3 Intuitive Eating Guidelines for the Road
Do you know you need to fix your relationship with food, but have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing?
I hear so often that people are kind of straddling the line between holding onto dieting and fully embracing Intuitive Eating because it feels like stepping off the edge of a cliff with no parachute.
At least dieting kept you under control and gave you some guidelines about what you should be doing, right?
So, what are you supposed to do now? Just eat whatever you want all the time? It’s hard to keep all the principles of Intuitive Eating in your head all the time, especially when you’re struggling.
Here are 3 general intuitive eating guidelines to rely on, no matter how confused you feel.
No diet rules and no guilt. If you’ve already eaten lunch but you get hungry again an hour later, it’s OK to eat again. If you eat two -- or ten -- chocolate bars one day for whatever reason, it’s OK. If you get your favorite pizza and have way more than you need, it’s OK! Treat circumstances like these as an opportunity to learn more about your body and how to treat yourself kindly. Removing the guilt from eating dissolves your emotional response to food, so you will be less likely to eat emotionally or rebelliously.
Give your brain a break and listen to your body. The point of intuitive eating is to reconnect with your internal signals about food and listen to your body. Stop overthinking every food choice, and just do what feels good. If you feel hungry, eat -- don’t look at the clock and analyze whether you “should” be or not. If something hot and hearty appeals to you more than a salad, have that. Your body knows what it needs, and the more you can respect it, the more satisfied you will be after each meal. (And the more satisfied you are, the less likely you are to overeat.)
Don’t turn Intuitive Eating into a diet. I know we are programmed to follow rules about eating, and it’s really hard to let those old patterns go. Remember the goal of this process is to ditch the rules and eat according to your own needs and desires. You don’t have to eat the second you get hungry or stop the second you get full. You don’t have to never eat emotionally or when you’re not really hungry. Your primary goal should be to learn, observe, and develop confidence around food. There are no mistakes, because this is a learning process. There’s no wrong way to do it, and you can’t screw it up.
I know how hard it is to accept that this process isn’t fast, and there aren’t quick “results” to check out in the mirror. This is an entire paradigm shift and lifestyle change, and you need to be very compassionate with yourself as you make the transition.
Don’t give up and go back to the old, tired diets. You know it doesn’t work, and you don’t need to put yourself through that terrible feelings of defeat again. Once you can grasp these ideas and really incorporate them into your life, the freedom you will experience will be well worth it.
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