5 Intuitive Eating Secrets for Sustainable Weight Loss
Intuitive Eating, when properly executed, promotes lifelong weight loss and health benefits
Intuitive Eating is a mind-body self-care eating framework-focused approach, to help one cultivate a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body.
As Carl Jung once said, “Soul and body are not two things. They are one.”
1st Secret to Intuitive-Eating – Ditch the Weight Scale
Breaking up with the scale is the first step in cultivating Intuitive Eating—which emphasizes trusting our body, and forgetting about the numbers—as it’s an inaccurate caliber in knowing our true health and the body composition ratio of body fat and muscle mass. It may also trigger unwanted anxiety, allowing the number on the scale to dictate our mood for the day. If it goes up, one may start to feel awful and depressed. The thing is, weight should not be the primary indicator of health status, but a change in behaviors—making great food substitutions and choices, mindful eating, and increasing fitness level. Making the goal as fat loss, rather than weight loss, may bring about substantial results.
The 3D Body Scan allows us to see our ratio, providing the first step in making changes to our health and improving our quality of life—better sleep, good mood, high energy, and better breathing. With this measurement, one can see their overall fat percentages go down even if the scale says otherwise.
2nd Secret to Intuitive-Eating – Listen to Your Body Cues
Intuitive Eating does not align with impulsivity, as it’s commonly mistaken for eating what we want, anytime we want, leading to binge-eating. In fact, Intuitive Eating goes alongside Mindful Eating with its corresponding 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating.
- Reject the Diet Mentality – Throw away diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.
- Honor Your Hunger – Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates.
- Make Peace with Food – Stop the food fight! Telling yourself you can’t or shouldn’t have a certain food can lead to cravings and binge eating.
- Challenge the Food Police – Say “No” to thoughts in your head that say you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.
- Feel Your Fullness – Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor – When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you experience will help you feel satisfied.
- Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food – Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food.
- Respect Your Body – It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and critical about your body.
- Exercise: Feel the Difference – Forget strict exercise. Just get active, have fun, and feel the difference.
- Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition – Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well.
By respecting our own inner wisdom and thus, aligning our mind and body, we allow ourselves to build self-awareness—feeling positive around food selection without any food aversion needed, making food choices that satisfy us and nourish our body, and becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues—to cultivate Intuitive Eating.
(Photo courtesy of @barleena)
3rd Secret to Intuitive-Eating – Shift the Diet Mentality
Intuitive Eating focuses on sustainability, a body autonomy approach that honors hunger and satiety, and practices body positivity. Shifting the diet mentality—a false belief by society that weight loss and food restriction may lead to health, confidence, happiness, and success—to Intuitive Eating brings healing to our relationship with food, letting the body weight settle into a comfortable, natural, and healthy place.
Intuitive Eating can be challenging at the beginning of the shift, as dropping the idea of dieting tools and food restrictions can bring about temporary uncomfortableness. Nonetheless, validating this state of discomfort is key, and appreciating our body gradually brings remedy. By cultivating sustainable behaviors, our mind becomes more aligned with our body—specific health needs and preferences.
4th Secret to Intuitive-Eating – Develop Sustainable Habits to Get Permanent Results
Forget exercise, just get moving, There seems to be a misconception that we have to go hard on ourselves when we work out. Oftentimes, exercising is mistakenly correlated to hitting the gym. However, the predecessor word for “exercise” used to be naturally physically active, which means moving for the necessity of survival (hunting) and prosperity (gathering). This implies that exercising doesn’t necessarily equate to going to the gym, but rather focusing on movement. And, it can happen anywhere, anytime.
As we get older, we forget how fun moving and being active can be! Moving about shouldn’t be a daunting task, we can make it fun and light, something that you love doing—walking the dog, parking in a farther lot, going for morning and evening strolls, taking the stairs, or walking instead of driving to the nearby store.
5th Secret to Intuitive-Eating – Work with a Nutritionist
Intuitive Eating, in a sense, is about letting go of things beyond our control and eliminating food and body shame, thus accepting our natural body size and favoring body positivity. The ultimate goal of Intuitive Eating is to align our food desires with our innate hunger and fullness cues. With more practice, we become more confident in letting go, gradually healing our relationship with food. Thus, plenty of self-compassion is needed, and getting additional support from a qualified practitioner, such as an RD or a Degreed Sports Nutritionist, can be beneficial.