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Intuitive eating: Healthy and slim with body feeling


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19.09.2019 – 15:46

With body feeling
Intuitive eating: Listen to your body!

Intuitive eating: This does not only mean to pay attention to your own body feeling, but also to take time for eating and enjoying it.

Photo: imago images / Westend61

Intuitive eating: This does not only mean to pay attention to your own body feeling, but also to take time for eating and enjoying it.

A healthy diet is ultimately individual. Intuitive eating teaches you to find the right diet and thus to achieve your desired figure. We explain why nowadays people hardly ever eat intuitively and how the approach works.

Sweets, cakes, crisps, fatty foods, chocolate, pizza: Clearly, this should be avoided in a healthy diet and especially in a diet. Or shouldn’t you? What would you say to a diet that does not have these rules, that even completely dispenses with rules that suit you individually and with which you can lose weight as a side effect?

With intuitive food this is exactly what is possible – without renunciation and hunger, but with pleasure, joy and even more satisfaction. We explain how the “anti diet” works, why many have forgotten their natural eating habits and what lies behind it.

Intuitive eating: Feeding according to the body’s senses

Intuitive eating or intuitive weight loss first appeared as a term in the USA in the 90s. It was here that American nutritionists – Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch – developed intuitive eating as an alternative to permanent diets. They had previously found that no matter how healthy and precise their nutritional plans were, their clients were unable to implement them permanently and lose weight in the long term. Even more: that this led to frustration and feelings of failure.

This is where the anti-diet approach came from: free yourself from all nutritional rules and dietary methods and rather listen to your own intuition – your own body – as a “nutritional guide”. This involves eating what is good for you individually and in the quantities that are good for you, thereby achieving your own feel-good weight and ultimately more well-being.

At the same time, it can alleviate complaints caused by food intolerances, for example. Intuitive eating is less about weight loss, but more about (re)perceiving one’s own needs, responding to them and being satisfied with oneself.

Finding your way back to natural eating habits

In fact, intuitive eating is not a new approach, but rather a return to our very own, natural eating habits. Infants and toddlers naturally reach for the food they need. They cry out for food when they are hungry and clearly signal when they are full – all intuitively.

But nowadays this intuitive eating has been forgotten by many. Reasons for this are among others:

  • Childhood eating rules: Already in childhood the first eating rules are created, which cover the personal body feeling. For example: “Eat what is put on the table”, “Only when the plate is empty may you get up”.
  • Permanent food supply: To be constantly surrounded by food, the always full fridge, advertising of tempting snacks and treats seduce to eat all the time – no matter if you are hungry at all.
  • Preset portion sizes: The packaged salad, the ready meal or the meal order – portions come in standard sizes. They are often kept to, whether you were less hungry or more.
  • Distraction: Eating is often only a secondary matter. Distraction through television, mobile phone or even a full everyday life and lack of time can lead to the fact that the signals of our body, such as hunger and satiation, are overheard.
  • Diets and dietary rules: Diets and self-imposed dietary rules can lead to the mind making complete decisions about food and the body’s own needs simply no longer being heard or ignored.
  • Emotional food: Food is no longer just food intake. Meanwhile, food often has the function to comfort, distract, relax, pass time and other (emotional) reasons.

How intuitive eating works

Intuitive eating is all about finding your way back to your original and natural eating habits by paying attention to and trusting your body’s own needs: When am I hungry? Am I really hungry or am I more hungry or would I eat out of boredom? When am I full? What food do I feel like eating? What does my body need? Even alone, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full helps digestion and weight.

Here are some principles and tips for intuitive eating:

  • Say goodbye to diets and dietary rules. If necessary, throw away diet books, nutrition plans, articles and magazines you have at home.
  • Allow yourself to eat what you feel like eating and what you feel like or have a physical desire for. Eat without judgement, like guilt and guilt feelings. However, also pay attention to the digestibility of food: How do you feel afterwards? Do you have any complaints?
  • Pay attention to your natural feelings of hunger and satiety. When are you hungry and are you really hungry? When are you full? Breaks during the meal and a feeling inside yourself can help here.
  • Take time for a meal and eat with mindfulness, slowly, with all your senses, joy and pleasure.
  • Appreciate your body as it is and be grateful to it for what it does for you. By respecting its needs for food, you are already doing so.

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Conclusion on intuitive eating

Let’s be honest: What does not suit you individually and meet your needs, you will most likely not be able to implement permanently. And you may already have had exactly this experience with various diets and nutritional rules in the past.

On the other hand, a diet which is not based on renunciation, which focuses on your individuality and which is ultimately based on your own intuitive body awareness, sounds only logical. Intuitive eating starts here and offers, beyond the appropriate diet, more enjoyment and joy in eating as well as appreciation of yourself. Initial studies even show that intuitive eating is associated with a more positive attitude towards your own body and satisfaction.

The challenge of intuitive eating is certainly at the beginning to feel more into the body again and to learn to trust your intuition. This does not happen overnight and requires patience. However, the approach does offer the opportunity to free oneself from constant diets and ever new nutritional rules that unsettle and frustrate more than actually improve, and to build a relaxed relationship with food.

You can find more tips about a healthy diet on the topic page of our author Natürlich Nadine. You can also find different diets and dietary approaches on our extensive topic page Diets.

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