Have you ever heard the phrase, “Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full”? This mentality is the focus of intuitive eating. Children are very good at self-regulating their intake by eating when they are hungry as they respond to biological signals that drive them to eat. As adults, sometimes we ignore these signals either because we are too busy to eat or we’re trying to
lose weight. Children also stop eating when they are satisfied. Many adults would find that if they could train themselves to stop eating when they are comfortable—not full, they would be better able to manage their weight.
Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind and body with the goal of ultimately becoming the expert of your own body as you become better at responding to your internal hunger and satiety cues.
There are a few principles which are important in helping you along your road to becoming a better intuitive eater:
- Remember to reject the diet mentality. People who diet almost always gain back their weight once they go off the diet.
- Make sure to keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates to avoid the drive to overeat.
- Give yourself permission to eat. If you are hungry, your body is telling you something important. Don’t deny yourself your favorite foods — there is room for everything in your diet if you remember moderation.
- Pay attention to the signals from your body that indicate that you are comfortably full — a good way to do this is to eat slower and pay attention to the taste of the food during meals. Enjoy the experience of eating. Food can be one of life’s greatest pleasures (Tribole).
Excessive energy intake has been implicated in diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and obesity. Many studies have shown that dietary restraint has been ineffective as a method for self-regulating eating habits.
Self-monitoring can be an effective way to achieve and maintain weight loss. People who monitor their intake of fruits and vegetables, physical activity (e.g., using a pedometer) and weight on a regular basis often have better success at maintaining weight loss and establishing mind over body control (Cornett et al. 2011).
Tribole, Evelyn, and Elyse Resch. Intuitive Eating: a Revolutionary Program That Works. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003. Print.
Cornett R A, Akers J D, Salva J S, Zoellner J M, Davy B M. (2011) Daily Self-Monitoring During the Winter Holiday.
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It’s not all long nights and snow. Five surprising health benefits of winter:
- Cold burns calories.
- Seize your “C.”
- Just add snow.
- Have a chat.
- Better sleep.
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