I’ve been confused about what intuitive eating is. I thought I got the hang of it: eat what you want, when you want it and say ‘no’ when you are full? Right? According to an Intuitive Eating site this is what it is:
Intuitive Eating is an approach developed to help people heal from the side effects of chronic dieting. ... An intuitive eater is defined as a person who “makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honors hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”
After reading that very brief explanation, I realised I got it somewhat wrong. I take pleasure in my food but often feel guilt. I used to use exercise as a form of punishment and then restrict my calorie intake- only to binge secretly on food later. I hated the way I looked (I have now come to a point of acceptance and even really love certain body parts I would not live without). But what is this Intuitive Eating all about? I’m going to look into it for anyone who has ever at any point felt somewhat confused, like myself.
Alright! So I found a link that gives us the ten principles of intuitive eating. Let’s break it down so we really know what this is. Yes, we are discovering this together!
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
Okay, so from what I read it tells me to let go of the images in magazines- check. Get angry at the lies that have led me to this point- double check! Stop allowing hope that a new and better diet is lurking around the corner for me to try. This is sounding easy!
2. Honour Your Hunger
We must keep our bodies fed. If not, we could trigger the primal fear to overeat. Remember, we come from primates and when food was scarce and then magically appeared, we gorged like it was our birth right to do so. Who knows when next we get to eat, right?! We must honour our hunger- alright, I won’t lie. I have been honouring my emotions and not much else.
3. Make Peace with Food
As I read this I silently chanted ‘I am one with food. Food is not my enemy’. You may laugh, but its true. This principle urges us to call a truce with food and give ourselves permission to eat. I give myself permission to eat all the time, even in secret. So, how might this work for little ol’ me? I felt the intense guilt of giving into foods in the past, now I just EAT. I hope the next few principles get better.
4. Challenge the Food Police
Ooohh, this sounds interesting! This principle starts with saying ‘Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake’. Okay look, I like the idea, but I won’t scream out loud. I would make people worried, I would scream every day, all day. But perhaps this is what it takes though. Granted, we all have been brainwashed about food and diets, that perhaps, if we stopped the Food Police that we have come to know, that has built its own identity in our minds, we could forgo the rules set out for and by us, and have kinder “rules” about how to treat food. I think I’ll whisper this ‘no’, but I like the idea of physically stopping yourself from eating food or having “good” food.
5. Respect Your Fullness