Intuitive eating is exactly what it sounds like, eating instinctively! Living in our modern-day fast-paced society, our culture has lost its ability to tap into their intuition when eating. Americans have become numb to the eating process as a whole. In this blog, I describe three ways in which intuitive eating has remained my personal philosophy and how I have made it stick living in present-day society.
First Off, What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating can be defined as a specific kind of eating method that encourages a healthy relationship with food. It promotes the idea to stop looking at food as either “bad” or “good” and focuses on honoring hunger cues. Intuitive eating requires a person to trust their hunger signals and not deprive themselves. People who eat intuitively should look at eating as an experience and enjoy the whole process of this while honoring hunger cues and recognizing fullness.
Americans are always on the move and thrive off of a fast-paced lifestyle. We all crave quick fixes and fast results when it comes to almost everything and that’s where intuitive eating leaves the picture and fad diets come into the picture. Fad diets promote quick results and look at everyone in a cookie-cutter form. Because of this, fad diets can put pressure, blame and shame onto yourself which can lower self image and esteem. In contrast, Intuitive eating consciously builds trust in yourself and helps you lean into your bio-individual needs.
The first way I have made intuitive eating a part of my lifestyle is learning to trust myself completely. This goes beyond just trusting myself with food choices but trusting your body in terms of food is an amazing place to start leaning into your body, connecting the mind with the physical and leaning into your intuition.
In terms of food choices this looks like honoring my hunger, feeling my fullness and making peace with food. We are constantly bombarded with contrary information and distractions that make it hard to focus on ourselves intuitively.
In the information age, we are constantly questioning if we are eating the healthiest we can be, if what we are doing is wrong, or if we should be trying the latest quick-fix fad diet. This constant flux of information can create distrust when we try these diets and don’t get the desired outcome. With intuitive eating, the focus is not on external factors or a set of rules. Rather, it is to focus on ourselves and our bio-individual needs.
Lean Into Your Intuition
Intuitive eating allows us to lean into our intuition and trust our own body again. Intuitive eating helps keep me in the space of fully trusting myself. So how do you start trusting your own body again? When you need to eat, eat. This honors your biological signals and begins to put you back in a mindset of trusting your own needs.
In addition, as backwards as it may sound, allowing your body to eat what it’s craving creates trust within yourself. Deprivation can lead to an unhealthy cycle of unhealthy binging which can create extreme distrust. If you start to trust yourself, your body will honor you for this.
Eating as an Experience
When we eat, we must look at eating as an experience and not a necessity. Not only does this help us eat more intuitively and create trust within ourselves, but it also brings more positivity to eating, helps our digestion, and overall connection to food. Our ancestors held a deep connection with the food they prepared as they were involved in the whole process of hunting or gathering it, preparing it, and eating it.
In American society, we have lost this connection due to the rise of big food, convenience food, and living in the information age and a fast-paced society. In addition, one of the biggest culprits that takes away from the eating experience is diet culture. While diet culture pretends to be about wellbeing, it really sets you up for failure by keeping you in a cycle that causes harm and conditions you to relate to food in a negative way.
So how can we treat eating as more of an experience and connect more with our food? First, try shopping at your local farmers market. This will give you a better relationship with food by seeing the processing of it first hand! In addition, connecting to the people who were a part of growing the food gives you a better appreciation.
Find Joy In Cooking
Second, try taking time to prepare your food. While there’s nothing wrong with resorting to a frozen meal on occasion, when we don’t prepare our food we miss out on the experience of cooking. Putting something in the microwave and pressing a button if anything disconnects us with food. If possible, try to make preparing a meal a priority while making it an enjoyable experience. Consider finding a favorite recipe, shopping for some of the ingredients at the farmers market, pouring yourself a glass of wine that pairs well with it and enjoy the process! Smell what you’re making, stir the flavors together, and wait in anticipation for the meal to be done.
Lastly, try to savor what you’re eating. Not only is this beneficial for your digestive system and gut health but it further connects you with the meal you prepared and makes it that much more special. Taking time to eat your food can take you from a place of mindless eating to mind-full eating.
Honoring My Health
Honoring my health is probably how I have made intuitive eating stick the most. I physically and mentally feel so much better when I eat more nutrient- dense and home cooked meals. This doesn't mean I can’t have a slice of pie or cookie once in a while but eating in a more healthful way makes me feel so much better. I choose to put myself first when it comes to health. Making food choices that honor my health and taste buds while making me feel well, is crucial.
Eating healthfully shouldn’t be a punishment or a chore or something that you must do 24/7. But, eating nutrient-dense foods should feel good, both physically and emotionally compared to eating processed convenience foods. Eating quality whole foods is key. Not only does eating this way make you feel better physically and mentally but it further helps you to be more in tune with your body. When eating a nutrient-dense diet is a pleasurable experience and it makes you feel better, you will be more likely to continue honoring your health with your food choices.
To Sum it All Up
Intuitive eating is a realistic way to honor your health, reconnect with yourself and honor your individual needs. Banishing the food police, excessive information and diet culture allows you to make peace with yourself and food. American society has become obsessed with quick fix diets and numbed to eating as an experience. But, intuitive eating helps to bring back the connection we have with food and further reconnects us with it in a beautiful way to honor ourselves. If you want to connect with a nutrition coach to help you along the way, sign up for Vessel now for unlimited access to nutrition coaches, daily lesson plans & activities while monitoring your health metrics!
Kaylee Noland See all the author’s articles