Do you know what is intuitive eating? It’s a positive way to think foods and it encourage to listen differently basic needs and their signals like hunger. It’s very different from “traditional” diets or hard discipline. Intuitive eating is more like a way to trust our body and our individual needs. Karine Gravel, nutritionist and doctor in nutrition, helps us understand this approach more clearly in this article.
What is intuitive eating?
It’s a global, positive approach about food that provides lasting change, while promoting a sense of well-being. This caring approach is characterized by listening to your needs, such as hunger and food preferences. Intuitive eating focuses on the internal signals of hunger and satiation to regulate your food intake, consider your emotions involved with eating, and aim for long-term regulation of your body weight.
Rather than depriving oneself, eating intuitively involves recognizing the reasons for eating for reasons other than hunger as well as recognizing the reasons for eating beyond one’s sense of satiety, without judgment.
What are the key principles?
Dieticians and Intuitive Eating authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch provide 10 principles to become an intuitive eater:
1. Reject the diet mentality; these diets create false hopes.
2. Honour your hunger when it is moderate.
3. Make peace with food.
4. Stop categorizing foods as good or bad.
5. Consider your fullness to know when to stop eating.
6. Discover the satisfaction and pleasure of eating.
7. Cope with your emotions without using food.
8. Respect your body as it is now.
9. Be physically active for enjoyment, not for losing weight.
10. Honour your health and taste buds with your favourite foods.
How is this kind of eating different than others?
Intuitive eating is an alternative to dieting; it applies throughout the day and night! It’s a positive, flexible and comfortable approach to healthy eating. As for food and food choices, people who eat intuitively will ask themselves the following questions: Am I hungry? Does it taste good?
On the other hand, a restrictive approach is more about controlling people’s diets, which all-too-often leaves room for guilt if they fall off the bandwagon.
Also, the value attributed to food is global, which means that it is nutritional as well as psychological, cultural and sensory. We not only eat foods for their nutrient content but also because they bring us some satisfaction.
How do you integrate conscious eating into everyday life?
For someone who has dieted or is concerned about food and body weight, leaving a controlled situation to adopt an intuitive diet may seem unsettling. However, eating intuitively is something you learn gradually; as food no longer becomes a source of guilt or deprivation, the cycle of restriction and food rage fades.
Intuitive eaters will learn to distinguish between hunger and the desire to eat, experience their emotions without necessarily using food and respect their bodies. This last point involves accepting one’s natural weight, that is, the desirable weight to be healthy; being at war with your body makes it difficult to be at peace with yourself and with food.
What benefits are possible from intuitive eating?
Eating intuitively provides several scientifically proven benefits to your physiological and psychological health.
Intuitive eating is inversely associated with being overweight and obese, the body mass index, body dissatisfaction, eating disorder symptoms, restrictive diet-related behaviours, food anxiety, as well as concerns about the nutritional content of foods.
In contrast, intuitive eating is directly associated with maintaining or losing weight, having a positive body image, food variety, being motivated to be physically active for enjoyment, and general well-being.
You will give a workshop about intuitive eating at Le Monastère in January. What can you tell us about it?
For the third consecutive year, I will have the pleasure of facilitating a workshop in what I consider to be the perfect place for reflection: Le Monastère des Augustines. During my workshop, called Manger librement avec l’alimentation intuitive, I will provide you with theoretical notions, experiments and personal reflections to develop a healthy relationship with food and a positive attitude towards your body.
We will address the signs of hunger and satiation as well as emotions, body image and physical activity to better understand our own eating behaviours. Being in a small group is a great opportunity to exchange and to learn from others.
Through my workshop, I invite you to eat more freely and become the expert of your own body.
Karine Gravel’s Manger librement avec l’alimentation intuitive workshop will take place from January 25 to 27, 2019, at the Le Monastère des Augustines. It’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to this way of perceiving your food intake positively. Take note: the workshop is in French only.