Unleashing the Ancient Wisdom of Intuitive Eating: A Proven Formula for Mindful & Healthy Eating

Intuitive eating is neither a crash diet nor a weight loss program.

Intuitive eating is the ancient way of eating that honors your body’s desires. It is the key to fulfilling your mind-body-food cycle.

Emerging studies are of the opinion that people who follow intuitive eating styles have better BMI and better mental health. They also tend to maintain a constant weight, unlike people who follow fad diets. People following strict diets tend to lose weight faster but this change is temporary. Several studies found that people following these fad diets are more likely to binge on unhealthy foods. They also overeat on their cheat days and their choice of food also affects their happiness factor.

So, let’s take a deeper look and understand what’ intuitive eating is?

Also Read: The most common eating mistakes that people make

What’s intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is basically an eating philosophy in which you let your body be the guide. You eat when you feel hungry and you honour your body’s natural cravings. Several studies have shown that honouring your body’s natural cravings is important for your physical and mental well-being. Certain studies have also linked this behaviour of intuitive eating with weight loss.

So, intuitive eating is a way of establishing a healthy relationship with your food. It means honouring your cravings, attaining fulfilment through food and being forgiving towards your own self. 

Also Read: Stop Emotional Eating with these 9 proven tips

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is, in a sense, the freedom to choose the food of your liking. It’s putting your body in charge of your choices. Scientific studies have found that intuitive eating has several mental and physical health benefits. One of the biggest benefits of intuitive eating is peace of mind and contentment. 

People who are content and happy tend to have better metabolism. They are also more likely to have a positive attitude and are more likely to be physically active. People who follow strict diets tend to be more frustrated. At some point, they tend to break free of their regime and fall into the revenge eating pattern.

5 benefits of intuitive eating

1. Intuitive Eating provides you with the right nourishment

No dietitian or nutritionist in the world can understand your body better than your body itself. Your body has a way of telling what it needs through your food cravings. Studies have also found that food cravings arise because of an emotional need. It can help alleviate your stress or anxiety. Thus, leaving your cravings unfulfilled can amplify these uneasy feelings. 

2. Intuitive Eating boosts your mental functioning

Research has shown that food cravings can affect your brain. When you are craving a particular food, you are engaging your cognitive functions. This inhibits their brain functioning. A study found that participants who were craving a particular food faced difficulty in solving a problem or understanding a problem statement as compared to those who were not.  

3. Intuitive Eating for weight loss

In addition to that, studies also suggest that intuitive eating can lead to better weight management. People who suppress their cravings are more likely to fall into a pattern of binge eating. Studies have found that people who honour their cravings eat fewer calories than those following a particular diet style. Honouring your body’s natural instincts can help you lead a balanced lifestyle. This is the key to your weight loss goals.

4. Intuitive eating for your psychological health

Studies have shown that one of the most prominent benefits of intuitive eating is better psychological health. People who followed an intuitive eating style had better self-esteem, and a positive body image. They report an overall improvement in quality of life and lower incidences of anxiety and depression. Studies also reported that women who followed this lifestyle of intuitive eating were less likely to develop eating disorders which are very common with other diets.

5. Intuitive eating is an easy lifestyle

While many find it difficult to fit into a fad diet, participants were happy to follow an intuitive eating lifestyle. Studies also found that intuitive eating programmes have better retention rates than any crash diets. This means people are more likely to stick to the program as they found it easy to adjust to small dietary changes.

Intuitive eating principles

Intuitive eating is a natural phenomenon that follows no rules and restrictions. However, going for intuitive eating without setting the principles right can cause more harm than good. So, here are 10 simple intuitive eating principles that you must follow.

1. Shed the diet mentality

Today’s modern generation is programmed to count the calories before any food in their mouth. However, restricting your eating with these numbers is not only stressful but also unhealthy. So, if you are up for trying an intuitive eating lifestyle then shed the idea of calorie counting. Open yourself to discovering the goodness of foods without any guilt!

2. Tame Your Hunger

It is scientifically proven that staying hungry for long hours can lead to unhealthy choices of foods. It also triggers a drive to overeat. So, whenever you feel that little urge of hunger that is not yet intense, but it’s a low signal, feed your body with something healthy. This will lead to conscious eating and a balanced way of approaching your food.

3. Know that Food is good

The rising incidences of obesity are making people believe that eating food of your choice is a bad thing. People are continuously telling themselves that they should not or could not eat. This negative attitude towards food impacts our relationship with the nourisher. Giving yourself permission to eat will help you choose better and make mindful decisions rather than forced decisions.

4. Stop being the moral critic 

That voice in your mind which tells you that one single bite of your favourite food can give you diabetes or make you obese is your enemy. Stop that voice from guiding you on this food journey. Stop being a negative critic and approach your food with positivity. 

5. Eat for your heart’s content

Studies have proved that pleasure is an important parameter for healthy living. When you follow a stringent diet, you deprive yourself of the pleasure and satisfaction of eating. The pleasure of eating what your heart desire plays a very important role in marking your satisfaction.

6. Feel the happiness of Fullness

When you give yourself the freedom to choose your food, you tend to feel that feeling of fullness. Since you know that you have the freedom of eating food again, as and when you desire you don’t tend to overeat. This is very crucial in maintaining a healthy eating balance.

7. Be attentive to your emotions

Food cravings are often more of your body’s emotional needs than physical needs. People crave more when they are emotionally distressed, anxious, bored, depressed or stressed. Food can bring you temporary comfort but it cannot fix your problem. So, it’s important to acknowledge and address your emotional needs. 

8. Be kind to your body

Just like every one of us has a different shoe size, every one of us has a different body type. This is determined by several factors including our genetics,  Trying to fit into a particular body type is not only unhealthy but also unrealistic. So, the best way to approach your body type is with positivity and gratefulness. 

9. Exercise every day

The best approach to leading a fit life is neither over-exercising nor dieting. It is rather finding that happy balance between the two. Eat whenever you are hungry and whatever your body feels like and then support your digestion with proper movement. Ayurveda never approves hardcore exercising that is too much for the body. Even simple movements like walking and free-hand exercises can work great in improving digestion and boosting metabolism.

10. Give yourself the liberty of choice

Depriving yourself of the basic choices of life is a cruel punishment that you don’t deserve. This often results in patterns like revenge eating or commonly known as binge eating. Always choose food that could bring you satiety and satisfaction. Just remember moderation is the key. 

Intuitive eating criticism

While research is ripe with the benefits of this ancient style of eating, there are a few downsides too that we cannot ignore. Firstly, intuitive eating is not suitable for everybody. People suffering from chronic health issues must refrain from eating certain things. Thus, this lifestyle can do more harm than good in such people.

Secondly, people having eating disorders or those suffering from mental disorders or those under medications should consult their doctor before making any changes in their dietary regime. 

Thirdly, one should remember that responsibility comes with freedom. Though intuitive eating gives you the freedom to choose when and what you want to eat, it does not approve of unnatural eating patterns.

Your takeaway!

Intuitive eating, though this term was coined in the 1990s, is a very ancient style of eating. A few decades ago, when the market was not flooded by unhealthy foods, people used to listen to their intuitions and decide their menu. And as I always say, eat what your ancestors ate, following such a routine is undoubtedly more beneficial than following crash diets that cause more harm than good.

If you are still in two minds, try this for a month and share your reviews. 

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