Updated: Jun 4
Intuitive eating is becoming more and more of a buzz word these days.
But many are using it incorrectly or with the wrong intention - which is to create another weight loss strategy/plan, which makes me (and every other intuitive eating counselor) downright mad. Intuitive eating is grounded on the principles of HAES © and the very first principle of intuitive eating is to reject diet culture. So, you see that using intuitive eating to advocate for another diet and to promote weight loss is nonsensical and perpetuates the harm of weight stigma.
Diet culture is the mindset that I need to change my body (usually shrink it - as thinness is the ideal of our current culture) in order to be OK (healthy, accepted, loved). Diet culture is everything around us that perpetuates this faulty mindset. Think social media, movies, magazines, the medical system - pretty much anything that pushes us towards not being OK in our body as we are and needing to shrink it.
So now that weight loss is out of the way, let's explore how intuitive eating can help you live your best life.
1) You're grounded in your body wisdom
When you're eating intuitively, you're connected to your body wisdom.
Yes, you read that right, your body has wisdom. Think about it. Our physical body is where we feel sensations cueing us into what we need- physically, emotionally and spiritually (I refer to spirituality as our inner guidance). With that in mind you can see how intuitive eating opens the door to authenticity and connection to yourself.
Let's explore this more.
Our physical needs include the need to eat, pee, stay warm, hydrated etc. But often we get so busy, that we ignore our basic needs!
Are you someone that ignores your need to eat, thinking that you'd better not so you can loose weight? And later on finding yourself ravenous and binge eating on everything in sight? With intuitive eating you are connecting to your physical needs through a process called inner attunement. - paying closer attention to your physical needs without judgement.
When we are attuned to our body we don't question our needs and desires, instead we explore them routinely, knowing that there is no right or wrong way of being. Bringing in curiosity instead of judgement is crucial to connecting to yourself and becoming intuitive in your eating. To understand this, I like imagining a scientist exploring through a neutral lens - with curiosity and awe- rather than judgmental emotions and criticism.
So what about our emotions and our inner guidance?
What's incredible about this process is that we begin to honour our physical needs, we also begin to explore the different emotions we feel and become more connected to our inner guidance.
You may have had a rough day at work - perhaps you feel like you were misunderstood- and now you have a tightness in your throat and heaviness in your chest. These are emotions in your body, wanting to be acknowledged and released. Most of us have not been taught how to recognise, express and release emotions in a healthy way. In this case of feeling angry, frustrated or sad you may find yourself turning to food as a way to feel better. This is a very normal way to deal with emotions, and a coping tool that many of us started using from a young age.
And in this case, you can see the problem is not the food but recognising and releasing your emotions.
Lastly , and most profoundly, our inner guidance or intuition is our guiding compass in life. That inner knowing is a combination of connection with our body, our cognition and our instincts. And it is most often felt in our gut - you know that gut feeling!
2) You're not swayed by new diet crazes
You're straight up more attuned to your body needs. So what if there's a new diet fad that says that all carbs are bad? You're a badass in knowing that when you skip carbs, you feel fatigued, low energy, more likely to binge on candy later in that evening, and your bowels suffer - I'm just giving some examples here, but hey these are in fact some symptoms you may have when not eating enough throughout the day.
3) You've got your own back
Why is this important? Well cause when you're honouring your needs, you're taking care of yourself and respecting what's ok with you and what's not ok. So then when it comes to your relationships, you're able to speak up and say "I'd rather stay home and rest tonight, instead of coming out clubbing, cause I have an early start tomorrow morning and I need my sleep."
4) You are less of a people-pleaser
By taking the time and space to check in with your own basic needs you begin to be more present and attuned to your own voice and inner guidance. Your friends or mum may suggest something, but instead of jumping into it without a second thought, you now take a moment to sit with it and how it feels for you. You journal about it (or bring in some awareness) and check in with yourself: "Is this what I'd like to do?"
5) You are less resentful
In the past, you may have gone out clubbing repeatedly with your friends when all you've wanted to do is have an easy night in and to wake up feeling refreshed - ready to do what's meaningful to you the next morning. Every single time, there was an inner knowing that you do not want to go out, but you ignored it cause - well- FOMO (fear of missing out). This cycle made you feel pissed off with yourself - sound familiar?
Becoming an intuitive eater, opens up the door to knowing what you are comfortable with. So now, you're tuned in to you, and more aware of your needs and desires. Plus you are able to communicate more openly and feel way more understood, seen and heard. Continuing from the above example, you might explain to your friends that going clubbing this Saturday is a no go zone for you cause you are so excited to wake up and go horse ridding the next morning (yiiiha!). You get the point! Plus remember that just because it's a no go this Saturday, it doesn't mean that this will always be the case. Remember, showing up authentically feels good. Plus your friends and loved ones need to hear, know and respect the real you. If you don't express what you need or want, how will others know you?
Keen to become an intuitive eater and begin living the life you crave? Join me for Intuitive Eating Reclaimed or book a one-on-one session.