What is Intuitive Eating?
Updated: Jul 19
A post from a well-meaning nutritionist caught my eye recently. In it she claimed that intuitive eating will never work. You can't simply eat whatever you want when ever you want. She then went on to paint a picture of influencers sitting around eating brownies and ice cream all day.
This makes me laugh 😄 If someone really wants to sit around and eat brownies and ice cream all day, I see nothing wrong with that. If someone wants to experiment with eating whatever it is they feel like - that's great, experiment away. Because the nutritionist was missing one key component - she was missing what the foundation of Intuitive Eating really is -> LISTENING TO YOUR BODY.
So, go ahead, eat brownies and ice cream all day, but as you do, notice how your body feels. Eat brownies and ice cream all day every day, and then PAUSE and see how you feel. What physical sensations is your body experiencing? What is your energy level like? How is your mood? How is your digestion working?
Intuitive Eating is a practice of listening to your body and understanding its guidance. Our bodies actually possess an intelligence that is beyond the understanding of the human mind. That is how our cells know to regenerate, our liver detoxifies our blood, and how thousands of other processes take place continuously within our bodies all on their own. We don't have to be aware of any of these things. It just happens for us. Our bodies know exactly what to do. We could be unconscious and bodies will still operate without us telling it what to do. Imagine the intelligence it takes to orchestrate trillions of cells and all of the unique and individual processes the body requires to stay alive. As advanced as we are technologically, we're not even close to understanding all of the things the body does or how it does it. Our bodies truly are miraculous and intelligent beyond our comprehension.
In Intuitive Eating you learn to take into account your body's intelligence. This intelligence is constantly communicating with us. It speaks to us through our emotions and physical sensations. If you would like to get in touch with your body's guidance, here are steps you can take:
- Connect with your body: Spend a few minutes and sit with your body. Make sure you are somewhere quiet and without distractions. Sit and notice first what emotions you feel. You don't need to label them at this time, just take a moment to become aware of any emotions. Then notice any physical sensations. Again, no need to label or analyze. Just notice the feeling.
- Connect with your heart: A study done at Cambridge University showed that those who are more aware of their heartbeat, also have higher levels of intuition. Sit in a quiet space, place your hand over your heart, take some deep breaths and feel your heart beat.
- Have a Mindful Meal: This is easiest to do when eating alone. When you have a meal, turn off any distractions, like the TV or YouTube or music. Don't read or talk on the phone or do anything else. Just pay attention to your food and how you feel. Before you start eating, pause and notice your food. How does it look to you? What colors and textures do you see? Can you smell its aroma? Is it appetizing or blah or somewhere in between? As you eat your food, really taste it, notice the textures, chew each bite thoroughly. Pause and take stock of how your body feels before, during, and after your meal.
Intuitive Eating is a skill that takes time to develop. Over time your connection to your body will strengthen. You'll begin to sense when it is communicating with you. If you'd like to practice communicating with your body to decide what to eat, then click here to access my free Intuitive Eating Training.
And if you decide you want to practice eating intuitively, know that it doesn't mean you have to discard all outside health and nutrition information. Now you can check in with your body to see if the information resonates with you. My Intuitive Eating Training is especially helpful in showing you how to determine if something is a "yes" or a "no" for you. As you receive new information, feel into your body and see how it feels to you. Does it feel more like a "yes" or a "no". This can help you decide whether or not you want to try out that information. If you feel uncertain, just remember, everything you need to know is inside of you, gently guiding you.