With so many new diets making headlines every few weeks, there is a lot of conflicting information out there on what to eat and what not to eat. If you’re feeling confused by the sheer number of different diets out there, all with the same promise of helping you lose weight, well, welcome to the club!
However there is one diet out there that claims to be more beneficial than the rest. Intuitive eating – which can be considered a healthy eating approach rather than just a diet – was founded by Evelyn Tribole, and Elyse Resch in the 1990’s and has only recently gained popularity in the health and fitness community.
The founders have published several books and research papers showing the benefits of intuitive eating for healthy mind and body. They recently added another book to their line of publication called The Intuitive Eating Workbook which stresses on eating freely, but mindfully, instead on going on on/off cycles of restrictive dieting which is only a short-term weight loss solution.
According to the book, this unique eating philosophy is made up of 10 core principles. Here is an overview of all of them.
Get Out of the Diet Mentality
Restrictive diets aren’t sustainable and don’t offer any long-term benefits which is why the first and most important principle of the intuitive eating philosophy is to stop dieting and give yourself more freedom to enjoy food.
To get out of the diet mentality, throw away any quick-fix meal plan that promises weight loss or dictates your lifestyle. Instead, embrace your body’s natural hunger and satiation cues that will guide you towards maintaining a healthy relationship with food.
Pay Attention to Hunger Cues
One of the reasons diets don’t work is because they often promote under-eating and restricting calories which leaves you feeling hungry and deprived.
This may help you lose weight temporarily only at the expense of increased risk of overeating and binging down the road. Intuitive eating teaches you to respect your body’s hunger cues and eat instinctively until you feel satisfied.
Honor the Food
No food is forbidden or off-limits as long as you’re eating mindfully. Instead of restricting yourself to certain foods, give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever you – which may seem like a recipe for binge-eating – but once you learn to respect your body, it almost never plays out this way.
Ignore Anti-Food Voices
There may be a voice in your head that constantly tells you to eat fewer calories or avoid certain foods like desserts. It is simply the voice that has been reinforced by the society and its obsession with being skinny. Learning to ignore this critical voice will allow you to develop a healthy relationship with food and not feel guilty after eating.
Eat Until You’re Full
While it’s important to listen to your hunger cues, it is equally important to stop eating when you feel comfortably full. You can take a break while eating and ask yourself if your body still needs more food or are you simply eating out of boredom or stress.
Eat for Satisfaction
You don’t necessarily need donuts and pizzas to feel satisfied. Focusing on simple things like the texture and taste of the food as well as the environment you’re eating in. Remove all distractions during mealtime and focus on the plate of food in front of you to get the true satisfaction out of eating.
Don’t Use Food to Overcome Emotions
Use food for fuel, not to overcome negative emotions. Most people develop an unhealthy relationship with food because they see it as a tool for overcoming sadness, anxiety or boredom. If you feel like you need food to suppress any emotions simply distract yourself with other activities that give you the same joy as eating.
Respect Your Body
Intuitive eating isn’t just an eating approach but also a way to respect your body for what it is and not striving for an unrealistic image that simply isn’t possible with your genetic blueprint. This lifestyle doesn’t teach to lose weight or become skinny, but instead, gives you a handbook for enjoy a healthy, happy life free of any restrictions.
Exercise More Often
Supplement this eating approach with an enjoyable physical activity that you can perform every day without getting bored – this doesn’t necessarily require going to the gym or spending hours and hours on the cardio machine to burn the maximum amount of fat.
The benefits of exercising regularly are greater than even the best diet or eating plan. It can strengthen your heart, increase muscle mass and improve your mental health.