I am a qualified Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, and I get asked what intuitive eating is regularly so I decided to write a blog post about it.
Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach that helps us tune back into the signals of our body, break free from dieting and food rules, and heals our relationship with food and our body.
We are all born as intuitive eaters. As babies and small children, we ate when we were hungry, and would stop once we were full. It is only as we grow up we learn mixed messages about food. We learn that certain foods are good or bad, we learn that foods are used for reward or punishment and we learn about diets, calories and macros. It is these mixed messages that enable us to lose the ability to eat in tune with what our body wants and needs, as we become reliant on external messages, rather than the internal signals from our body.
Becoming an intuitive eater is about re-learning to eat the way that we were born with. It is about getting in touch with our physical and emotional needs, hunger/fullness signals and eating foods for pleasure, satisfaction and nourishment. Becoming an intuitive eater takes time and practice. For me intuitive eating means eating what I really want to eat when I go out for dinner and enjoying dessert or cocktails with friends without the guilt.
What does intuitive eating do for us?
Teaches us to create a healthy relationship with food and our body, tuning in to what it wants and needs.
Enables us to be free from dieting, food fears, worries, binge eating and emotional eating.
Teaches us to respond to our inner body cues of hunger and fullness as well any emotional needs.
Enables us to change the way we think about food, and to eat foods for nourishment, pleasure and satisfaction.
Teaches us to let go of black and white thinking, make peace with food, and have a flexible approach to eating.
You may have some friends that are intuitive eaters, these are the friends that you would call normal eaters. They are the friends that have never dieted. They sometimes have dessert or sometimes they leave it. They leave chips on their plate, or they eat them all if they feel like it.
When we become intuitive eaters, we also become normal eaters again.
What is normal eating?
Eating when we are hungry and until we are satisfied.
Eating foods that we want to eat as well as enjoy.
Eating foods for nourishment, but without the restriction and deprivation mindset.
Eating in a way that suits us only, if that is three meals a day, or six meals.
Eating some of the cookies and leaving the rest, or eating them all because they are so tasty.
Eating in attunement with what our body wants and needs.
Intuitive eating has enabled me to let go of rules, restrictions, food fears, phobias and binge eating. It has allowed me be free to live and enjoy my life. This was something that I never thought was possible.