Our culture has a deeply embedded belief that how we eat, how we exercise and how our bodies look are a reflection of who we are and whether we are good or bad, strong or weak, right or wrong. Intuitive eating helps free us from that mindset so that food can just be food.
These beliefs have led many women, including myself into guilt, shame and pain. Intuitive eating, along with self-care and support have given us freedom to live in the bodies we have today, to take really good care of ourselves and not feel like a crazy person around food.
This month I am sharing an intuitive eating series to demystify what it is and give you some insight into how you can practice this and how I work with women.
What is intuitive eating?
What does having a healthy relationship with food mean?
Intuitive eating is becoming an expert in yourself and learning to distinguish between biological hunger and emotional hunger.
It is paying attention to how you feel (hungry, bored, sad, lonely) and making decisions based on how you want to feel (satisfied, nourished, happy, content, loved) without judgment.
Through the process you become better at distinguishing when you want to eat for emotional hunger and you learn non-food ways to take care of yourself, but if you choose to eat something, that’s OK too. The point is that you are paying attention and that this is not a diet.
Becoming an expert in yourself is noticing without judgment what it feels like to be slightly hungry or starving or satisfied or full, which foods you really enjoy and which ones you don’t, what foods make you feel good and nourished and which ones don’t make you feel that great. I’ve had clients notice that 2 cookies feel good, 3 feel terrible. So then the eater is in charge of her decision and doesn’t feel out of control.
Intuitive eating makes eating an enjoyable experience instead of a moral dilemma. (You should feel guilty if you punch someone in the face not if you eat some white flour).
As for our relationship with food, it is how we feel about food, what beliefs we have about eating or how we use food for non-physical hunger.
I spent years eating whatever I wanted but I hated food because I felt powerless to it and out of control - especially around food that I categorized as bad or unhealthy. In becoming an intuitive eater I finally feel normal around all food and when I eat something that the world doesn’t consider healthy I don’t feel guilty, which means I don’t overeat or under-eat and I feel in control of what I choose or don’t choose. That’s freedom and that’s why I love this work so much.
I want to help women release that pressure so they can live the life they want to live. I want to see eating, moving and living in the body we have today be PART of a good life, not fueled by rules and self-judgment.
So now you know that intuitive eating is about becoming an expert in YOU by learning about what hunger and fullness feel like and what it feels like to biologically hungry and emotionally hungry. Intuitive eating is also unconditional permission to eat, which scared the crap out of me.
It usually begs the question: But if I eat whatever I want without restriction, won’t I eat junk, feel awful and get fat?
Which is exactly what I’ll be talking about next time.
For now you can try this at home, your first action step *
See if you can notice examples of eating for physical hunger.
- Is it intense, is it subtle?
- Do you eat right away or do you wait until it’s intense?
- Do you not feel it at all? (I was this way)
- What do you want to eat and is that what you end up eating?
*this all information gathering, can you be judgment free?
If you're a reader, check out the book Intuitive Eating
Share this series with someone looking for a revolutionary way to look at food and diet.