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Embrace Health with Intuitive Eating

Published online: Feb 02, 2024 Health & Wellness
Viewed 924 time(s)

By Emily Maus, RD

Diets are a complex obsession, especially during the new year. They are a quick fix to lose weight, but are not realistic to follow for a lifetime. Unlike diets, intuitive eating is an approach to eating that incorporates trusting your body’s needs, while honoring satisfaction. No restriction, counting, or tracking is involved. 

Intuitive eating is a term established by Registered dietitian Evelyn Tribole and nutrition therapist Elyse Resch in their book Intuitive Eating. In this book they outline intuitive eating as a sustainable approach to eating that may transform your physical health and improve mental well-being.

Over 100 studies completed on intuitive eating have shown benefits of increased overall well-being, decreased likelihood of having an eating disorder, and lower risk of developing diabetes. Mental wellness is a positive of intuitive eating. Less anxiety and stress over food choices and body size help people achieve a healthy weight for their body and lower their risk for chronic conditions. According to an observational study done by the National Library of Medicine, diabetic people who eat intuitively have controlled blood sugar regardless of their BMI. 

Becoming an intuitive eater is not an easy task. This approach to eating requires that you unlearn food rules, allow yourself to eat all foods, and eat when you are hungry. Some concerns that arise from people who are not yet intuitive eaters are fear of gaining weight and hesitation to allow consumption of any food they crave. Some may think if they start eating cookies again that they will never stop. A feature of intuitive eating is tuning in with your body and choosing foods that feel the best for mental and physical health which probably will not be a whole sleeve of cookies. 

A first step to becoming an intuitive eater is to let go of labeling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. For example, cookies and carrots are neither good nor bad. Each food serves a purpose, one provides vitamin A and fiber, the other adds happiness and energy. While diets say avoid specific foods, intuitive eating supports choosing all foods while adding gentle nutrition.

Learning any new skill takes patience. It is likely a new intuitive eater will overeat on occasion or feel they are leaning towards a diet if they choose the salad over the burger, but over time confidence in food choices will be built. Focus on what your body can do and how you want to feel in your body, use this as a motivator for food choices rather than the goal of shrinking your body. 

If you are ready to leap into a life of freedom from food shame and improve your health in an approach that lasts a lifetime with guided support from a registered dietitian, email Emily Maus, RD at contact@livewelldietitian.com or visit livewelldietitian.com

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