What is Intuitive Eating?
It basically brings you back to basics with food. It rejects ridiculous food rules like “you can’t eat carbs” or “you SHOULD only eat wholegrain bread, because eating white bread is bad” or “you can’t eat anything with added sugar”. Ultimately it helps you heal your relationship with food.
Personally, by practicing intuitive eating I have found a sense of mental clarity as I no longer waste my time counting calories or constantly thinking about food or over obsessing about whether or not, what I am eating is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for me - which is something I ironically found myself doing while studying at uni to be a dietitian. To be honest with you, it’s exhausting.
The intuitive eating space is largely female dominated at the moment, and this is because most females are familiar with feeling like we “should” be eating better, “should” be trying to lose weight to look good and that we “shouldn’t” be giving in to our cravings - all because this is what majority of female-oriented marketing is selling.
How do I know if exploring or practicing intuitive eating is right for me?
I would like you to consider the following. Are you are absolutely tired of dieting and food rules ? Are you desperate to find a sense of food freedom? Are you tired of obsessing about food and thinking about it constantly? If you answered yes to any of these, keep reading. I would now like you to think about whether or not you have ever thought, felt or done any of the following:
“UGH I have eaten way too much, I can’t believe I have done that. I have no willpower; I feel so disgusting.”
“On Monday, I’m going to start eating healthy and get back on track”
“I’m going to eat the rest of this chocolate so that way it’s not in the house anymore and I won’t be tempted to eat it when I kickstart my healthy eating on Monday”
“I have been so ‘good’ lately, I have been eating salads for lunch and lots of veggies for dinner”
“I should eat this salad wrap”
“I shouldn’t eat that burger and chips”
“I have been so good today - I didn’t eat the cake I was offered at morning tea”
“I have been so good today - so I deserve to eat this cake”
Although some of these statements are more subtle than others, all of these examples are a result of what dieting or society has taught us our whole lives. These are all little things that we have been conditioned to believe; That chocolate and cakes are ‘bad’ and salads and fruit are ‘good’. Realistically thinking, if we break this down, it doesn’t make sense to think of food in such a reductionist way. You don’t have to earn your food. You are not a bad person for enjoying sweets, much like you are not necessarily a good person for eating a salad. Chocolate didn’t sleep with your husband. Cake didn’t rob a bank.
This kind of mentality and inherit belief that we SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be eating a certain way makes it reaaaaally difficult to eat. Rather than actually focusing on what foods make us feel good, or how much food we actually need to satisfy our hunger or cravings, we waste our time focusing on all of these external things that don’t actually matter and it makes it much messier.
An intuitive eater is someone who has food freedom, they can eat without experiencing guilt or shame, they honour their hunger and respect their body when they start to feel full, all while giving themselves full permission to enjoy pleasurable foods as well as foods that feel right in their body.
So it sounds like intuitive eating is right for me, what next?
Be careful of the internet!!
While a lot of people are well-intentioned, there are a lot of intuitive eating programs and pieces of advice floating around that are actually diets in disguise, which is entirely counter intuitive to practising intuitive eating. Try to read blogs and resources that are written by accredited practicing dietitian’s that are trained and well-read in this space.
We offer free 15 minute consultations with our non-diet Dietitian at Total Balance. Why not take the plunge and do something for you? With summer around the corner, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we need to start a diet. Come and have a chat about how we can help you achieve food freedom so you have more time, energy and brain power to focus on the things in life that actually matter!