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What are the Top 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating
Intuitive eating is an idea that rejects the diet mentality. While other diets require people to restrict or not eat various foods, intuitive eating instead stops you from labeling foods as "good" or "bad"

Intuitive eating is an idea that rejects the diet mentality. While other diets require people to restrict or not eat various foods, intuitive eating instead stops you from labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” That way, you can listen to your body and eat according to your needs. 

One common misconception with intuitive eating is that you can eat whatever you want. However, intuitive eating is more about tapping into your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. 

Another thing that happens when you practice intuitive eating is that you let go of any notion that you need to lose or gain weight and have to look a certain way. In essence, intuitive eating encourages you to choose foods that are best for your physical and mental health.

What is Diet Culture, and Why is it Problematic?

What Are the Ten Principles of Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating operates according to the following ten principles:

1. Rejecting the Diet Mentality

The first step in intuitive eating is to throw out diet books and other materials that give you the false hope of losing weight rapidly, quickly, and permanently. Diet culture has promoted the idea that you’re a failure after your new diet stops working and you gain back the weight, despite diets having a high failure rate. Essentially, if you maintain any hope that a new diet will work for you, you won’t be able to embrace Intuitive Eating.

2. Honoring Your Hunger

Honoring when you are hungry will keep your body full of enough energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise, you can trigger a drive to overeat. When you reach the point of excessive hunger, then any moderate, conscious eating is not as relevant. When you honor your biological signal sets, you can start rebuilding your trust with food. 

3. Making Peace with Food

Once you provide yourself with unconditional permission to eat, you can be more at peace with food. However, if you say to yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t eat a specific food, it can create feelings of deprivation that cause uncontrollable cravings and even lead to bingeing. When you eat your forbidden foods, eating will usually be followed by overeating and then overwhelming guilt.

4. Challenging Food Rules 

It is essential to challenge any food rules that have become part of your daily habits. When you moralize how you eat, you can create negative feelings and thoughts about yourself. Challenging these thoughts and rules you have set up for yourself is essential in the intuitive eating process. 

5. Discovering Satisfaction 

Living within a diet culture means that we can overlook the pleasure of the eating experience. When you eat what you want to be eating, Your Satisfaction will be a powerful way to help you feel satisfied. When you have this type of experience, you will discover that it takes an adequate amount of food to decide when you are done eating. 

6. Feeling Your Fullness

To honor your fullness cues, you will need to trust yourself in knowing that you give yourself the foods you want. Essentially, it would be best to listen for the body signals telling you when you are full. In addition, you can observe any signs that show that you’re feeling comfortably full. Another way you can do this is by pausing in the middle of eating and asking yourself where your current hunger level is. 

7. Coping with Your Emotions through Kindness

Another critical step in the intuitive eating process is realizing that food restriction, both physically and mentally, can create a loss of control, which can then feel like emotional eating. As a result, it is essential to find ways to be compassionate with yourself. Also, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are common emotions that many people experience within their lifetime. These emotions can be triggered, and food will not help fix any of these feelings.

Even though food may provide comfort in the short term, it won’t solve the overall issue. Eating according to emotions can even make you feel worse long-term. It is essential to be kind to yourself and cope with the painful emotion’s source.

8. Respecting Your Body

One significant step in respecting your body is accepting your genetics and natural set point. This step can help you feel better about yourself. In addition, it can be difficult to reject the diet culture mentality if you are unrealistic about your natural body size or shape and are too critical of yourself. All body types and abilities deserve dignity and respect.

9. Gentle and Joyful Exercise 

Many people in the diet culture mentality will view exercise as a punishment to work off food. However, moving your body for joy and doing exercises that you like doing can give you more energy, and you’ll be more in tune with your body. In addition, you will be more inclined to exercise often if you see it in a more positive light. 

10. Honoring Your Health 

Making food choices that honor your health is essential. Health also involves eating food for pleasure and not just for nutrition. It is necessary to note that you don’t have to eat “perfectly” to be healthy. It’s what you consistently eat as time goes on that counts. Also, one of the best tips for intuitive eating is that it’s all about progress, not perfection.

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Billie Olsen

AUTHOR: Billie Olsen

Billie Olsen (she/they) is a lifestyle writer, disability justice advocate, and cozy femme located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Their works have appeared in Metro News, Discorder, Sophomore Magazine, the Post-Feminist Post, DINE Magazine, and NerdReader.

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