The majority of people don’t remember what it was like being a baby or toddler and not being influenced by diet culture and social media. They also don’t remember how easy it was to eat intuitively. When a baby is hungry, they eat. When they are full, they stop. As food is introduced, it is eaten based on taste and taste alone. The baby never thinks they shouldn’t eat whole milk because it has too much fat or they should only eat kale because it is a “super food”.
The questions that arise are, when did we as a society intervene with this process? At what point did we stop listening to our taste buds and stomachs? When did we stop trusting our bodies?
Intuitive eating is not a fad diet or a new way of eating; it is relearning how to trust our instincts. It is reconnecting with our bodies and listening to our needs. While this may sound easy, we are living in a society that makes this extremely difficult. How can you hear a whisper in a crowd of screaming people?
Dieting is a $60 billion industry designed to fail. If any diet actually worked in the long term, that business would be bankrupt. There is a 95% failure rate to dieting yet we continue to ignore this in favour of anything that helps us achieve that “perfect” body. Dieting can actually lead to disordered eating such as restriction and bingeing. It will also lead to eventual weight gain. Your body wants to be at a weight and shape that’s determined by your genetics. This is called your set point.
When you fight against your own biology, your body fights back making it harder and harder to lose weight and keep it off. This is why people fall into the yoyo dieting cycle. Many people argue that they are dieting for their health, but the truth is that staying at your set point is healthier for you than yoyo dieting and weight fluctuations.
Intuitive eating has been proven to work. Moreover, you can get off the dieting roller coaster and enjoy food again without guilt. It may not be the quick fix you are looking for and it may not lead you to the weight and shape you are looking for however, it will lead you to a healthier relationship with food and put an end to the unhealthy ups and downs dieting creates.
There are ten principles of intuitive eating:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honour your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Feel your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Cope with emotions without using food
- Respect your body
- Feel the difference movement makes
- Honour your health with gentle nutrition
In this monthly series, each principle will be explained so stay tuned. To learn even more and dive deep into this, check out The Intuitive Eating book and workbook by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.