Friday, September 10, 2010

Intuitive Eating

Nutrition and diet have become very popular topics of study. How to properly lose weight, how to quickly lose weight, what to eat, what not to eat, eat this much of this, eat moderately of this and so on and so forth. There are more books and more shows on how to be healthy or how to lose weight and yet frustrations with weight and food continue.

Another approach has begun to take root; one that takes eating back to the basics and back to our innate knowledge of how to eat: Intuitive Eating. It can take some work to become reacquainted with your body’s ability to judge when and how much to eat, but once you do you won’t have to scour the lasted diet book for the answer to your weight and body image!

Here are a few tips to help you discover your Intuitive Eater:

1. Throw out the Rulebook: Throw the diet rules and ideas of being able to lose weight quickly and painlessly out the window. Forget the idea that every single thing you put in your mouth is a “right” or “wrong” choice. Embrace the fact that losing weight and getting healthy is a process and a lifestyle that takes intentional purpose. Also, once you learn and understand how to eat healthy as a lifestyle, you quit judging every bite and just let yourself eat with minimal thought and maximal purpose.

2. Honor Your Body’s Signals: When you are hungry (actually hungry), EAT. If you ignore your body’s need for energy, you are more likely to overeat latter. Once you become ravenous, the good intentions of eating well go out the window. Reestablish trust in your body’s signals. It will tell you when you have had enough. Eat slowly and pause to listen and feel. How does the food taste?

3. Face Your Emotions: Pay attention to your feelings. Develop the ability to recognize when you are exciting, anxious, bored, sad, or upset. What do you do with these emotions? How do you release them? Embrace your feelings. Allow yourself to actually feel them. Don’t try to shoo them away as soon as they crop up or to make yourself feel better by eating them away. Food can be comforting, but cannot fix or eliminate the issue at hand. If you turn to food, you will ultimately have to face both the emotion and the food issues. Lets face one at a time!

4. Make Peace with Food: Stop fighting with it! Give yourself permission to eat. If you deprive yourself, once you finally give-in, you are likely to overeat. Don’t make every meal a guilt trip. Eating should be a pleasurable, satisfying experience.

5. Joyfully Eat: Eating should bring pleasurable feelings. Its important to feel satisfied after a meal. Otherwise, you are likely to keep eating in hopes of creating that positive experience. If you choose foods that you enjoy and eat in a comfortable and affirming environment, you are more likely to feel satisfied and to be able to know when you are comfortably full.

6. Love Yourself: Unfortunately, we are not all created equal. We have different body types and genetics. Quit comparing yourself to others and trying to get your body to be something it is not. Find your own body’s healthy and love it. Respect it. It is, after all, yours.

7. Get Moving: Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; it just needs to be moving! Find movements you enjoy to help you be active. Walk the dog, go hiking with a friend and catch up on the latest scoop, take the stairs at work, go to the park on your lunch break. Once you start doing it on a regular basis, you will discover how much better you will feel and how you will begin to crave it. So, get outside and get moving!