Follow these simple intuitive eating principles for greater health, happiness, and peace of mind.
The first step towards a mindful life is being mindful and being fully aware of what you put inside your body. What we eat determines how we feel and look, so we need to be fully aware of where our food comes from, what we eat, how we eat, and how much we eat.
Being present in the moment while eating helps us understand our body and eating needs, based on which we can create a mindful eating plan if required. It also helps us manage our cravings.
Table of Contents
I. How to Manage Cravings?- The Art of Intuitive Eating
Step 1: Delay- Wait for about 10 minutes before you eat and pay attention to what’s on your plate.
Step 2: Distract- Keep yourself occupied with an activity that requires your attention.
Step 3: Distance- Don’t keep food handy at all times and within easy reach.
Step 4: Determine- Establish how important it is for you to eat this food. Carry out the really, really test: Do I really, really want to eat this food? If your answer is Yes. Then accordingly, you can move on to step number five.
Step 5: Decide- Settle on appropriate portion size. Figure out what you are craving to eat: is it something salty? Or how about something Sweet? Or Sour? Hot Chocolate? A Cold Ice-cream maybe? Creamy Pasta? Crunchy snack bar? etc. So, make sure to accordingly, portion out the food.
Step 6: Understand its side effects- The final step is to understand how does this food is going to affect your body, in the short or long term. And then accordingly, eat the appropriate amount and eat slowly.
Note: Always enjoy your food and never forget your workout session after eating a lot of junk food.
II. Understand the Differences between Physical Hunger Versus Emotional Hunger
- Biological response to low energy reserves
- Appears gradually after several hours without food
- No need to eat immediately
- Disappears with any kind of food that has enough calories
- No negative feelings after a meal
- Response to a feeling
- Appears suddenly, not depending on when you ate
- Need to eat right now
- The emotional hunger often doesn’t disappear with just any food that has sufficient calories to make you full
- Negative feelings appear after each meal, like guilt and shame
III. Intuitive Eating Principles
Tired of dieting? These principles of intuitive/Mindful Eating were first developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch after a few of their clients grew tired of the pitfalls of dieting. Later on, some researchers and nutritionists picked up this concept, and to date, there are about five million studies that highlight the key benefits of intuitive/mindful eating on one’s overall health outcomes.
So, if you are new to intuitive eating, the following principles are often considered a great place to start.
(Related: Mindful Eating Versus Fad Diets)
1. Reject the diet mentality
Say no to extravagant fad diets and, also to the rigid rules around eating.
2. Honor your hunger
Keep your body fed with adequate calories. Don’t ignore your hunger cues.
3. Make peace with food
Restriction often leads to overeating, so permit yourself to eat all foods.
4. Challenge the food police
Stop comparing your worth to the “good” or “bad” food you ate today.
5. Respect your fullness
Tune in to your body’s signals for the fullness. A hunger scale is usually considered the best tool that can also help you listen to your hunger cues and then accordingly, help you to avoid that overeating and over-stuffed feeling.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor
Food is an experience that is meant to be nourishing, joyful, and satisfying for everyone- but only if we let it be!
7. Honor your feelings without food
Find ways to comfort without food. Call and talk to your family members or maybe try calling a dearest friend or, how about taking a relaxing bath with a bunch of scented candles.
8. Respect your body
Learn to accept your body by remembering your worth, as it does not increase as your size decreases.
9. Exercise: Feel the difference
Any kind of workout or exercise doesn’t only count or give you results when it is done at the gym, so consider working out wherever you are comfortable. A walk with your pet dog is also considered a great workout.
10. Honor your health
Anti-diet is not anti-health. Always choose green and nutrient-dense foods, while also allowing for some indulgences without any judgment or guilt.
Remember that intuitive eating is a practice, and it takes time to master. So, if you are serious about your health, you can work with a registered dietitian to help turn these intuitive eating principles into long-term skills.
(Also Read: Achieving Optimum Well-Being with Mindful Eating)