Part 1: What Is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating- heard of it? Probably. It is all over your social media feeds as the new buzz word, isn't it? But guess what, it isn't actually a new concept, but it is new to many of us as we begin to rebel against diet culture. Not only am I trying to use intuitive eating in the war against the diet culture we live in, but I'm also using it as a tool to heal my relationship with food.

I have split this post into two separate parts in order to keep things in bite-size chunks. In this first part, I want to explain to you what intuitive eating is, I want you to have a deeper understanding of this practice before I tell you how and why I am trying to implement this in my life- that will come in part two.

What is intuitive eating?

IE (because I am too lazy to continually keep writing the words "intuitive eating", sue me.) rejects diet mentality and basis of honoring your hunger, respecting your fullness. The diet cycle is a trap and we're trapped in it, with IE we have the ability to break the pattern, to get out and stay out. In IE you place a whole load of trust in your body, in your internal cues, to tell you when you are hungry and what food you need to fuel your body. It is a way to learn how to enjoy eating again, to break down the stigma we have created around eating, to stop seeing food as "good" and "bad". 

The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating.

1. Reject the diet mentality.
It is time to be bloody angry about the number of diet promises we have been sold over the years. The number of times we have seen headlines such as "drop 5kgs in 2 weeks!" and then skimmed through the pages hoping that the article will offer some new magic formula you haven't tried yet. 

2. Honor your hunger. 
Our bodies need fuel to be able to keep functioning adequately, that means we need carbohydrates, we need energy. You need to re-build the trust between your body and food. 

3. Make peace with food. 
Now is the time to stop the war against food, food is not the enemy, we need to stop viewing it as so. Allow yourself permission to eat, to eat all the foods you want, any type of food. Don't tell yourself you can't eat certain foods or certain types of foods, there should be no restrictions. 

4. Challenge the food police. 
Call yourself out when you find yourself mentally counting your calories, or when you find yourself viewing food as "good" and "bad". Those ridiculous rules that you find yourself trying to impose on yourself, call yourself out. 

5. Respect your fullness. 
Know the signs that your body is full, that you have had enough food. Let yourself get to the point of being comfortably full, not that terrible feeling of being over-stuffed. 

6. Discover the satisfaction factor. 
As a society, we have stepped viewing food and the act of eating as something that we should find pleasure and satisfaction in- isn't that sad? When you find the ability to find pleasure in food you will also find the satisfaction of being full and well-fed. 

7. Honor your feelings without using food. 
This means putting an end to emotional eating. No more eating to find comfort, no more eating to distract, food won't solve your issues, unfortunately- it is time to find a way to resolve your issues without using food as a resolution. 

8. Respect your body.
You cannot reject the diet mentality if you are viewing your body as something that constantly needs to be improved. If you find that respect for your body, you will feel better about yourself. 

9. Exercise- feel the difference. 
Physical activity, even the lowest impact of physical activity will only have a positive impact on you. Don't focus on the calories your burning, focus on how you are moving your body, how that movement is making you feel inside and out. 

10. Honor your health. 
Remember that healthy is about having a balance, it isn't all kale and quinoa. Soul food is important. Healthy is not one size fits all and looks different on all of us. 

Why do we need IE?

We need intuitive eating- we, as a society, really do need this concept. We are all stuck in the trap of the diet cycle and slowly but surely little populations of us are starting to break free, while the rest of us are looking at them with a frown on our face trying to work out how to join them where the grass is greener. We need to stop the stigma and the shame that we have somehow created around food, we need to be more accepting of our bodies and trust that they know when and what they need to keep us going. 

The principles I talked about above when followed (in order) will lead someone to a place where they can truly appreciate the food they are eating, accept the body they are in and be confident that their body knows what it wants. We need to forget the "rules" we have set for ourself and tap back into the instinctive knowledge our body has. 

In part two of this post, I want to discuss more how IE is helping me, how I am trying to change some habits with IE and take a deep dive into intuitive eating. Until then...