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Intuitive eating is different from any other diet: 5 tips you need to know to succeed

Intuitive eating: Solutions to common obstacles

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Intuitive eating is not just another fad diet; it’s a whole new way of approaching food and your relationship with it. Instead of relying on external rules and restrictions, intuitive eating empowers you to listen to your body’s inner wisdom and trust its cues for hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. 

Instead of adhering to diet mentalities that promote quick weight loss, it is about embracing self-compassion and honoring your body.

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Diet culture and its influences 

Diet culture encompasses the beliefs, attitudes, and practices that prioritize weight loss and thinness as the ultimate markers of health and well-being. It exerts a strong influence on modern society, shaping our perceptions of our bodies, food, and overall health. 

The diet industry perpetuates diet culture by offering a wide range of weight loss programs, products, and diets promising rapid and significant results. This constant pressure to conform to societal ideals can have detrimental effects, including body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and disordered eating behaviors.

Disordered eating refers to a range of abnormal behaviors and attitudes towards food, weight, and body shape. A wide range of behaviors can be observed, ranging from mild to severe, such as restriction, binging, purging, and excessive physical activity.

Man with hands in the air

Defeating diet culture

Breaking free from diet culture and developing a healthier relationship with food is a multi-step process. But, intuitive eating can replace diet culture’s unrealistic expectations.

Our relationship with food can be improved by listening to our body’s hunger and fullness signals. In order to rebuild trust in ourselves and in our food choices, we need to be aware of our body’s signals. 

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Understanding your body’s natural hunger cues 

Natural hunger cues are the body’s way of signaling its need for nourishment and energy. These cues can manifest in various ways, such as a growling stomach, feeling lightheaded or fatigued, experiencing difficulty concentrating, or even feeling irritable. 

Each person may have slightly different sensations associated with their individual hunger cues, but it generally involves a physical sensation that signals the body’s need for food.

Often, intuitive eating and weight loss go hand-in-hand, so you may want to consider working with a registered dietitian or therapist who specializes in intuitive eating. By providing you with tailored information, suggestions, and strategies, they can assist you in safely and effectively achieving your goals.

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5 tips for incorporating intuitive eating principles into your daily life

  1. Get rid of the diet mentality. Getting healthy doesn’t require strict diets. Focus instead on nourishing your body with foods you enjoy and that make you feel good. Progress is what matters in the long run, not perfection.
  2. Be mindful when you eat. Get in touch with your body’s cues and sensations during meals by practicing mindful eating. Limit distractions, slow down, savor each bite, and pay attention to the flavors, textures, and satisfaction you derive from your food. 
  3. Embrace your hunger and fullness. Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you are physically hungry and stop when you feel comfortably satisfied. Let go of external influences that dictate portion sizes or eating schedules, and trust your body.
  4. Allow yourself to eat whatever you want, guilt-free. It’s common for restricting certain foods to lead to intense cravings and overeating. Eat a wide range of foods to find balance and satisfaction.
  5. Throughout this process, be kind to yourself. Intuitive eating is a journey, and it is normal to have setbacks or moments of uncertainty. By being understanding, forgiving, and patient with yourself, you will be practicing self-compassion. 
Brittney Bertagna, RN
Brittney is a graduate of California State University, Chico, where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Business. Her…
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