5 Reasons To Stop Dieting And Try Intuitive Eating
Unlike restrictive diets, intuitive eating encourages people to eat whatever they want, making it a more sustainable approach to controlling food intake in the long run.
Traditional, restrictive diets are usually focused on just weight loss and often result in yo-yo dieting and a negative body image. So why continue? Although it sounds like a new fad, intuitive eating has been around since the 90’s when two dieticians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, released Intuitive Eating, a book written to help individuals reject the diet mentality and instead make peace with food while creating a healthy body image.
Here are five key benefits to intuitive eating:
1. You start listening to your body
Intuitive eating simply means that you eat intuitively, eating all foods, rather than labelling some as good and others as bad. You listen to your body and eat what feels right for you. A common myth about intuitive eating is that it’s a lazy excuse for eating whatever you want, whenever you want. In truth, it’s about choosing foods that satisfy both your health needs and your taste buds, so that the body feels good and is nutritionally-energised at the same time. This intuitive approach encourages people to be in tune with their internal body signals, and not be dictated by the number on a weighing scale.
2. Intuitive eating isn’t meant to be a method for weight loss
Since intuitive eating isn’t about restricting foods, evidence shows that intuitive eaters are happier, more satiated people, and tend to have lower BMIs and better mental health. Not hard to believe when you think about it. By enjoying your food more, you stop battling your cravings, eat healthier and have a healthier, sustainable relationship with your body and food. Intuitive eaters are less-likely to weight-cycle and have yo-yo dieting experiences, resulting in them typically staying the same body weight, while having less anxiety towards food, and fewer body image concerns and eating disorders.
3. Mindfulness is a principle of intuitive eating
Trying to ignore a craving and swap it for something healthy doesn’t work for too long, often resulting in binge-eating later. Mindful eating is one of the chief pillars behind intuitive eating, which allows people to start developing a healthier relationship with food by asking these two questions before every bite, “Do I really want to eat this?” and “Will I enjoy this more now or later?”
If the answer is “yes” to both questions, intuitive eating says to go ahead and eat guilt free. The idea is simple - if you’re not craving something ‘forbidden’, then the appeal and longing for it fades, meaning that food doesn’t have control over your life, giving you a better mental relationship with it.
4. Eating only when you’re hungry
Another main principle of intuitive eating is relying on internal hunger and satiety cues. Unlike diets where you often have to eat certain foods at certain times, learn to trust your body and give yourself permission to eat when it lets you know you’re hungry, eating a variety of foods to make sure you get the nutrients you need. Intuitive eating encourages people to honour their health by choosing the right foods for their body, because it’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
5. The aim is to be happy and full
As with mindful eating, take the time to savour your food. When you eat, pause frequently to check in with your body, thinking about how the food tastes and assess how hungry you still are. When you’re able to eat what you really want, in a relaxed environment, the pleasure you derive can be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content, making you feel fuller with less food.
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