Suruchi wanted to love food again, she wanted to pop a juicy strawberry into her mouth, enjoy a gooey slice of cake at her son’s birthday party guilt-free, go to a dinner party and eat whatever her friend had prepared. But, what was stopping her from enjoying eating? She weighs 110 kilograms and has been dieting since she was 17!
Dieters are often tired of unyielding results and stand at war with food. Dieting can intensify your appetite so that you actually gain weight. Solution? Intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating, also called attuned eating, non-diet eating or mindful eating, is an approach that involves listening to your body’s natural cues or signals like hunger and fullness and mastering your own feelings about your body and food. It teaches you to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body, where you ultimately become the expert of your own body.
When you have a history of chronic dieting or rigid health rules about eating, no-brainers like “eat when you are hungry,” “stop eating when you are full” and “trust yourself” seem difficult. Weight loss success through intuitive eating is based on the concept that the body knows naturally what nutrients it needs, and how much, and signals this through appetite.
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Reject Dieting Mentally
Diet books and magazines that offer false hopes do little or no good in helping you lose weight permanently. For intuitive eating to be a success, reject all the information that comes your way about dieting. In fact, make yourself realise that such a word may exist only in the dictionary. Remember all those times that led you to feel like a failure when a new diet stopped working and you gained all the lost weight back. Don’t allow yourself to even remotely hope that a diet programme may work. Be free to rediscover intuitive eating.
Abide by Your Hunger
Your body needs adequate energy and carbohydrates; give it that. If you don’t, the lack of it will drive you to overeat. Feeling hungry is your first biological signal and you should satisfy it before it turns into bouts excessive hunger and all your attempts to conscious eating become irrelevant.
Stop your fight with food and make peace with it. When you tell yourself that you shouldn’t have a particular food, you drive yourself towards a feeling of deprivation, uncontrollable craving and ultimately, the desire to binge. The intensified craving for that food will result in overeating once you give-in to your forbidden foods. So, give yourself an unconditional permission to eat.
Rebel Against Food Policing
Of course, the perennial dieting has made you think that you are good when you eat less and that you are bad when you eat a chocolate pudding. Dieting creates that food police- the unreasonable rules that monitor your eating. Whenever you have such thoughts, scream a loud “NO.” Intuitive eating needs you to chase the food police away.
Honour Your Fullness
Stop eating when you feel full; listen to your body’s signal. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or snack and ask yourself how the food tastes and what your current fullness level is.
Regard Your Body Size
If you have a shoe size of eight, would you squeeze into a size six? Just like that, your body has a size and it is futile to try and bring it down to smaller sizes. Respect your body and feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are overly critical about your body size and shape.
Intuitive eating for weight loss enables you to make food choices that honour your health and taste buds without making you feel unwell. Consistency over the time matters the most for intuitive eating to be successful.