Is Intuitive Eating the Future of Better Health & Weight Management?

At some point, we’ve all tried to jump on some dietary bandwagon – no matter how simple or complex. Atkins, Keto or even simply wincing every time someone mentions “cake” – we’ve tried it all, but has it worked? Once the “what the hell” effect wears off, we either end up cheating, giving up or telling ourselves we’ll start over from the first of the next month. Can you relate? Well, if you can’t you’re lying! Diets, owing to their restrictive nature, put us at the mercy of an all-or-nothing mindset, which sets us up to fail. Intuitive Eating, on the other hand, encourages you to tune into your body’s needs.

So, what is Intuitive Eating?

Founded by dieticians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole in 1995, Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based approach that involves going back to the way humans were naturally born to eat. By nature, human beings eat when they are hungry and stop when full owing to innate physical cues. No food groups, quantities or timings are off-limits. Humans weren’t meant to track macros, count calories or proportion their meals – instead listen to their body’s intuition of when, where, how and what they want to eat.

Intuitive eating

Intuitive Eating, at its core, involves meeting both psychological and physical needs as food both satiates the gut and the mind. It is rooted in the idea that individuals should be their own experts, pay attention to their physiological needs and mindfully cater to them in an intelligent and calculated manner. It challenges the norms of diets. If you tell yourself you cannot eat a cupcake, you will crave it all the more. On the contrary, being flexible helps you decide when you would like to. Not curbing cravings can help humans develop a healthier relationship with their food, in turn being kinder to their bodies and minds.

Can Intuitive Eating pave the way for smarter, healthier living?

While we obsess over thinner waists and bigger biceps, we lose touch with our natural instincts and sense of self. Intuitive Eating can be empowering as it helps humans go back to the grassroots of food, enjoy every meal and practice a healthier way of life. While diet culture has insidiously compelled us to think that thin equals fit, Intuitive Eating can help individuals look at their food consumption as a reflection of their willpower, gratitude and mood and listen to their bodies, instead of fighting with them.

What are the health benefits of Intuitive Eating?

Over a hundred research studies, and counting, evaluate the health benefits of intuitive eating. Some of the major ones include:

  • Lower cholesterol and LDL
  • Increased HDL
  • Higher self-esteem and self-satisfaction
  • Improved body image and confidence
  • Lower rates of eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorders

How does it work?

There are ten basic principles of Intuitive Eating.

  1. Reject the diet mentality
  2. Honour your hunger
  3. Make peace with food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Discover the satisfaction factor
  6. Respect your fullness
  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness
  8. Respect your body
  9. Joyful movement – feel the difference
  10. Honour your health

IE is great, BUT…

Intuitive Eating is not an excuse for over-indulging. There’s a fine line between catering to your body and exploiting it. While it encourages you to eat as you please, you have to be mindful about nutrition, exercise and drawing a line between satisfaction and gluttony. Wanting and needing – not the same thing.

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