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Intuitive Eating

What is Intuitive Eating? Intuitive eating is a non-diet eating approach that promotes a healthy attitude towards food and body image. The goal of practicing intuitive eating is to understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger.

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01

Who should try intuitive eating?

If you are someone that is biochemically or hormonally optimal, and knows how to listen to internal cues, then you  already naturally intuitively eat without even thinking about it. Many experts in food disorders and endocrinology believe that once you are metabolically regulated and starvation has disappeared--which could take up a few years--you will naturally hear and listen to your hunger cues. If you are somebody that's already intuitively eating, then you don't need to question every hunger signal. With that being said, if you are out with a group of friends and want to treat yourself for a piece of cake, go for it. Bon Appetit.

02

If intuitive eating is suitable for you, how should you start eating intuitively?

It is important to seek a practitioner that could guide you through this journey. But intuitive eating is also about learning how to trust your body- learning how to trust your hunger cues and learning how to listen to them. This journey looks different for everyone, which means that there isn't really a cookie cutter of how long it should take you to naturally intuitively eat. Throughout this process you will learn more about your relationship with food and know which ones make you feel good. The ultimate key here is to learn how to trust your bodies because when we are optimal our body naturally works hard enough to keep us there.

Now, I am sure that you're asking yourself, should I track my meals? Intuitive eating is not a tailored diet where you would necessarily restrict your meals, it means to eat instinctively and listen to your internal cues rather than your external cues. What does this mean? Well, it means that if you are restricting  yourself to only eating 1,800 calories, per se, but your body is still telling you at the end of the day that it is hungry, you should listen to it. This works the other way around.

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Who is intuitive eating not right for?

Intuitive eating is not right for anyone who is underweight, going through bulimia, binge eating, orthorexia, and anorexia. Anyone who is overly restricting food should not practice intuitive eating. 

Also, for anyone who struggles with binge eating, it is important to mentally and physically prepare yourself before considering intuitive eating. If not treated, you may think that the right thing to do is to restrict food, but in reality when we restrict food, our bodies natural intuition is to go through a flight or fight mode when food becomes available. Your body will say "well, I don't know when you're going to feed me again, so I am going to keep on eating." This is where we should work on our S.M.A.R.T goals first and our relationship with food to ensure that we are setting ourselves up for success. This is something that a professional like a nutritionist and eating disorder therapist could guide you through. 

04

If intuitive eating is not right for you, what can you do?

Everyone could get to a point where they can learn how to listen to their hunger cues. It is important to first regulate your relationship with food by eating sensible balanced meals throughout the day for a period of time with the intent of restoring your weight and disappearing the tread of starvation. It is important to do this before practicing intuitive eating, because if you are someone who is underweight, your body will naturally send out different signals to preserve energy. When this happens, our leptin levels are continuously low which then sends a message to our body that there is starvation present which can cause our body to respond inadequately. 

Following nutrition guidelines is also part of the process but also knowing that those guidelines look different for everyone depending on our physical state. What's important is to base your meals around present guidelines which is eating lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, proteins, and essential fats. But I do want to point out that, "all foods are friends-- but like friends, there are some you want to spend more time with than others." This is exactly what we should do with food. It is completely okay to treat yourself every now and then, as long as we are eating (spending more time) more balanced meals.

Leptin: A hormone that helps control appetite and energy expenditure.

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