Intuitive eating…. that should be the eating goal for everyone. However intuitive eating is sort of trendy now… but people seem to forget what intuitive eating actually is. It means listening to your body. Eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full. It’s mindful eating.
Intuitive eating isnt for everyone, especially not if your hunger and fullness feelings are messed up due to example stress, illness, periods of restriction or binge eating. But also if have very disordered eating and mindset towards food then maybe following a meal plan made by a dietitian is better until you are in a better place physically and mentally to begin trusting your body.
I began thinking about intuitive eating and how it may not be as intuitive as we think/want it to be. Because whether we want to or not… we are all affected by media and different food rules, guides, tips and recommendations. We may not follow them consciously but in the back of your mind they are still there.
I no longer do these things, but here are some of my thoughts…. is it really intuitive eating if:
You drink liquids before and after your meal to fill you up more?
If you make sure to have veggies with your meal because it’s recommended even if you aren’t craving them for certain meals?
If you make sure to eat a protein source with all your meals because that’s whats always recommended?
If you don’t add salt to your meal because you don’t think you should use salt?
If you eat the dessert/cake/cookies just because it’s there but you aren’t actually hungry?
If you make yourself wait x time until you eat again even if you’re still hungry?
If you choose a high protein/low carb/low fat option even if that’s not actually what you want?
If you skip meals to compensate for certain meals you know you will eat later?
If you eat meals at certain times despite not being hungry?
If you eat even when you’re not hungry? If you don’t eat when you are hungry?
These things aren’t intuitive eating… not according to me. There are still food rules, certain eating times, compensation and too much thinking involved when to eat/what to eat etc
Of course eating vegetables and eating a protein source with all your meals is recommended. But if somedays you just want pasta and tomato sauce or potatoes and guacamole it’s ok. If that is what your body is telling you. Because your next meal may be more balanced… but also your body should send signals of certain foods it knows it needs.
And like mentioned, intuitive eating isn’t for everyone. Somedays you just got to force yourself to eat even if you have no appetite. Or example if you have a weightloss or weight gain goal, then you may need to eat more/less than what your body signals send. Or if you have an illness/recovering from an illness that affects your appetite or hormones, then you may not be able to eat according to your bodies signals because you will end up eating too little or too much.
But also if you example only eat and crave chocolate, pizza and cookies then you may need to follow certain recommendations and guides to eat a more balanced diet. Then “just follow your signals and body” may not be the best recommendation if that means someone will eat a very unbalanced diet.
It is also important to be aware that as humans, we are affected by our emotions. We are affected by stress, anxiety, feelings, situations which all affect our hunger and fullness feelings and how much we eat. It is easy to just say “don’t treat yourself with food” or “don’t eat due to emotions” or “don’t overeat/undereat when you’re stressed”. But we are just humans and no matter how intuitive we want to eat, sometimes our body sends us wrong signals or our mind/emotions interferes with the signals. Or example if you are very nervous, anxious, worried, stressed that can make you undereat/overeat. Even illnesses like IBS can impact your hunger/fullness feelings and the ability to eat intuitive and trust your body.
Intuitive eating isn’t always possible. I mean as an example -if i meal prep and have meals planned i can’t always just go buy food everytime i get a craving. As well as if i am at work and maybe don’t have enough food or enough time to eat then maybe i might not be able to eat as much as i wanted at that time.
However for me intuitive eating means that i maybe eat more of my meal prepped food if i am still hungry. Or maybe my body is calling for more vegetables or more potatoes and then i eat that.
Intuitive eating is different for everyone. And like i said…. we’re all influenced by different media and that affects our food choices and intake whether we are conscious of it or not. I mean me just writing a post about intuitive eating is me reflecting and analyzing over my food and food choices when in reality food intake should just be free from rules and mindful.
Which brings me to a last point…. mindful eating in connection with intuitive eating. I usually watch YouTube or series or use my phone when eating, which infact can make intake less intuitive and less mindful. Because when you just sit and eat with no distractions you are more in tune with your body and signals compared to if you distract yourself.
I don’t always eat intuitive, i sometimes eat more than my body/hunger signals tell me just because the food is so good. Or sometimes I’ll eat a cookie or cake just because i have it at home and not necessarily because i crave it. But for me that is also balance and part of my healthy diet/intuitive eating.
This is just my thoughts and i have more posts/advice about intuitive eating on a previous post HERE
Also wanted to share this from a previous post, HERE. Healthy version of intuitive eating:
”There is none.THERE IS NO “HEALTHY VERSION OF INTUITIVE EATING”. Don’t do it. It will backfire.Wanna know why? Because what you are really saying is: I am going to try and, like, trust my body. But I, like, can’t ever really trust my body. Obviously, so I’m gonna like fake trust it and, like, listen to it but only let it eat, like…. healthy foods.No!Your body will know what you are doing. And the part of your mind that you think you are tricking will know what you are doing too!You cannot do the healthy version of intuitive eating, because intuitive eating is the healthy version of eating.And it is healthy, even if you are eating lots of brownies.It is healthy because it is free and curious and pleasure based.It is healthy because it takes your eating controls away from your mind, and gives them to your body.It is healthy because even if you are craving foods that you decided before were “not healthy” (or that anyone would tell you are “not healthy”), letting go of fear of food is immensely important for mental health.Mental health is immensely important for physical health.Learning to trust your body is the healthiest thing you could do.But not even that, the idea is to neutralize all foods. Cravings have less power when they are allowed. Irrational cravings do not exist when they are allowed. They become neutral.Your body knows what it needs. Your body needs calories. And your body needs to know it can eat.Intuitive Eating is not about eating the smallest amount possible. Or being “so in tune with your body” that you only need to eat celery and goat keifer and sunlight.No, intuitive eating allows you to EAT. For God’s sake EAT. Eat the things that nourish you and please you. The things that make your mouth water and that you only let yourself eat in your dreams.That is the food your body is asking for.And anyway, you’re never gonna really crave Kale til your body and mind both believe that it can also eat cake for dinner whenever it wants.Fuck. IT.”
”“Nobody can eat according to hunger 100% of the time. Mostly, you should eat because you’re hungry. Sometimes, you eat because something is fantastic, even if you’re full. And always, you eat what your body wants. Always.
At first, eating intuitively was hard. I had to think about it a lot. But now? I don’t really think about it at all. I feel free.
I no longer have to measure out every tablespoon of food. I don’t have to track everything in a stupid weight loss app on my iPhone. I don’t have to count and weigh and measure and go to sleep hungry. The food that I eat isn’t classified into “healthy” or “not healthy” categories. I just eat and I’m happy.
My body image is better than it’s ever been and I love it.”