. Satisfaction is a powerful biological need.
Feel your fullness
Remove fear of fullness and curiously listen for signs you are ready to stop eating, trusting you can eat again as you need.
Coping with emotions
Remove guilt around eating for comfort and curiously explore kind new ways to nurture and care for your body.
Respect your body
Even if you don't like your body, you will feel so much better when you focus on kindness and caring for yourself.
Shift your focus to moving for pleasure and self care rather than calories and weight and feel the difference.
Honour your health AND your taste buds by choosing foods that make you feel good rather than perfect eating
What does intuitive eating counselling look like?
When you think of a dietitian, do you think of meal plans and food rules to follow? I used to think I was the expert in telling people what to eat, until I realised this does not work.
With intuitive eating, you are the expert of your body. I am the expert in guiding you to develop trust and understanding. And perhaps bust some harmful food myths along the way!
You learn to reframe unhelpful food and body thoughts, understand your hunger and fullness cues, explore the emotional, social and cultural role food plays for you and make food a happy and supportive part of your life. You will be supported with activities to guide you to food and life freedom.
To speak with me about specialist support, reach out for a free call here.