Intuitive Eating: 3 Steps To Leave The Diet Mentality Behind

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Intuitive eating.  Sounds simple enough, right?  The name would suggest that it is something that we should innately know, something that we should instinctively tap into and be able to do day-to-day.  A knowing that goes beyond the thought ‘Yep, Im hungry, time to eat’...but as you know sometimes it isn’t that easy - Elise shares with us her approach to Intuitive Eating and offers up some tips on how to get started!

We shall leave her to it!

We have enough rules, even healthy ones, so I like to outline intuitive eating as a concept rather than a firm definition.  I like to think of it as...

...an approach to eating that allows us to become the expert of our own bodies and what it needs.

...an approach that invites us to be mindful in our approach to our food and our body - before, during and after we eat.

..an approach that enables us to attune ourselves to our hunger cues, learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger and through this gain wisdom and connection over our bodies.

It is a process of finally making peace with our food.

Intuitive eating is a process of finally making peace with our food.

What we eat does not define us as people - yet this mindset plagues us all.  By tapping into our intuition we can let go of the need to attribute self worth to the bottom of a bag of chips ,or similarly, amongst a plate of salad.

The idea of eating when we are hungry, and stopping when we are full sounds easy enough to understand but unfortunately we don’t exist in a vacuum - our social-media filled world floods us with ideas of #cleaneating and #greensmoothies, where there is a #newdietstartsmonday every week and where restriction, diets and rigid “healthy” rules are commonplace.  This is made even more difficult when our bodies cues are confused by processed foods we consume.  

In the blur of it all, it can be really difficult to get back to basics and reconnect to our body’s true needs - but the thing is that we are born intuitive eaters so the goal is to reconnect to that kind of connection.  If you watch babies or young toddlers interact with food you will see that they are not eating the same thing, or the same amounts each day. Trusting ourselves, and leaning into and listening to the wisdom of our bodies is where this reconnect will happen.

So how can you start the process of listening to what your body needs?

These three tips will set you up nicely!

1. Become curious about what hunger actually feels like in your body. 

 I highly recommend starting with your first meal of the day to set the tone for the day. In order to tap into our true hunger cues we need to firstly stop letting the clock or our habits determine when we eat.  Take time in the morning to sit down, breath, have a hot cup of lemon water and check in with how your body is feeling today. When you start to feel a rumbling in your belly, then it’s time to eat.

What are your hunger cues - a part from hunger?  Explore this and drop the diet mentality for ever.

2. Make Meal Time A Sacred Time. 

This at first may sound far-fetched but let me explain.

In our western culture food and meals have become more of a chore than an experience. We don’t value the simple act of eating and sharing a meal with loved ones anymore. I know we all have busy schedules and life is often a balancing act but this journey is about prioritising your health and your happiness and improving your relationship to your body. 

Sit down to eat and take in the experience of your food.  Pay attention to the beauty of it, enjoy the aroma and take time to appreciate the flavour.   No multi-tasking (or eating al-desko)!

You’ll be surprised how much more in tune with the body’s signals this will make you.

@@Schedule your meal time if you need + make the meal the sole focus of your time.  No multi-tasking @@

3. Keep a journal (and not the calorie counting type). 

After your sacred meal time, write down your experience. Take note of hunger/fullness cues, how you felt emotionally before, during and after the meal and how your body physically feels before during and after.

*Bonus points for taking notes a couple of hours after you’ve eaten to check in and see how you feel after your food has been digested.  

Check in on your body after eating.  Take notice  if you are sleepy, or energised, and learn about your body

Though practicing these three simple but powerful tips we can learn to drop the battle with willpower and become at peace with our bodies and our food.

Notice that I said practice?  This is not an overnight fix, in order to re-program ourselves out of the diet mentality we need to practice patience, compassion and consistently stay aligned to connect to how our bodies feel, not what our mind tells us.

Let’s drop the struggle cycle and channel our new found energy into what really matters in our lives to whatever lights you up.

...because life is too short to constantly be worrying about what to put in our mouths.