by Caitlin H,
July 24, 2023
Remember when you were a little kid, and you ate when you were hungry and stopped when you were full? Even if you faced challenges around food, like temptations from sweets or rules about finishing everything on your plate, there was a time when your body told you what it wanted to eat and how much — and you listened.
That’s the core message of intuitive eating, a method that dates back to 1995 but has recently gained momentum in mainstream healthy living culture.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of intuitive eating and provide tips on how to do it. Read on to learn why this approach may be just what you need to reach your full potential for healthy living!
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is a science-backed method of healthy eating where you learn to tune into your internal cues to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It’s a healthy approach that involves healing your relationship with food so you can achieve greater levels of physical and mental health.
Is There Science Behind Intuitive Eating?
Yes! Researchers have conducted more than 100 studies In this method, finding individuals who identify as intuitive eaters tend to have lower body mass indices (BMI) and disordered eating patterns.
What are the benefits?
The numerous studies conducted on intuitive eating have found a positive correlation between the method and physical and mental health including:
- Lower BMI: body mass index, standard weight measurement).
- Lower triglycerides: associated with a lower risk of stroke.
- Lower total cholesterol and LDL: low-density lipoprotein — the “bad” cholesterol that contributes to a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
- Higher HDL: high-density lipoproteins — the “good” cholesterol that removes other cholesterol from your bloodstream.
- Lower cases of eating disorders.
- Superior cases positive body image and self-esteem.
How can I practice intuitive eating?
Ditch the fad diet. Fad diets have long been a part of American culture. (We wrote a fascinating article here exploring the last 100 years of fad diets.) Here’s the thing: They rarely work long-term. That’s because they often involve restricting yourself from the foods you love and following rules that aren’t sustainable. Additionally, if you restrict yourself too much, your body may not get the nutrients it needs, making it even more impossible to keep doing it.
Eat when your body tells you it’s time. Your body knows when you’re hungry and will send you the signals to let you know — whether it’s low energy or a grumbling stomach. The moment you get a cue, choose different foods that make you feel good. Waiting will likely lead you to eat whatever is convenient (healthy or not) and may cause you to consume much more than you should.
Eat carefully. When you are waiting to eat, you will probably eat quickly and this leaves you no time to enjoy the food. Mindful eating involves slowing down and being present in the moment, allowing yourself to enjoy every taste, smell and texture. This will also train your mind to pay more attention to your body so you know when you are full.
Stop eating when you are satisfied. Use mindful eating to check in with your body as you enjoy your food. Notice your hunger level and the moment you are full, stop eating.
Choose foods you like. Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy, focus on eating foods that provide flavor and health needs. Try mixing it yourself! If you eat cereal for breakfast, choose a salad or fruit to include at lunch. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. If you are sluggish and tired, it may be because you need to choose more nutritious foods. If you are energetic and sharp, great! Your food choices may have played a role in this!
Tune into your feelings (and respect them). Feelings like loneliness, sadness, boredom, stress and anger are real. And you may find yourself turning to food to help fill the gap. But eating just because you’re having a bad day isn’t going to solve the problem. Instead, practice mental wellness tactics like journaling, exercise, or meditation. If you’re still struggling or it seems to be a persistent problem, talk to a professional who can help.
Intuitive eating removes the need to count calories and fat and asks you to focus on learning how to be in tune with your body.
This can be difficult, especially if you are not familiar with the practice. Diet-to-Go believes in a common sense approach to healthy eating. Our meals are chef crafted, nutritionally balanced and portion size controlled. Our goal is to help educate you on how to eat right without cutting back on the things you love. If you need help getting started with intuitive eating, we’ll deliver meals right to your door to let your mind go.
See the nutrition plans here.
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about connecting with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key and people will have the most success losing weight if they engage in common sense healthy eating and fitness.