10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Have you been dabbling in intuitive eating, wondering how to listen to your body?

Here are 10 principles that when practiced, will help you to build a healthy relationship with food and your body.

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

1. Reject the diet mentality

Study up on dieting and why diets don’t work. Get informed about the diet industry – how much profit is in it, etc. Look back on your own life and ask if a diet has ever actually “worked.” CROWD OUT the diet propaganda from your life – Instagram accounts that tempt you to diet, old diet plans or programs, books, etc… get rid of it.

Fill your life with things that bring you peace, joy, and contentment instead: flowers, the Intuitive Eating book, dishes that make you happy, etc…

2. Honor your hunger

Start practicing awareness around what signals your body sends you to let you know you’re hungry. A rumble in your belly, a loss of focus/energy, a slight hollowness in your throat.

3. Make peace with food

Ah, one of my favorite principles. I want you to imagine what peace with food would mean for you. Would it mean being able to go out to eat with friends without asking everyone else what they’re ordering before you order? Would it look like allowing yourself real ice cream instead of the zero fat, zero sugar, zero calorie fake stuff that you don’t actually enjoy?

4. Challenge the food police

There’s a voice in your head that is bossing you around – telling you what you should do. This is not your intuition. This is your brain, thumbing through all of the files of information you have inserted about diets/rules over the years.

5. Respect your fullness

Here’s the thing… when you start eating (when you’re hungry) you know how good something tastes, right? That “yummmmm” running through your brain at the first bite of a burrito! Well, there comes a point in your meal when the food no longer tastes as good as it did at that first bite. You can feel your fullness level rising and you probably think to yourself “I should stop here.” Well, that should is going to make you want to speed RIGHT past finish and keep eating. It feels like a rule. Someone policing you around. Instead of the should… get curious. Ask yourself “If this food is no longer as good as it was at first bite, would I be happier eating the rest in a couple of hours once I’m a bit hungry again?” Think of how yummy that burrito will taste when you grab it out of the fridge the next time you’re hungry. Your body will thank you!

6. Discover the satisfaction factor

One of the KEY factors of intuitive eating is to aim for SATISFACTION. To eat satisfying food, to create satisfying experiences, etc… you can do this by using more aromatic flavor – think garlic sautéing in olive oil. Yummm. You can do this by choosing pretty dishes, making your food look nice, plated. Ask yourself: “What was the last satisfying food experience I’ve had? What made it satisfying?” and “What would a satisfying experience at home look like?” “What would a satisfying experience out to eat look like?” “What would a satisfying experience at a friends house look like for me?”

7. Honor your feelings without using food

Do you judge yourself for feeling certain feelings? Do you hear yourself say “I should just be grateful.” “I shouldn’t be angry.” etc? Instead of judgement, get curious. What has me feeling this way? Do I like feeling this way? What do I need? Is there anyone I can ask for support/help? The more you allow yourself to be with your feelings, the less you will feel the need to escape them.

8. Respect your body

I love this from the authors of Intuitive Eating: “Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size 6, it is equally as futile and uncomfortable to have the same expectation with body size.”

9. Exercise – feel the difference

What exercise/movement do you actually enjoy? Even if it challenges you – that’s okay! There’s a difference between challenging yourself to go for a run if you love it versus telling yourself to go for a run and hating it. If you’re doing exercise that you hate, give yourself permission to STOP doing that exercise for a while, and practice doing daily exercise that you enjoy. Like taking a walk and listening to a podcast.

10. Honor your health

Finally, the last principle is to honor your health by making food choices that honor your health AND taste buds, while making you feel well. You do not need to eat “perfectly” to stay healthy. A meal here or there of something that DIDN’T feel good will not suddenly cause you to be nutrient different or gain weight. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters.

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Love, Paige
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