Some of you follow dietitians and/or therapists on instagram that use the term, or maybe you follow the hashtag #intuitiveeating in hopes to find a new way, a different way to go about this whole “food + diet thing”.
The problem though, is that you may be receiving mixed messages about what intuitive eating actually is. Will intuitive eating help you lose weight? Stop binge-eating? Get off the diet bandwagon? How does one go about this whole “intuitive eating thing” when you’ve been on diets for such a long time? How are you supposed to be intuitive when you feel like you’ve lost your intuition?
Intuitive Eating is not:
- A diet
- A weight loss plan
- The answer to all of your problems
- The cure for your eating disorder
- A quick-fix, overnight solution
- Did I mention it’s not a diet?
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to walk you through the 10 principles of intuitive eating (yay!) But I must warn you, the likelihood of you “becoming an intuitive eater” over the course of a few weeks bc of a few blog posts is highly unlikely.
There are definitely tools and resources that can help assist you in your journey… AND, in the same way that you didn’t lose all of your intuition around food over night, you aren’t going to get it back over night. Learning how to become an intuitive eater takes TIME… there isn’t an easy way to magically become one. It’s a journey, one that shifts and changes in different seasons and stages of life, and that’s okay! There is no such thing as a “perfect” intuitive eater, so let me lift that weight off of your shoulders right now.
So now that we know what intuitive eating is not…what the heck is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is a non-diet, health at every size approach to health and eating developed by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND, in 1995. Intuitive eating encourages individuals of all body sizes and shapes to stop basing food choices off of external rules and regulations, and start listening to internal cues, such as hunger + fullness levels, food preferences and cravings, and the satisfaction factor.
Although intuitive eating has recently gained popularity as “the end goal” in the eating disorder recovery community, intuitive eating isn’t just for individuals with a history of an eating disorder. Intuitive eating is for everyone! In fact, we are all born as intuitive eaters. Babies and young children are good at listening to what their bodies need, and generally eat until they are physically satisfied and stop when they are full. There may be days where they eat more, and there may be days when they eat less. But overall, young children know what to do with food, what they like to eat, what makes them feel good and how to take care of their bodies, until that intuition is disrupted.
If you are a living, breathing human being living in diet culture, it’s HIGHLY likely that you have experienced things that have disrupted your ability to eat intuitively, including everything from subtle early childhood rules (i.e. clean your plate, the kitchen is closed after 7:00 PM, no snacks before diner, dessert ONLY if you finish your meal, etc.) to blatant diet culture rules (fad diets, good + bad foods, restriction of certain foods / food groups, etc. Food insecurity, trauma, and nutrition-related chronic illnesses, among other things can also interfere with intuitive eating.
Intuitive Eating takes the focus off of external food rules and directs your gaze inward to what your body really wants + needs (and how it feels) without rules, regulations, and dieting. With Intuitive Eating, there are no foods that are off limits. This frees you and I up from “getting it wrong” or messing up. No more guilt, shame, or condemnation w/food. IE is essentially going back and learning how to eat without the influence of our families, diet culture, or anyone else telling us what or how to do things!
So… how does this work exactly? Over the next few weeks we will explore the 10 principles of intuitive eating and how to practically apply them to your life! Yay for intuitive eating and food freedom!
In the mean time, if you’re interested in doing some of your own work around Intuitive Eating, check out these resources:
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