Intuitive eating is defined by professionals as mind-body eating. What intuitive eating is NOT is a “diet” designed to help you lose weight. “Essentially, Intuitive Eating is a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs.” (www.intuitiveeating.org, 2018) Intuitive eating encourages you to listen to the signals your body sends you and eat based on those signals.
Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for reasoning. Many things we do in everyday life are like this, breathing, digestion, listening, and many more. We don’t have to think much about the things we do each day to keep us alive, but so much thought and pressure has been placed around food and eating as time has gone on. In reality, eating is not that much different from these other things. Eating is something that we must do each day to stay alive and shouldn’t be something that we put a ton of pressure on ourselves for. We frequently find ourselves thinking about what we are eating, how much we are eating, and why we are eating, when we could just be listening to our bodies and responding to the signals it is sending up.
When you sit down to eat a meal, turn the TV off and pay attention as you enjoy your food, your body has time to receive the signals the food is sending it. Your body is continuously sending you signals about what it needs and the same applies to nutrients. If you find you are craving a certain food there may be a biological reason for it. The food you are craving may contain nutrients your body feels deprived of or is deficient in for some reason. Also, your body is sending you signals of hunger and thirst and this awareness can promote healthier water drinking habits and assist in boosting your metabolism as you eat more healthy foods throughout the day.
So, provide your body with the nutrients it needs and craves. Tune in and listen to your body and how it communicates with you throughout each day. Notice what you crave and why you crave it. Crave sugar all day? Maybe you need more fruit. Crave salt all day? Maybe you need more vegetables and water. Crave meat? Maybe you are low on iron or protein. Respond to your body’s signals with the healthiest habits you can and if you crave junk food, give in a little bit here and there. Completely depriving yourself of something you love will only lead to binging later.