Like all things in life, balance is key. Especially when it comes to eating. There are so many diets to choose from these days it can be hard to find the right one for you. Personally, restricting myself to certain foods can be quite difficult. Soon as my first craving arises, I find myself giving up on the diet and falling back into old habits. For me intuitive eating meant that I could have my cake and eat it too and if there is one thing you need to know about me, it is I love cake! Intuitive eating essentially allowed me to follow a healthy diet without compromising.
Why Eat Intuitively?
Being a Gen Z kid my relationship with Instagram is a complicated one. Growing up in the age of social media, we don’t know anything different. But it cannot be denied that constantly seeing influencers with Photo shopped bodies can create unrealistic expectations of what my body should look like. One of the reasons intuitive eating appeals to me is that it promotes a healthy attitude towards food and body image. Food is not the enemy but indeed a friend!
How Do I Eat Intuitively?
Intuitive eating is about being present and 100 per cent focused on your food when you eat. No distractions. It does not restrict or punish you like traditional diets and gives you enough space to become an expert on your own body. It teaches you to recognise when you’re full, allows you to appreciate the plate of goodness in front of you, and removes the guilt factor of eating. This means tuning in, trusting and listening to your body.
Here are some of my top tips to eating intuitively:
- Trust your body – your body will give you signals such as a rumbling stomach, feeling tired or you might be feeling hangry (hungry + angry)!
- Differentiate between when you are actually hungry and when you are eating emotionally – learn more about emotional eating in this article.
- Be grateful – food is a gift. It gives our heart, hormones, brain and cells the nutrients they needs to function.
- Stop when you are full – your body gives you signals when you are hungry and when you are full, so listen to it. If you find yourself trying to finish everything on your plate even when you are full, save that food for another time.
- Food is not the enemy – focus on choosing foods that will nourish your body.
- ‘Your body is a temple’ – don’t put pressure on yourself to look a certain way, instead appreciate everything your body does for you.
- Trust the process – you can’t expect instantaneous changes so ride the wave and remember that being healthy is a journey not a destination.
Studies have shown that participants who have been eating intuitively have improved self-esteem, less depression and anxiety, better quality of life and body image. As well as, improved retention rates than people following a diet. This means people are more likely to stick with choosing the ‘right’ foods for longer periods of time compared to those that chop and change between fad diets.
By Pooja Depala