Intuitive eating is a concept that assumes a person is very well in tune with their body and eating habits, trusting their serving sizes are the perfect match for their requirements. But is that really the case today and what's the deal with intuitive eating anyway? Let's figure it out.
Intuitive eating is supposed to remove the stress factor away from food as it derived from the trauma caused by years of counting calories and macros, being obsessed with the numbers and trying to hit each one perfectly so you never go "over" or "under."
It's supposed to help you listen to your own body's cues and let them guide you to find your perfect diet. The problem occurs when you're not in tune with your body as much as you'd like to be, and the portions you thought were perfect for you end up being way larger or smaller than your body actually needs. This is the greatest flaw of intuitive eating, and when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
In order to figure out if and how can intuitive eating work for you, you have to analyze your current eating routine and understand your cravings, which isn't an easy task to do, and the majority of people seem to struggle as they're trying to decipher their uncontrollable desire for chips or chocolate when they know they shouldn't go "over their calories."
Intuitive Eating Is Not For...
Those who need to have control over everything as it basically defeats its entire purpose. The goal of intuitive eating is to listen to your hunger and satiety cues and eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. No counting, no calculating, no checking the labels, no overthinking whether you've eaten enough or too much.
Those who have an eating disorder of any sort as they can't trust their bodies to know what's best for them.Those who are taking specific medications and are on a strict diet due to their condition. Always ask for your doctor's approval before changing anything with your diet and nutrition.
Those who are pregnant as they need to stay away from certain foods even if they crave them and make sure they're getting enough nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy.
Those who are training for a specific fitness or sports goal that requires following a strict diet in order to maximize their performance.
Those who're going through a lot of stress in their lives, making it unable to really tune into their body's cues and ignore the stress-eating signals and urges.
Those who live in a household with more people and need to comply to an eating schedule in order to feed the kids or take care of other family members.
Those who always seem to struggle with their weight, whether it be keeping it off or gaining, as there's a good chance their intuitive eating habits will either take them over the top or keep them depleted.
And those with a very tight daily schedule so they can't eat whenever they feel hungry as that's what intuitive eating is all about.
Intuitive Eating Is For...
Those who have the flexibility and the time to eat whenever they feel hungry without stressing about it.
Those who're in tune with their bodies and have done their research on their cravings and hunger cues, investigating what they actually need when they're craving something salty or sweet.
Those who don't need to feel in control and can let go when their eating habits are in question, allowing their bodies to guide them to exactly what and how much they should eat.
Those who don't put food into good and bad categories, trusting that each ingredient is good at the right time, not ever thinking about how much calories they're consuming and not stressing about any quantities.
Those who seem to maintain their weight when intuitive eating, as it's a sign they're eating the right amount of calories for their daily expenditure.
Can It Really Work?
When done correctly, intuitive eating can definitely work, and for those people who can implement it and actually stick to it, it can remove the stress factor from their diet and help them establish and nourish a healthy relationship with food.
Once you discover how your body likes and wants to be fed, all that's left to do is actually listen to it and discard any rules. Feel like eating tacos for breakfast and porridge before bed? Go for it. There are obviously specific reasons your body asks for these foods to be reversed and if it doesn't cause you any problems and actually makes you feel great, why would you even bother changing it.
It's important to keep in mind that no diet is perfect and how if something works for you at one point in your life, it doesn't mean it will work forever. There might come a time when intuitive eating won't be possible as you'll have more stressors in your life clouding your hunger and satiety cues, or you'll start a specific training program that requires following a strict diet, or you'll get pregnant and your cravings will completely be guided by your hormones.
Eating whenever you're hungry and stopping when you're full sounds exactly how eating should be done, but unfortunately, in today's world, we really seem to overcomplicate everything. Try tuning into your own body and reading the hints it's giving you!
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