What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a self care eating framework. It supports you to work with your body rather than fighting against it so you will feel at peace with food and have confidence in your body.
How does dieting hurt us?
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.
Your purpose in life is not to shrink your body
Imagine if all the time and energy that goes into thinking about how you can shrink your body was put into a dream or passion. 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.
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, confidence in our bodies.
Reduced binge eating
Intuitive eaters have lower binge eating, emotional eating and loss-of-control eating plus they feel more at peace with food and get more pleasure 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?
Intuitive eating is a person centered, self care approach to nutrition. Most of the time my clients have never opened up about the deeper issues surrounding food and their body so my counselling provides a judgement-free, confidential space to truly unpack and explore the real reason we feel discomfort with food and body.
Rather than giving you food rules to follow, you will receive psychoeducation about uncomfortable eating and body image and the tools to support your recovery. For example, if you are struggling with emotional or binge eating, we will explore the driving forces behind this such as restriction or emotions and explore strategies and behaviours that work with your body to reduce your uncomfortable drives toward food.
To learn more about how intuitive eating will look for you, reach out for a free discovery consultation.
"I want to learn to eat intuitively but I know I need to lose weight for my health. What should I do?"
I completely get it, so I've prepared a video to explore deeper into one of the most common questions I get regarding intuitive eating.
To explore how intuitive eating can personally help you, book a free discovery consultation to speak with me.Apply to work with me
Health at Every Size
Intuitive eating is Health at Every Size (HAES) aligned. This simply means I focus on your health and wellbeing from a holistic perspective. I will not assume your health, worth or lifestyle based on your weight and will never tell you to change your body.
I know weight can feel important and I will explore weight with you, both from a societal and scientific perspective. I will help you navigate weight concerns while focusing on the things that will really improve your health and life.
The truth is, health is complex. There are many factors that affect our health. Some we have some control over while many are completely outside of our control such as genetics and our environment.
When we focus on weight, or solely on food and exercise, we are missing or even worsening the other important areas of health and wellbeing such as stress, self worth and cultural connection.