Are you familiar with the concept of Intuitive Eating? It's an approach to healthy eating that is the opposite of "dieting." Intuitive Eating is based on the idea that the best way to achieve a healthy weight is to connect with your body's natural hunger signals and respond to them accordingly.
Sounds kinda radical, doesn't it? Especially if you have been conditioned by our diet-obsessed culture to believe that the answer to healthy weight loss lies in some externally prescribed diet.
The whole concept is gaining in popularity and goes by lots of different names, such as instinctive eating, non-dieting and conscious eating, for example.
When I first read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, I couldn't believe that it was possible to trust my body and was convinced I would gain a hundred pounds if I tried it. So instead, I continued reading diet books and jumping from program to program, believing that the answer to my weight issues resided outside myself.
Several years later, I discovered Geneen Roth and her books on emotional eating and decided to give the whole intuitive eating thing a go. By then, I had discovered the mind-body benefits of yoga and was much more in tune with my body and it's signals, so it finally seemed plausible that I might be able to eat what my body wanted and not lose control. I had also adopted many of the healthy eating habits suggested by Mireille Guiliano in French Women Don't Get Fat, another non-diet approach to weight loss, so was already learning to tune into my hunger and full signals.
For any weight loss approach to work, you have to be in the right frame of mind. Intuitive eating is not about abandoning your common sense, throwing caution to the wind and eating everything in sight. It doesn't give you license to eat poorly. (Your body actually prefers nutritious food.) It's about finding your personal happy healthy balance.
It's an approach that advocates being in tune with your hunger, sensible eating and allowing your body occasional indulgences without guilt. It's about freeing yourself from the food anxiety that is so prevalent in our society.
To be successful requires that you really learn about yourself and your eating habits and that you learn to be keenly aware of the situations that present big challenges for you and develop mechanisms for dealing with them.
Here are 7 healthy eating guidelines to help with your transition to an intuitive eating lifestyle. Although, I've committed them to memory, in the beginning, it's helpful to keep them posted where you can refer to them often.
Remember, these are not meant to be another set of rigid rules, but rather guiding principles to support you in developing a happy, healthy relationship with yourself. And remember, this is an ongoing process of self discovery, not a quick fix.
7 Guidelines for Intuitive Eating
1. Eat when you are physically hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment.
3. Eat without distractions such as radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety provoking conversations or music.
4. Eat what your body wants. (Your body, not your spoiled inner child!)
5. Eat with the intention of being in full view of others.
6. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
7. Stop when you are full.
By committing to adopt and implement these guidelines, you will find yourself firmly planted on the path to anxiety free eating and weight loss, something I wish everyone caught on the diet treadmill could discover.
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