In last week’s blog, I mentioned that intuitive eating was shown to helpful for people with eating disorders. Based on the book by Tribole and Resch, Intuitive Eating, there are 10 principles to go by.
Do not go on a diet
If you engage in the diet mentality, you restrict the foods you eat. Perhaps you eat nothing white, or do the keto diet, Atkins diet, paleo diet, or whatever the current diet fad is. This may work in the short term, but diets do not work. Most people end up gaining back all the weight they lost while on the diet.
Pay attention to your hunger
If you don’t give yourself what your body needs you may engage in overeating. Yes, this means carbohydrates and the energy needed for your body. If you become too hungry, then you will have natural urge to overeat. Learning to pay attention to these biological signs sets you up to learn to trust your body and what it needs. Thus being intuitive means paying attention to your body.
Make peace with food
Don’t fight with yourself about the types of food you eat. All food has some nutritional value. Allow yourself to eat what you want. If you tell yourself that some foods are bad, and restrict them, all you do is crave that food. Then once you start eating it, you may overeat as you have denied yourself for so long. This will most likely lead you to feeling guilty.
Defy food patrol
If your head is screaming at you that you should not have eaten that piece of cake, or telling you that you did a good job because you restricted that day, fight back. Imagine the angel on one shoulder and devil on the other. What would the angel say? The food police voice is the one who sets up all the rigid rules. It’s that voice that shames you and makes you feel bad.
Honor your feelings of satiety
Listen to the signs that you are not hungry anymore. Notice when you are at a comfortable place and feeling full. Try to take a break and notice your fullness level. Ask yourself if your food still tastes good.
Learn how to be satisfied
Eating is one of the most enjoyable activities that we do. Take time to feel the pleasure it brings and enjoy the experience. This helps to keep you satisfied and happy. Have you ever done a mindful eating exercise? If not, please click here for a more detailed description of how to eat mindfully. This is even more enjoyable when it’s a food you love. For many people that is something sweet such as cookies or cake.
Respect your feelings instead of coping with food
Instead of turning to food to cope, pay attention to what you are really feeling. Often times people binge instead of feeling their anger, anxiety, pain, loneliness or boredom. These are normal human emotions and we all feel them. Eating will not make these feelings go away. What are some healthier ways to cope? Could it be calling a friend, going for a walk, meditating, watching a funny TV show, having a talk with someone and expressing your feelings? Journaling also helps some people. If you eat vs. deal with your emotions, your problems will not go away. Overeating will only make you feel worse about yourself.
Value your body
This means focusing on your body for what it does. It is an amazing machine. Be sure to look at genetics and how your family is built. If your mom and sister have big hips, then you are more likely to be built similarly. You can’t fight biology. Also, if you are hard on yourself and critical about your body, it will not accomplish anything and just make you feel bad.
Exercise and notice the feeling
This doesn’t mean doing some vigorous workout. It just means do something that gets you moving. It could be yoga, walking, etc. What would it be like to just focus moving and exercise vs. focus on losing weight? If losing weight is your focus, you may lose your motivation to exercise, when exercise is good for you.
Respect your health
Choose foods that honor your health and taste buds. This does not mean that you have to eat a specific diet to be healthy. This means eating the foods you love in moderation. Eating one donut will not make you gain weight. It is your general nutrition over time that matters.
Learning to take this approach will help decrease your body image distress and be able to eat in a way that honors your body. If eating is something you struggle with or you want to learn more about intuitive eating, please call me at 713-304-6554.