Intuitive eating and your guide to understand all you need to know about it
Have you ever focused on how many times do you mention food daily? A lot, right?
There is no doubt that we all love food, in addition to the fact that food is the main source of energy that allows us to perform our daily activities, food is also a source of happiness to most of us.
Although the human body still needs the same amount of food it used to need in the past, however, in the present time, our relationship with food is completely different.
If you want to know the default relationship with food, look at babies or animals; creatures who are not affected by society changes.
You will find that they just eat when they are hungry, and stop eating when they are full, as simple as that, this is what we call intuitive eating.
What affected our relationship with food?
There are some factors that affected our relationship with food, these factors include:
1. Diet plans
But we can’t deny the fact that diet prevents you from eating whatever you want whenever you want.
It puts a lot of restrictions that you can’t break or otherwise you will ruin the whole idea of diet.
2. Special diets
A person who decides to follow a special diet is someone who decides to give up eating specific kinds of food for specific reasons.
These reasons may be religious, environmental or health reasons. Examples of special diets are:
- Vegetarian diet.
- Vegan diet.
- Ketogenic diet.
- Raw food diet.
- Zone diet.
To give an illustration, when someone decides to be a vegetarian because of being against killing animals or for avoiding health problems that may come from meat.
Then, they are going to stop eating meat even if they crave it, because they have set restrictions for themselves.
3. Society’s unrealistic standards of beauty
Unfortunately, everyone has been lately comparing themselves to models, celebrities and fashionistas.
Thus, they start setting unrealistic goals for themselves, as a result, they start decreasing their portions of food to a level that seriously harms them.
Even if they don’t really need diet plans or any kind of weight loss, they still aren’t satisfied with how they look just because it doesn’t meet their expectations of perfection.
People who are affected with these standards sometimes tend to dangerous and health threatening approaches just to reach the weight they are looking to.
For example: people who suffer from Bulemia, these people may make themselves throw up on purpose after they overeat, which is called purging.
Bulemia can result in fatigue, fainting, dry skin and heart problems.
Definition of intuitive eating
After we mentioned some of the reasons why people reduce their natural intake of food.
Also, as we mentioned that intuitive eating is eating whenever you feel hungry and ignoring any restrictions or rules.
We can conclude easily that definition of intuitive eating is:
Making food choices without experiencing any guilt or any ethical dilemma, honoring hunger, respecting fullness and enjoying the pleasure of eating.
A non-diet approach to health and wellness that helps you tone your body signals, break the cycle of chronic dieting and heal your relationship with food.
Intuitive eating vs Dieting
If you think that following intuitive eating is close to dieting, you are totally wrong, intuitive eating is almost the opposite of dieting.
Dieting requires following plans, taking calculated food decisions and obeying to a lot of rules.
On the contrary, intuitive eating doesn’t pay attention to all these conditions, but, even if you are on a diet, your body needs to rest for a period of time.
You should pay attention to what your body really needs for a while, and then you can continue dieting.
So, you are not right if you think that intuitive eating is a type of dieting or even related to it in any kind of way.
If intuitive eating isn’t a type of dieting, can it be another method to weight loss?
Honestly, no, intuitive eating’s goal isn’t to do changes to your weight.
It doesn’t care if you either gain or lose weight, however, it wants you to eat when you want to, regardless what will happen to your weight.
Even if you or someone you know lost weight after following intuitive eating, it is still not a rule.
So, you should differentiate between intuitive eating goals and dieting goals and understand that each one of them has its separate identity.
Is intuitive eating for everyone?
Intuitive eating is too simple in its nature, it is all about eating when you feel hungry as we discussed.
That’s why it also has no complications in categorizing people who want to follow it, anyone who wants to eat whenever they want can do it.
So, if we are talking in general, yes, it is for everyone, however, if we are talking in a more specific way, it is actually not for everyone.
Some people would be harmed if they decided to follow intuitive eating.
Imagine if a diabetic following intuitive eating craved sweets, he will just eat them because that is what the concept says, as a result, his health is going to be negatively affected.
2. People with different types of food allergies
Also, people suffering from these allergies around the world are too much, from these allergies:
- Milk allergy.
- Egg allergy.
- Peanut allergy.
- Soy allergy.
- Garlic allergy.
When a person suffering from one of these allergies feels like eating a certain meal.
If this meal is containing the food he is allergic to as one of its ingredients, intuitive eating will definitely not be good for him then.
3. People who perform certain sports and arts
People who are into sports like football or arts like ballet as a hobby or as a profession, are always committed to specific body standards.
So, eating whatever they want will probably affect their career, lifestyle and performance.
Therefore, they have to watch out the types and portions they eat, so, obviously, it is not for them.
Intuitive eating and overeating: are they same?
A lot of people wrongly confuse between intuitive eating and overeating, they think that by being intuitive eaters, then they necessarily have to overeat.
Even if it is true that intuitive eating requires eating what you want at anytime and not to do so much calculations.
However, it doesn’t mean that you should eat just for the idea of eating, but, you should eat when you’re hungry and when your body really needs it.
Simply, eat until you reach your level of satisfaction, so, don’t take intuitive eating as an excuse to your desire of overeating.
Is intuitive eating healthy?
If you thought about it, you might feel that intuitive eating is definitely unhealthy.
How can eating anything that comes to my mind at any time supposed to be healthy?
But, try to look at it from a different perspective, intuitive eating is just about paying attention to the signs your body is giving you and responding to its messages.
Also, from a psychological point of view: intuitive eating makes you happy and satisfied.
So, how would taking care of your physical and emotional needs be unhealthy?
What to expect from intuitive eating?
Results of intuitive eating are not actually materialistic results, it is not really going to do something to your weight, body shape or health.
However, it aims to fix your relationship with food and to put you in peace with it.
When you follow intuitive eating, you have to understand that hunger is a basic human need that needs to be satisfied.
So, you will gradually stop being hard on yourself and on your body.
Consequently, you will stop regretting everything you eat and blaming yourself all the time, which is somehow a kind of accepting yourself.
Some tips for intuitive eating:
To make things clearer, here are some of the most important information about intuitive eating summarized in simple tips:
- Don’t let unneeded external factors affect you relationship with food.
- Don’t mix between intuitive eating and dieting.
- Make sure that it is suitable for you before implementing it.
- Intuitive eating doesn’t mean overeating at all.
- Don’t set high expectations from following intuitive eating.
Finally, Food is a source of pleasure and enjoyment to all of us, everyone deserves to enjoy it in their own way.
Intuitive eaters are just normal people who with food in the natural way.
If you want to be one of them; just understand your body needs, respect them and try to satisfy them.
It is not an approach that you have to follow in order to gain certain results, it is actually your right towards your body.