Okay, I hear you thinking. That's easy. I go for chocolate, cookies, candy or a nice fatty snack because my body says I have an appetite for that 😊. But the subject that we want to draw attention to here is slightly different 😉. The women among us probably know it. Just before my period starts, I get a very strong appetite for other types of food and in most cases this is chocolate. A pregnant woman can also crave for pickles for example. Even if you are not a woman or pregnant, you probably know such a moment. In this article I'm going to find out what intuitive eating is and I'm going to look for tips.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating sounds very simple: eating when your body asks for it. You don't exclude any food products and you don't count calories either. With this method you learn to distinguish food cravings based on emotional hunger (fear, stress or insecurity) and physical hunger.
An enormous amount of research has been done into this method, we can now speak of a scientifically proven approach.
10 characteristics of intuitive eating
There are several features, guidelines that you can use to help you with intuitive eating:
- Throw Away All Your Diet Books
They won't work in the long run and they often end in disappointment.
- Respect Hunger
Keep your body well nourished with nutritious foods, including carbohydrates. This will make you less likely to snack. Products that are the most nutritious are protein-rich and fiber-rich foods.
- Don't exclude food products
One may not eat fat because of their diet, the other does not eat carbohydrates anymore and often you get even more appetite for it. Let it go, it will save you from feeling guilty.
- Move for fun
Don't exercise only to burn calories, but focus on how exercising makes you feel. What sport or exercise makes you happy? Is it gardening, horseback riding, hiking, dancing?
- Appreciate your body
When you have curly hair you rather would have had straight hair, when you have blue eyes you probably like dark eyes. Everyone is unique and has a different physique. Accept your body and size, it will help you feel better. But it also makes you more aware of the choices you make about nutrition and exercise.
- Stop when you are full
The Japanese are very good at stopping eating when they are satisfied. They call this Hara Hachi Bu: eat until you are 80% full. Only eat when focussed on food and pause every now and then, this way you learn to be in touch with your body and feel when you are full.
- Pay attention to the eating moment
Don't eat in front of the TV, in the car or at your desk. Make it a moment and eat with attention, this gives more satisfaction so you will need less of it.
- Remember the 80-20 rule
You don't have to eat perfectly. Do not think in good or bad food, but look at nutritious and less nutritious or tasteful and less tasty. If you mainly eat healthy and nutritious food, you can sometimes take a less healthy snack.
- Be kind to yourself
Often we are very hard on ourselves and eat when we are angry, afraid, alone or bored. By putting restrictions on ourselves that we cannot live up to, we only increase the negative feelings and this only ends up in emotional eating. However emotional eating is satisfying in the short term, it doesn't solve the problem in the long run. Love and gentleness for yourself ultimately do much more.
- Be and eat flexible
Have you eaten too much? Adjust your next meal by eating a little less. This makes it easy to adapt to the circumstances.
Intuitive eating looks pretty easy, you listen to your instincts and intuition, your emotions, feelings, your rational thinking and common sense. But from all the information I've read, I understand that it does take some time to master intuitive eating. There are some practical tips that can help you:
Tip 1: Provide little to no distraction
Put your phone away, don't watch TV and close your laptop. Focus completely on the food, so you can better listen to your body if it is full.
Tip 2: Eat slowly and chew more often
It takes our body about 20 minutes to indicate how satisfied you are with food. Put down your cutlery, take a sip of water in between and chew a bite at least 20 times.
Tip 3: Don't wait too long to eat when you're hungry
If you are really hungry, don't wait too long with eating. If you don't do this, you increase the chance that you will grab less nutritious food.
Tip 4: Put the food on your plate in the kitchen
Grab a small plate and scoop your food into the kitchen, so you're less likely to scoop it up again.
I have become very curious about intuitive eating and what it brings me. You too? I recommend that you purchase the (work)book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.