The intuitive eating movement is a fight against eating disorders, against food shaming, and against the diet culture.
The Intuitive eating approach aims at healing people’s toxic relationship with food by promoting a healthy and satisfactory outlook for it.
This approach believes that there is no need for restrictive or excessive eating, which is usually done by people to reach their physical body goals. Intuitive eating focuses on the relationship between the mind and the intuitive need of the body.
This method is an evidence-based framework for self-care with more than 140 studies conducted to date.
Brief History Of The Intuitive Eating Movement
The term ‘intuitive eating’ was coined by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995 when they co-authored a book with the same title.
The basis of this concept goes even far back, to the ideas of thinkers like Susie Orbach and Geneen Roth who wrote extensively on topics like fat as a feminist issue and emotional eating.
In 1973 a weight management program founded by Thelma Wayler also promoted the belief that diets don’t work and that lifestyle changes and personal care is better for the long run.
Also Read: Why Do K-Pop Idols Go On Extreme Diets?
The Principles Of Intuitive Eating
To understand the concept of Intuitive Eating, we first need to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
Physical hunger is the biological need of the body to replenish energy by eating when our stomach makes noise or when we feel fatigued, it’s the body’s way of telling us that we need to eat.
Emotional hunger, on the other hand, is caused by emotional needs. Sadness, boredom, loneliness, stress lead to cravings and even overeating, which later causes more negative feelings.
To manage the cravings or to undo the extra calories people put themselves on a diet, do heavy exercises or fast.
This leads to a dissociation of food from bodily needs and food thus becomes something to be managed in order to look a certain way.
Intuitive eating breaks these chains and limitations on diet, it connects food positively to our bodily needs. It gives back the authority to our body’s needs. Unlike popular myth, it is not simply about eating whatever whenever we are hungry and stopping when we are full but it is an interplay of instinct, rational mind, and thought.
Intuitive eating is about bringing pleasure back to eating, and not with which we attach guilty feelings.
Intuitive eating is a weight-inclusive approach that leads us to trust our bodies. It is not a premeditated diet. It is a process of learning and engaging with ourselves, it is a process of becoming more self-aware.
Here are the ten principles or guideposts for intuitive eating:
1. Rejecting the diet mentality
Intentionally losing weight can be unsustainable in the long run and most diets are unhealthy and lead to poor mental health. The diet mentality and culture curbs are intuitive urges and disrupt bodily processes.
A badly maintained diet can do more harm than good. According to a ShissLak and Crago study of 1995, 35% of dieters progress into eating disorders, and 30-45% of those dieters progress into a full eating disorder.
According to the studies dieting in adolescents is also the most important predictor for eating disorders. The standards set by societies sometimes lead a perfectly healthy person to adopt unhealthy measures in order to lose weight. Weight loss is not always the healthier option.
2. Honoring your hunger
Hunger is a cue from our body, it is a sign that is biologically set. Our body needs the energy to function properly that is why we should not consider hunger as something to ignore.
Diet culture makes hunger an unpleasant experience whereas intuitive eating will make you embrace it. You honour the hunger with the right food and nutrition that your body needs, suppose you eat junk food when you feel hungry, your body will still give you signs if it lacks nutrition.
3. Making peace with food
The way we talk about food, the way we restrict ourselves from eating certain food mostly leads to deprivation and suppressed craving. Most diets fail because of these cravings.
4. Challenge the food police
Food police is the social conditioning done by years of living in this diet culture. Eating a whole pizza by yourself is not something to feel guilty about. Start questioning these beliefs, unlearn, rediscover food and renew the relationship.
5. Discovering the satisfaction
When you quench your thirst, you will feel good, because you give the body what it needs. Similarly, eating should also satisfy you-mentally, physically, emotionally- in the long run.
6. Feeling your fullness
Be aware of your body. Observe the body signals that tell you if you’re hungry or fatigued or in pain or full. Note when you’re comfortably full, note when you’re feeling energetic and pleasant after eating, note what made you feel bad. Reciprocate your body’s reaction.
7. Coping with your emotions with kindness
Dealing with your emotions means dealing with them directly. The coping mechanism, especially the negative ones can only ease the pain momentarily but make it worse in the long run. Find kind ways to cope with your emotions and solve your problems.
8. Respect your body
Accept your genetics. Don’t be overcritical and set unrealistic standards for your body to meet. Respect your body and give it the dignity it deserves.
This principle motivates you to just be active. If you can’t follow a strict exercise routine, then don’t. Just move your body daily, do some type of exercise and feel how it makes you feel more alive.
10. Honor your health
Make food choices that honour your taste buds as well as your health. You don’t have to be restrictively healthy. Eating junk food one day won’t make you unhealthy and eating healthy one day won’t make you fit.
It’s what you eat consistently. A balance between your taste buds and health. Progress is more important and realistic than perfection.
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