You can eat almost what you want and maintain your weight to feel good. What sounds like a too good-to-be-true dietary promise sums up the basic idea of intuitive eating?
The intuitive diet is not chaos and it is not just doing whatever you want. On the contrary, it is about recovering communication with your body, to capture its real needs. It is not easy, because most eating habits are conditioned by habit, the environment or advertising. Intuitive eating suggests that you pay no attention to anything, only your own body.
WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING?
Eating intuitively is something we do from birth, but often forget throughout life. Babies and young children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. What they don”t feel like, they don”t eat. Although it sounds very simple, it is more complicated for adults.
Phrases that are repeated to children such as “if you finish everything, you will be bigger” or “if you are not good, you will not have dessert” influence our perception of “good” and “bad” foods, and above all it makes that we pay more attention to these messages than to those transmitted by the body.
Then, when we are adults and we seek help to improve our diet, we often find diets based on prohibitions, abstinence and mathematical calculations, which continue to distance us from the signals of our own body. Not surprisingly, it has been statistically proven that most diets fail or have high relapse rates and, in the long term, even lead to more weight and even eating disorders.
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An intuitive diet, on the other hand, is based on the assumption that the body “knows” what is the correct amount and the ideal food for it. If you listen to your body and interpret your hunger signals correctly, you will automatically eat healthier.
GET BACK TO INTUITIVE EATING WITH THESE 10 TIPS
Relearning to eat intuitively is a process. The objective is to eliminate the prejudices that are conditioning our diet to observe what the response of our body to each food is. At some point you will get to the point of correctly interpreting your body”s signals and you will be able to enjoy meals without thinking too much about it. To reach this goal, the following ten principles of intuitive nutrition will help you.
1. REFUSE DIETS
Weight loss diets abound like sand on the beach, if you”ve tried some of them already, you will know, so end them forever. The assumption that ignoring your body”s needs in a disciplined enough way will pay off is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. In order to eat healthily, it is important to re-listen carefully to what foods, and associated with them, what nutrients your body craves.
2. RESPECT YOUR OWN HUNGER
If you”re hungry. And yes, that is perfectly normal, because food is essential. Eating only salad all day while dreaming of other dishes and then at night, when you are starving, gorging yourself on chips or chocolate, is not good for your figure. Nor for your physical and mental health. Your body needs the confidence that it can have sufficient access to good nutrition at all times.
When you remove the prohibitions, you can eat when you have a man and stop eating when you feel satisfied or when your common sense tells you that the amount you have eaten is enough.
3. MAKE PEACE WITH “BAD” FOODS
Desiring above all what they tell you that it does not suit you is logical, it is a psychological phenomenon. The most famous example to demonstrate this to you is when they say to you: “Don”t think about pink elephants now.” What are you thinking about? Of course, pink elephants.
The principle works the same way with supposedly “bad” foods. The more you forbid yourself to eat pizza, chocolate ice cream, and soda (or whatever), the more you”ll think about it. Desires arise and are established that might not exist without prohibitions. Give them a try and you will see that you do not want to eat chocolate ice cream in the morning, at noon and at night.
4. CHALLENGE THE INNER CRITIC
A character inside you says learned things like “no more carbohydrates after 6 pm” or “dressing the salad makes you fat.” Do not listen to him. The negative stress that it generates in you leads, in most cases, directly to a spiral of hunger and causes the opposite of what you really wanted to achieve.
5. FEEL THE FEELING OF FULLNESS
There is a point of balance that lies somewhere between ravenous appetite and complete fullness. The objective is that the pendulum that goes from one side to the other describes a short journey, from an appetite that is not pressing you to a pleasant fullness, away from the feeling of bloating or satiety.
To achieve this, keep an eye out for the feeling of hunger and eat a little, just enough to make you feel satisfied. People who are in touch with their own needs and react in time to their feelings of hunger or satiety do not enter the “red zones” of the hunger scale.
6. EXPERIENCE MOMENTS OF PLEASURE
A meal that you really want, that is celebrated and enjoyed with every bite, will be more satisfying than a meal that you force yourself to eat, no matter how healthy it is.
To really enjoy your food, take your time, don”t let other things distract you, and feel every bite.
7. SEPARATE FEELINGS FROM FOOD
Eating out of boredom, loneliness, sadness, or frustration is not uncommon. It is about emotional hunger, because food is capable of producing feelings similar to affection. Sugar, for example, causes dopamine to be released, which makes you happy in the short term. So it”s no wonder we search the candy drawer when we”re feeling anxious for whatever reason. Unfortunately, the feeling of well-being doesn”t last long, and afterward you feel even worse, because your emotional needs remain unmet.
Distinguishing between emotional hunger and true physiological hunger is one of the keys to intuitive eating.
8. APPRECIATE YOUR BODY
Diets are often directly related to disparaging judgments about the outward appearance by buying it with ideals of beauty that are, in fact, unattainable. We are all different and that is good. After all, no one would ask you to wear size 36 shoes with a foot size 40. Therefore, do not ask yourself to wear a size that your body is not made for.
Recognizing your reality, and not only that, but being proud of it, is a necessary step to connect with your intuition. The “body positivity” movement (search #bodypositivity on your favorite social network) can help.
9. MOVE AND FEEL GOOD
Sport and exercise are part of a healthy diet. You can hear that everywhere, however, forcing yourself to an exercise that just doesn”t make you feel good will not be successful in the long run.
The most important thing about exercise is that it be fun, that it motivates you. It doesn”t matter if its long walks, a bike ride, or high-intensity workouts at the gym. Find the sport that makes you feel good, start slowly and gradually increase the pace.
On the other hand, psychophysical disciplines such as yoga or tai chi, which combine postures and movements, breathing, relaxation and a meditative attitude, are highly recommended options to improve the relationship with your own body and open yourself to its messages.
10. VALUE YOUR HEALTH
Trusting your intuition doesn”t mean you don”t need to know anything about nutrition. Everything you know is going to help you a lot. Nutrition knowledge will tell you which foods are the nutrients you need and which foods are problematic. From that general knowledge, your intuition will have a wide margin to move.
Nutrition will help you understand the messages your body sends you. For example, if you feel that your energy drops only an hour or two after eating and you feel hungry again, it is very likely that you are consuming too many fast-absorbing carbohydrates (bread and other products based on refined flours) and too little fiber.
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