Intuitive Eating: What is it and how do you start?

What have you eaten today?

Take a second and reflect on the food you put in your body so far today.

What did you choose and why? Bring a bit of awareness to your food choices with curiosity.

Eating can be a tough topic for a lot of people. Wherever you are currently at in your food or eating journey, know that where you are is valid and completely okay.

Our bodies are one of the most important components of a healthy, functioning system.

How we treat our bodies is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves in other areas of our life. It can be a reflection for how we care for ourselves, support ourselves, nourish and treat ourselves. It’s important, but also complex and extremely personal.

There’s a lot of advice — my head hurts

Healthy eating and finding an optimal lifestyle for you can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin?

The thing is, there is actually TOO much advice out there. From diet fads, endless lists of what not to do, new protein powders, and fancy Insta bowls of avocado — the pressure to ‘do it right’ is everywhere.

(No shade to @veggininthecity, I actually love her account :))

Let’s keep it simple instead.

Listen to your body.

Plain and simple. Our bodies are wise and give us information constantly. But are we listening?

I’ve been exploring this in my own life over the last few years. And boy have I noticed, when I tune in and listen to my body, it tells me what it likes and what it doesn’t.

What works best for you in terms of healthy eating? Only you and your body have the answers.

Sounds simple, right? It’s not completely cut and dry and takes some practice. The best part is you can start today. In fact, the first step in listening to your body is to build an awareness of your body. This starts with awareness of your system in general, not just with food. When you feel a bit off, what has happened recently? Tune in and begin to ask yourself, what am I feeling, thinking, and what have eaten recently?

What is Intuitive Eating?

This approach to eating called Intuitive Eating was created by Evelyn Tribole, RD, and Elyse Resch, RDN in the 1990s. They’ve published three books on the subject now.

Intuitive eating is pretty much how it sounds. You eat as you wish by listening to what your body wants and needs.

Hungry? Learn how to notice your hunger cues and satisfy them.

Feeling shame about eating something ‘bad’? One of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating is making peace with food and the eating process.

Feeling sad? Practice self-soothing your emotions in other ways, instead of through food.

Feeling full? Notice this and honour the satisfaction.

Diets have a way of organizing food into categories of good and bad which can make food look like the enemy. Intuitive eating encourages you to honour, respect, and show gratitude for what you eat.

“It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.” — 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Tips for Getting Started With Intuitive Eating

Start a food diary

A food diary is a great way to start tracking your energy level, mood, and overall health in relation to what you eat. You felt a bit off today — what did you eat?

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Eat With Awareness

Another thing you can do tonight is to stop before making a default dinner. Ask yourself: is this food serving me? Do I remember feeling good the last time I ate it? Try to go into the meal with awareness and intention and you’ll be on the right path.

I have found that the more I listen, my body tells me loud and clear what foods make me feel energetic and which make me feel heavy and tired.

The more I listen to my body, the better I am at setting myself up for success, and most importantly, forgiving myself if I misstep.

Now when you see new articles popping up on the newest healthy eating trick, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

All the information you’ll ever need is already within you.