From the Keto diet to intermittent fasting, this year has seen a number of diet and fitness trends that have taken the world by storm. Many are singing their praises, some aren’t that impressed and others are yet to give them a try. But amongst all these diets and eating plans, the trend of intuitive eating stood out the most! You may have heard of the term and might wonder what the buzz is about. It’s unique in the sense that it’s not a diet plan – it’s a nutritional philosophy of eating. Read on as we try to figure out the fitness world’s newest thing!
What Is Intuitive Eating?
Unlike other eating plans, intuitive eating isn’t specifically designed for weight loss purposes. Its main focus, instead, is to holistically improve your mental and physical well-being. It rejects traditional dieting and endorses the idea of following your body’s hunger cues — eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. A lot of you may think this isn’t anything revolutionary, but for many it is. The idea behind intuitive dieting is to make you more familiar with and trust your body, which, thanks to the diet culture, has become quite impossible. Intuitive eating is based on 10 core principles:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honour your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Respect your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Honour your feelings without using food
- Respect your body
- Exercise — feel the difference
- Honour your health
How To Practice Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating can help you overcome a lot, whether you’re suffering from an eating disorder or just trying to understand your eating habits. And, bonus, it’s much easier than following a crash diet! Here are some tips that’ll help you practice it successfully:
1. Know The Difference Between Physical And Emotional Hunger
To follow intuitive dieting, the first step is to distinguish between your physical and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is your body’s urge to be replenished with nutrients. A growling stomach, irritability and fatigue are some of the signals of physical hunger. Emotional hunger, on the other hand, is driven by an emotional need. You may not be hungry but still eat to overcome feelings such as sadness, loneliness, stress or boredom. With intuitive eating, only eat when you’re physically hungry!
2. Start Using A Hunger And Fullness Scale
Two of the most important principles of intuitive eating are honouring your hunger and respecting your fullness. Many people struggle to understand when they’re hungry and when they’re comfortably full. To identify your hunger pattern, take the help of a hunger and fullness scale. This tool will help you keep a check on the variations in your hunger levels. Check in with yourself before you start a meal, when you’re halfway through a meal and when you finish eating. This will make you more aware of how your body feels at different levels of hunger.
3. Practice Mindful Eating
Don’t let distractions affect your eating habits. Be aware of what you’re eating, why you’re eating and how you’re eating. Keep your speed slow, be fully present when having your meal and enjoy your food. Stay away from all distraction – keep your phone away, turn off the TV and avoid eating on your work desk. Practicing mindful eating can help you feel your fullness and be more satisfied with your meal.
4. Eat Consistently
Most of us have meals after long gaps, which makes us hungrier and leads to overeating. Having small snacks every now and then will keep you from eating too much at once. Try to have a snack every 3 to 4 hours comprising of protein, fibre and fat – nuts are the best option!
5. Stop Labelling Food As Good Or Bad
It’s common for us to categorise certain foods as good and bad. This is because of years of believing in diet talk. The moment you think about eating something, your mind automatically monitors whether it’s good or bad! While some foods are more nutritious than others, strictly eliminating certain foods and food groups from your diet forever can do more harm than good. Intuitive eating wants you to make peace with all food.
6. Accept Your Body
A crucial aim of intuitive eating is to promote body positivity. The moment you start loving your body and stop chasing that so-called ‘perfect’ figure, you won’t need any of these fad diets. You’ll start to eat to nourish your body and stay healthy rather than achieve an unrealistic fitness goal. And that’s how it should be!