Within The Growth Vault, my intuitive eating (and living) coaching membership, we go through all ten principles (of intuitive eating) step by step. A question that is often asked as we go through these principles is:
How do I know when I’m ready to introduce the gentle nutrition part of intuitive eating?
This is such a great question. The answer will vary for each person. But here’s what I’ll say…
The first principle of intuitive eating, according to the book, Intuitive Eating, is rejecting the diet mentality.
Meaning, you need your body to fully trust that there is NO next diet lurking around the corner. If you believe that there is, you will subconsciously (or consciously) feel that intuitive eating is very hard and the foods that don’t make you feel good may feel more attractive to you than they actually are. You will still fear that restriction is coming.
The goal of this principle is to prove to yourself that you’re never going to diet again.
Here are the principles in order:
- reject the diet mentality
- honor your hunger
- make peace with food
- challenge the food police
- feel your fullness
- discover the satisfaction factor
- cope with your emotions without using food
- respect your body
- exercise – feel the difference
- honor your health with gentle nutrition
There’s a reason that last principle is last. You need to first develop a ton of trust in your relationship with food before you can feel completely safe with foods that you once ate while dieting.
A lot of my clients get stuck here because they have thoughts like this: They walk into a restaurant, they want a salad. They sit down, see the menu, and there is both a salad and a burger on the menu. They choose the burger just to prove to themselves they can have it and they worry that choosing a salad would be giving into diet culture.
But the truth is, intuitive eating is NOT anti-health. In fact, in my opinion, intuitive eating IS health. It’s just health WITHOUT obsession. It’s calm, subtle, kind health. It’s health that honors all aspects of your life – not just the food that you eat.
Here’s what the intuitive eating book says (I love the way they put this): “Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.”
So, when are you ready to add in gentle nutrition? There isn’t a black and white answer, but here are the signs that I look for in my clients:
- they’re excited to feel good, because they believe they deserve to feel good
- they’re not trying to lose weight at the expense of honoring their bodies biological needs
- they feel calm around food and they understand that eating food has nothing to do with their moral goodness or is a “good” or “bad” choice – they don’t say things like “I’m so bad for eating this” or “I’m so good for eating this!” Rather, they feel neutral about food and understand that some foods feel good and others don’t feel as good (that’s it!). From there, they would like to honor their bodies with food that tastes great and feels great too. Thus, they are ready for some gentle nutrition.
If you need support with this (think you might be ready for gentle nutrition?), I’d love to help you.
Here are two ways you can recieve my coaching support:
- Join The Growth Vault (my intuitive eating coaching membership program)
- Book a Discovery Session and let’s connect as you explore working together one on one
I hope that helps and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!