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July 17, 2023

Intuitive Eating: Embracing a Healthy Relationship with Food

by Lisa Robinson-Mihiar, RDN

In a world bombarded with diet culture and restrictive eating plans, intuitive eating stands out as a refreshing approach to nourishing our bodies and embracing a positive relationship with food. It encourages us to reconnect with our natural hunger and fullness cues, listen to our bodies, and honor our individual needs. In this article, we will delve into the principles of intuitive eating, explore its benefits, and provide practical tips to help you embark on this empowering journey.

Understanding Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach that focuses on cultivating a mindful and intuitive connection with our bodies, while rejecting the traditional diet mentality. It emphasizes self-care, body acceptance, and the belief that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation. This approach helps us build a healthy relationship with food and recognize the difference between physical hunger and emotional cravings.

The 9 Principles of Intuitive Eating

  1. Reject the diet mentality: Let go of the notion that diets are the solution to achieving happiness and self-worth. Instead, embrace the concept of body acceptance and trust your body’s signals.
  2. Honor your hunger: Listen to your body’s cues and eat when you feel physical hunger. Avoid strict meal plans or skipping meals.
  3. Make peace with food: Give yourself unconditional permission to eat all types of food. By removing the guilt associated with certain foods, you can regain control over your eating habits.
  4. Challenge the food police: Challenge the internalized rules around what is “good” or “bad” when it comes to food. Cultivate a compassionate and non-judgmental mindset.
  5. Discover satisfaction: Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and enjoyment of your meals. Savor the experience and find pleasure in eating.
  6. Respect your fullness: Recognize when you’re comfortably full and stop eating. Tune in to your body’s signals of satisfaction and avoid overeating.
  7. Honor your emotions without using food: Find alternative ways to cope with emotions, such as journaling, exercise, or seeking support from friends and loved ones.
  8. Respect your body: Cultivate self-acceptance and appreciate your body for its unique strengths and qualities. Prioritize self-care and engage in activities that promote overall well-being.
  9. Movement as joy: Engage in physical activities that bring you joy and make you feel good, rather than viewing exercise as a means to burn calories or achieve a specific body shape.

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

  • Improved relationship with food: Intuitive eating allows you to break free from the cycle of restriction and binge eating, fostering a healthier and more balanced relationship with food.
  • Enhanced body acceptance: By embracing your body and honoring its needs, you can develop a more positive body image and improve self-esteem.
  • Sustainable weight management: Intuitive eating focuses on overall well-being rather than weight loss. By prioritizing health and self-care, you can achieve a weight that is natural and sustainable for your body.
  • Mental and emotional well-being: Intuitive eating promotes mindfulness and self-awareness, reducing anxiety and guilt associated with food choices.
  • Freedom from food rules: Intuitive eating liberates you from strict dieting rules and allows you to enjoy a wide variety of foods without feeling deprived.

Intuitive eating empowers individuals to develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies, fostering self-acceptance and overall well-being. By embracing the principles of intuitive eating, we can break free from the restrictive diet culture and find joy in nourishing ourselves. Remember, intuitive eating is a personal journey, and it may take time and practice to fully adopt this approach. So, be patient, kind to yourself, and enjoy the positive changes that intuitive eating can bring to your life.

For more information:

Are you interested in learning more about intuitive eating and working with a dietitian towards a better relationship with food and your body? Contact our nutrition coordinator to set up an appointment with an intuitive eating trained dietitian today! Give us a call at 919- 237-1337, option 4.

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