Intuitive Eating - feeding on demand for adults
Imagine being allowed to eat whatever you want to without feeling guilty. Well, guess what? You ARE allowed to and you always have been. When we were babies most of us were fed when we showed signs of being hungry and usually pretty quickly before we started screaming. Intuitive eating or mindful eating is just that, feeding on demand… for adults.
Over the years we have been programmed to believe that foods are either good or bad. If we eat the ‘bad’ foods we have then ‘failed’ and need to be punished. We punish ourselves by getting rid of the ‘bad food' and pursue eating only the ‘good food', but what happens then? We get fed up, bored or miserable and go back to the 'bad food' to make us feel better, even if it is just for a minute.
Its a vicious cycle, its called dieting and it believe it or not it actually makes us fat.
Eleven years ago dietitians' Evelyn Triboli and Elyse Resch came up with the idea of Intuitive Eating. They outlined ten principles to help you overcome the never ending cycle of dieting. They acknowledge that this cycle never ends up with permanent weight loss and most people end up putting weight on. The first principle they suggest about dieting is the best. "Stop thinking about it, stop doing it and never think about it again". Sound good?
Intuitive Eating - The Principles
Principles 1 to 4 are all about honoring your hunger. Wait to feel the actual hunger pangs you get but be sure it's the stomach-rumbling, physical kind. Try to figure out what you are craving. Ask yourself what am I hungry for? Then feed yourself.
If you are feeling miserable or anxious you might choose to eat a tub of ice cream and it's OK you don't have to beat yourself up. After a while of eating intuitively and listening to your hunger cues you may realise that, sometimes, it's not the ice cream you are craving.
Make peace with your food. Call a truce and stop fighting with it and at the same time you can throw away the guilt. The 'food police' in your head, constantly telling you are bad and unworthy when you eat, can be shut off forever. If you need to stick your fingers in your ears and shout 'NO' ... just do it. Be a toddler about it.
Principles 5 to 7 are about respecting your fullness. Slow down, savour the flavours and textures and give your brain enough time to register that you are no longer hungry. If you find that difficult just try it during one meal a day. A lot of us find comfort in food. We eat to alleviate feelings of anxiety, loneliness, sadness, grief, etc. Food wont fix these feelings so we need to find another way to appease them. Eating through them wont help in the long term and we end up feeling bad about ourselves. Again.
Principles 8 to 10 are about respecting and honouring your body and overall health. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape. We all come in different shapes and sizes. If you are a natural size 12 and spend your life trying to be size 6 you can never be truly happy with yourself. Possibly you will damage your health with starvation type diets that make you miserable. People considered 'thin' or 'skinny' are not necessarily any happier or healthier than those who aren’t. As with most things in life we need to find a balance.
Exercise is key here too. You don’t have to run a marathon, but even walking for up to 30 minutes a day can keep you trim, fit and your mind more creative. Focus on how you feel when you have exercised rather than how many calories you have lost. Find something that you enjoy doing and gently get your body moving. It’s much more motivating.
The Intuitive Eating approach was designed to help people to heal from chronic over-dieting. In particular those with eating disorders. Some people don't agree with this approach for those with diseases like Anorexia, however it is a good way to eat for most people.
Maybe we just need to start forming a healthier relationship with the food that sustains us, no matter the title. We can do this by respecting our hunger, our fullness and being active. Most of all we can enjoy the pleasures of eating, without the guilt
Have a look at some of our products blenders, juicers, exercise equipment and turn your home into a healthy living space. Errick McAdams, Personal Training guru, once said "if you keep good food in your fridge you will eat good food". Makes perfect sense.
At Vitality 4 Life we believe that we can all be happier and healthier if we eat good food, drink more water, be active and try to think positive thoughts. Let's start living our best lives...