Marisa HeinzeAugust 4, 2022
Intuitive eating: what it is and how it works
Lose weight the healthy way with the help of mindfulness. That is what the nutritional principle of intuitive eating promises. In this article you will learn what this principle is all about, how you can learn to eat intuitively and how it can positively influence you and your life in a holistic way.
What is intuitive eating?
With intuitive eating, you pay attention to your body signals and only eat when you actually feel hungry. You can eat anything you want. It doesn't matter whether the food you eat is considered healthy or unhealthy. The only thing that matters, is that you feel like eating it. You will never overeat. When you are full, the meal is finished. You learn to balance your body and mind and eat in a way that is right for your body. In the long term, this will help you reach your feel-good weight.
Learning to eat intuitively
Babies naturally eat intuitively. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Most people unlearn this ability over time. However, you can regain it and learn to eat intuitively by paying attention to the following 10 points.
1. You are not dieting
Intuitive eating is not about dieting. Don't tell yourself what to do or feel bad if you think you've eaten too much or the wrong thing. It's about feeling good about yourself.
2. No food is your enemy
Stop dividing food into healthy and unhealthy. Eat what you are hungry for. Food should bring you pleasure, make you feel better, and taste good.
3. No regrets
Put away your guilty conscience after eating food that is considered unhealthy in our society.
4. The satisfaction factor is crucial
Your food should not only fill you up but make you happy. Make sure you only eat things that make you happy.
5. Accept your body
Learning to eat intuitively is not just about eating a certain way, but about achieving a holistic satisfaction with yourself.
6. Pay attention to your health
You can only rely on your body signals if you are healthy.
7. Pay attention to your hunger signals
Always eat when you are hungry. It does not matter how long it has been since your last meal. However, ask yourself if another need is triggering your appetite. For example, frustration or thirst can also trigger hunger-like feelings.
8. Listen to your satiety signals
As you eat, look inside, and ask yourself if you are already full. If you already feel full, it is too late. A pleasant feeling of fullness is better. Finish your meal even if your plate is not empty.
9. Refrain from emotional eating
Many people resort to eating when they feel emotions such as anger, sadness, and joy. Don't reward or punish yourself with food but find other ways to release your emotions.
10. Do regular exercise to feel good
Sport is also an important pillar in learning to eat intuitively. However, exercise is not for burning calories, but for working out, relieving stress, and strengthening your body.
Ask yourself lots of questions
Especially when you start eating intuitively, you need to train your mindset. To do this, regularly ask yourself questions about your eating behaviour.
- Before eating, ask yourself if you are in fact hungry and if so, what you are hungry for. Ask yourself if you are only reaching for this food out of habit.
- While you are eating, think about whether you are really enjoying the meal and whether what you are eating tastes good. Always check if you are already full.
- After eating, it is useful to reflect on how satisfying the meal was for you and what feelings it evoked in you.
Strengthen your general self-perception
Good self-awareness is the basis of intuitive eating. You can strengthen your self-awareness with meditation. A general diary can also help you to get to know and understand yourself better.
"Getting thin" is not the goal
Intuitive eating is not about losing weight. In the long run, you will reach a weight that is naturally ideal for your physique, and it does not have to be a beach figure. You have to be aware from the beginning that you need to learn to accept yourself and your needs.
5 tips to get you started
These five tips will make it easier for you to learn to eat intuitively.
1. Keep two diaries
In one diary you write down everything that moves and affects you currently. In a second diary you only go into detail about your diet. This way you can better reflect on why you eat what you eat.
2. Always concentrate fully on your meal
Don't leave the radio or TV on while you eat. Don't distract yourself with your smartphone. Just pay attention to your body's signals.
3. Establish a “me-time”
Take time to do something alone more often. Do something that feels good for you, as it will help you to get to know yourself better and faster.
4. Do a sport you enjoy
Sport helps you to feel your body and relieve stress, therefore preventing emotional eating. It is important that you enjoy your sport and feel good about it.
5. Find the causes of emotional eating
If you tend to manage emotions with food, consider why your outlet is food and how you can better manage your feelings in the future.
The benefits of intuitive eating
Intuitive eating can have a positive impact on many areas of your life. We have collected some examples for you here:
- You will have more desire for "healthy" food.
- You will go through life more relaxed.
- You will take better care of yourself in other areas.
- Your general health will improve.
- You lose weight at the same time.
Conclusion: intuitive eating
Intuitive eating means relying on your feelings of hunger and fullness. Even though for many the main goal is to lose weight, it is by no means a diet. Rather, it is about changing one's eating behaviour in the long term in a way that is best for one's own body.
An intuitive diet can be learned. Essentially, it involves shedding all learned beliefs about dieting and practising self-reflection. Feeling good in all circumstances is the ultimate goal of intuitive eating. To orientate oneself according to one's needs has a positive effect on physical as well as mental health.