What does Intuitive Eating mean?

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What is Intuitive Eating and how it’s different to dieting?

The question that friend and buddying Health Coach, Sofia from Coach Sofia Fitness asked me to answer for her Back Pain Warrior community.

In this video we chat about:

  • Why diets, even the super holistic, “trendy” ones like Paleo, Keto, Whole 30 and Cleanses are just like fashion trends; they will come and go.

  • The 3 simple ways to practice “listening to your body” so you can wrap up the rest of your chocolate bar and have it for later (without it screaming your name!)

  • How you can use Intuitive Eating to identify food related symptoms like bloating and inflammation - plus my favourite tool I use with my clients to do this (free Intuitive Eating Journal download below!)

Check out the extended discussion below:

  1. What is the difference between following a diet and eating intuitively?

Great question. Intuitive Eating is following your inner guide, your physical and emotional cues, instead of a externally voice focused on eating the “right” or “wrong” way.

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Intuitive eating is a practice of becoming more in touch with our physical body cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction of food.

Sometimes this can look like choosing an apple for a snack and sometimes it’s eating a slice of apple pie because it’s more satisfying.

Building trust in your ability to meet your needs often means moving through fears and limiting beliefs about food and your body.

A dieter might fall into negative self-judge about eating a slice of apple pie, fuelling a diet-binge cycle “well I’ve already blown it now” reinforcing the belief that they need to just “try harder.”

An Intuitive Eater has detached emotional triggers to food. They eat the slice of apple pie and just move on.

Intuitive Eating is not an eat-whatever-you-want-diet.

It’s a sustainable, non-diet approach to the way you relate to food and your body.

Freedom, joy and satisfaction with food is possible for you too.

2. Ok, so what about cravings? If I crave chocolate every day, does that mean I just have to eat it because “I’m just listening to my body”?

If you’re craving chocolate every day, is it possibly this is a learn’t response to a circumstance or feeling? Maybe this is boredom in your workplace? Loneliness, disconnect in a relationship?

There’s usually a payoff to why we do what we do. Even if we don’t want to eat chocolate every day (and it doesn’t make us feel good after) the ‘false reward’ is that it provides some kind of; temporary relief and distraction, excitement, a sweetness to your day.

It can be helpful to make a habit of checking in with yourself about how your actually feeling and build the muscle of self-awareness around what’s really going on for you. You can ask yourself this simple question:

What am I feeling?

When we look at what’s underneath our learnt response you might see that it’s actually a symptom of stress, anxiety, fatigue for example. You understand that instead of feeling guilt for eating your “bad” food, you’re really just coping in a way you know best. Awareness is the key.

What do I need?

Once you’re aware of what’s going on, get curious and look at what’s really causing you stress, anxiety, or an unsettled feeling. Ask yourself: what do I really need? When you can get to the root of what is actually going on, you can consciously make a choice to change your self-soothing patterns (3pm chocolate binge), and decide to turn your focus on the real issue that needs some attention. Emotional-binge eating is the symptom not the problem.

What now?

I’ve got just the thing to help you process this connection to food and body with my free resource; the Intuitive Eating Journal.

It’s a practical guide to strengthening your muscles of listening, learning and gathering feedback. It teaches mindsets and tools of intentional eating so you can so you can get on living your LIFE with more freedom, trust and joy! Get the journal below.