Friday, June 20, 2014

Intuitive Eating

Image courtesy of Dino de Luca

I am exploring intuitive eating. There is a book aptly titled “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch that further explains what it is about. What I have taken so far is that intuitive eating is about respecting your hunger and fullness and following your body’s natural instincts. It is an anti-diet, with no good foods, bad foods or judgment.
It can be easy to inaccurately think about intuitive eating as eating whatever you want, whenever you want. However, it is really about listening to your body and taking care of its needs. I am pleased that Tribole and Resch address that we all have certain taste preferences and those preferences are important. Therefore, while nourishment is for your body, there are sometimes taste bud reasons you may indulge. After all, nothing is off limits.

The challenging part is trusting yourself. How am I supposed to understand whether my body needs protein, fat or carbs? Short of a startling shortage, how do I know if my body craves a certain vitamin? There is room for the “nutritional informant”, as long as long as the informant does not turn into the “food police.” The nutritional informant simply makes factual observances. The food police judges and declares rigid rules.  My left-side brain still should communicate the health benefits of a variety of food groups and colors in my food and the need for whole foods. That information is useful as I make my choices. I am purposefully abstaining from tracking everything I eat so that I can focus on how I feel in response to certain foods rather than doing math to decide whether or not to partake.  

David Castillo Dominici

A huge element of intuitive eating is mindfulness. Turning off the tv, avoiding eating and driving (which is much safer anyway…), and sitting down and slowly chewing are all habits I have been implementing. While I am much better about turning off the tv (we cut our cable the other day anyway), it is still a challenge to focus on the tastes of my food. I always thought I loved food so much, but I am now realizing that half the time I barely even taste it because I’m thinking of something else while I eat. It is so empowering to eat and enjoy and then stop when my stomach is satisfied. I feel more comfortable stopping when I am satisfied because I know that I will take care of my body when I am hungry again.

Have you heard of the intuitive eating? Share your thoughts and experiences, I’d love to hear.

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