What is intuitive eating? Will intuitive eating help me lose weight?

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Intuitive Eating is a “mind-body self-care eating framework” that was created by dietitian and author Evelyn Tribole. Intuitive Eating is not a diet or food plan, it’s all about honouring your health and listening to the messages your body sends you. Will intuitive eating help me lose weight?

Intuitive Eating has 10 principles that participants need to live by – you do not need to count calories or put yourself through horrible workouts.

The official site explains: “There is not a single long-term study that shows that weight-loss dieting is sustainable.

“Study after study, shows that dieting and food restriction for the purpose of weight loss leads to more weight gain. Yes, weight gain.

“Worse, the focus and preoccupation on weight leads to body dissatisfaction and weight stigma, which negatively impacts health.

“Ultimately, you are the expert of your body. Only you know what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feels like. Only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

“Intuitive Eating is an empowerment tool – it’s time to unleash it and liberate yourself from the prison of diet culture and weight obsession.”

Fancy giving it a go? Here are the 10 principals,

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Reject the Diet Mentality

The first step to Intuitive Eating is ditching diet culture.

The site explains: “Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.

“Get angry at diet culture that promotes weight loss and the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight.

“If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet or food plan might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.”

Honour Your Hunger

You should always eat when you are hungry, according to the rules of Intuitive Eating.

The site says: “Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.

“Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant.

“Learning to honour this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust in yourself and in food.”

Make Peace with Food

Food is not the enemy! You don’t need to ban certain foods if you’re following the Intuitive Eating framework.

The official site states: “Call a truce; stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.

“If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing.

“When you finally ‘give in’ to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.”

Challenge the Food Police

The Food Police is anyone who preaches restrictive eating and tells you to cut back no what you eat.

The Intuitive Eating website says: “Scream a loud no to thoughts in your head that declare you’re ‘good’ for eating minimal calories or ‘bad’ because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.

“The food police monitor the unreasonable rules that diet culture has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments.”

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Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Food is more than just fuel – you need to feel full and satisfied.

The official Intuitive Eating site explains: “The Japanese have the wisdom to keep pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living.

“In our compulsion to comply with diet culture, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence — the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience.

“When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content.

“By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes just the right amount of food for you to decide you’ve had ‘enough’.”

Feel Your Fullness

It is wrongly assumed that Intuitive Eating is so lenient that you can eat as much as you want, but that’s not true. Your body has its limits.

The site says: “In order to honour your fullness, you need to trust that you will give yourself the foods that you desire. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.

“Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is.”

Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

Instead of eating your feelings, you should find kind ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues.

The site says: “Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings.

“It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger may only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion.”

Respect Your Body

Everyone has a different body shape and average size, and it’s important to accept what you were born with.

The site says: “Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size.

“But mostly, respect your body so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body size or shape. All bodies deserve dignity.”

Movement—Feel the Difference

A little bit of exercise goes a long way, but don’t force yourself to run for miles if you don’t enjoy running.

The Intuitive Eating site explains: “Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference.

“Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise.

“If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energised, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.”

Honour Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

Intuitive Eating isn’t about stuffing your face with doughnuts every single day. You need to try and make healthy choices that you still enjoy.

The site says: “Make food choices that honour your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy.

“You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or become unhealthy, from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.”

Will intuitive eating help me lose weight?

You have a better chance of losing weight through intuitive eating than you do any other diet – even though it is not a weight loss diet.

According to the London Centre for Intuitive Eating, dieting leads to slower metabolism, overeating and binge eating, rebound weight gain, food obsession and deprivation backfires.

In short, restricting what you eat will cause you to eat more or gain extra weight when you can’t continually eat less.

A staggering 80 percent of weight is regained within five years after being lost, so if you’re looking to lose weight you should do anything but enter a restrictive diet.

By allowing yourself to eat the foods you enjoy, eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, and not emotionally eating, you could lose weight.

Intuitive eating isn’t intended to help you lose weight, but it is a better choice than adopting a harsh and unsustainable diet such as the keto diet or a juice cleanse.

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