intuitive eating can help with weight loss

What Is Intuitive Eating and Can It Help You Lose Weight?

Finding a diet is simple, it seems as though a new one is developed and pushed on us every day, but adhering to a sustainable, healthy diet is much more difficult. This is why many people are turning their backs to diets completely. Instead, droves of people are turning to intuitive eating to lose weight and lead a healthier life. 

What is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is a non-diet that teaches people to trust their body’s hunger signals. Instead of trying to suppress your appetite or boost your metabolism, you listen to what your body is telling you it needs and wants and then stopping when you are full. The aforementioned is the best part of intuitive eating: you eat what you actually want, when you want it. But, it is also the hardest part: being able to eat whatever you want, but only when you truly want it. 

The most common misconception is that those who practice intuitive eating for weight-loss can eat anything and everything, without limits. Not having parameters surrounding your food intake sounds like heaven, at first, but eating everything and anything without limits will cause your body to suffer. And eating what makes your body feel its best is what you are trying to do. You will begin to notice that indulging in your unhealthy favorites every day makes you feel tired, sick, and irritable, while filling up with whole foods, protein, and complex carbs is energizing. The slight change of perspective – that indulging in cake is not “bad” or “off-limits” but makes you feel physically bad when you eat it – makes all the difference. 

According to researchers at Brigham Young University, people who scored high on an intuitive-eating scale not only had less anxiety about food and got more enjoyment from eating but also had lower BMIs.

Surprisingly, if you stop focus so much on eating less, you will actually eat less. 

Weight loss with intuitive eating

If you want to try intuitive eating for weight loss, start with these four strategies. 

Remove distractions

It is so common to be distracted when you are eating, whether it is the TV, a book, your phone, or even serious conversation. So sit down with no distractions and pay attention to everything you eat. Note how it smells, how it tastes, and how you feel when you eat it. Engaging all five senses, not just taste, when you eat is a simple way to be more mindful. 

Eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full

As you begin this journey, give yourself full permission to eat when you are hungry. But be sure you are actually hungry, not bored, or angry, sad, or happy. If you do not have physical symptoms of hunger, like stomach rumbling, irritability, light-headedness, you may not actually be hungry. Then, ask yourself what you are hungry for before you choose something to eat. 

Get rid of the labels

The journal Appetite published research that showed that one in four dieters, as opposed to one in 25 nondieters, labeled foods with the words guilt or no guilt. You may be driven to consume more decadent foods because of the allure of them being labeled as “bad” or a “treat.” If you view all foods as being equal, you may be less drawn to the foods that make you feel worse. 

Eat slowly 

We all know (or are) that person that finishes their meal before others have even sat down. Instead, sit at a table while you eat and make the meal last at least 20 minutes. It is easier to gauge your body’s hunger and fullness signals when you are eating more mindfully. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found women consumed less and reported feeling fuller when they set their utensils down between bites and chewed each mouthful 20 to 30 times.