If you are considering intuitive eating for weight loss after trying countless restrictive diets, eating this not that, and of course, monitoring calories– read this.
In this article:
- What is Intuitive Eating?
- Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss is a Double-Edged Sword
- Tips to Get Your Started with Intuitive Eating
Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss: Does it Work?
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is an approach to health and food that involves trusting your body to make choices and get in touch with your body’s internal signals–hunger cues, fullness, and satisfaction. It encourages you to stop when you are full and to eat when you are hungry.
Intuitive eating is not confined to diet culture, meal plan, or will power. In fact, it helps to have a positive relationship with food rather than counting calories, suppressing your appetite, and labeling food as “good” and “bad” like in most diets.
This is achieved by learning how to distinguish the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
- Physical hunger is when the body sends signals such as growling stomach, irritability, and fatigue, which tells you to replenish nutrients for energy consumption.
- Emotional hunger is driven by emotional need due to loneliness, boredom, and sadness, leading to cravings and excessive food consumption.
Intuitive eating is associated with helping chronic dieters recover and have a healthy relationship with food, eating disorders, and improving one’s self-esteem. By recognizing physical hunger from emotional hunger, you become aware of what your mind and body need.
Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss is a Double-Edged Sword
Besides having a healthy relationship with food, some studies have shown that intuitive eating may also aid in weight loss.
According to a literature review of extant research, intuitive eating has a strong correlation with both lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and better psychological health.
To start with, it is vital to learn about the philosophy behind intuitive eating. There are a total of 10 principles of intuitive eating. However, the fundamental principles are:
- eating when hungry;
- stopping eating when no longer hungry/full; and
- no restrictions on types of food eaten unless for medical reasons.
However, just because intuitive eating allows for unconditional permission, and no restriction to eating does not mean you can eat anything without limits. This is a common misconception and the exact opposite of being aware of what your body needs.
While intuitive eating may cause weight loss, it is not considered a weight loss diet. Therefore, it could also lead to weight maintenance or weight gain. If your goal is to have a healthy relationship with food and lose weight, talk to your dietitian to discuss the desire for weight loss.
Tips to Get Your Started with Intuitive Eating
If you have your eyes set on an intuitive eating approach, here are some steps that may help you start with:
Avoid Labeling Food as “Good” or “Bad”
Labeling food can pose several problems. Sure, food nutrition is not created equally, but when you label food as good or bad, this may lead to either a guilty feeling or overconsumption just because it is labeled “good.”
No food is good or bad as long as it’s consumed in moderation; learn to challenge your thoughts when it tells you otherwise.
Make Peace With Food
Have you ever felt the intense desire for something you cannot or should not have?
This applies to food consumption and chronic dieters. An intense sense of deprivation may build into uncontrollable feelings, overwhelming guilt, often bingeing, or worse, overeating and then throwing up.
Quit the Diet Mentality
The strong inclination to achieve unhealthy weight loss and unrealistic body goals comes from several factors, mostly from socio-cultural associations and the media.
However, this pressure greatly puts our mental and physical health at risk. More and more adolescents are conscious of their body image, which negatively affects self-image and self-esteem. This eventually leads to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binging, and purging disorders.
Learning to prioritize your health may take a while, but your future body will thank you for it.
Intuitive eating is about listening to your body and being mindful of how you eat. It promotes a healthy way of looking at food. Although it may lead to lower BMI, intuitive eating for weight loss is not considered as a diet; instead, a form of recovery for chronic dieters.
What are your thoughts about intuitive eating for weight loss? We would like to hear your idea. Let us know in the comments section below.