Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
Reject Dieting! Embrace Intuitive Eating
by Harriet Frew on July 9th, 2019

Intuitive eating tells you to listen to natural hunger cues and to respond to them.
You eat when you’re hungry. You stop when you’re full. It is the opposite of dieting, which is dominated by rules and calorie counting.

It also promotes a healthy attitude to food and body image. Remember that? So easy to lose perspective, in a culture delivering messages to shrink yourself.

And doesn’t intuitive eating sound so simple, natural and instinctual?

Simple maybe, but sadly, a practice many of us have lost.  Little body trust remains.

Instead, we hear the ‘shoulds’, hollering loudly and keeping appetites in check.

As a baby, your hunger cues would certainly have been intuitive. If you were hungry, you would cry, and be fed.

As you grew up, external messages from the world may have disrupted your ability to listen to your body.

As a child

‘Clear your plate, if you want pudding’.    
‘Don’t cry. Have a biscuit to feel better’.

As a teenager/young adult

‘I’ve started this shakes diet, why don’t you join me?’.

‘You look SO much better since you lost weight!’.

As you re-learn to eat intuitively, you will need to step away from these messages, by listening to internal physical and emotional hungers.

Physical hunger: when your body is telling you that you’re hungry. You might have a rumbling stomach; tiredness; irritability and food preoccupation. When you satisfy physical hunger, these signs disappear, as you will have met your body’s biological need for food.

Emotional hunger: when you eat to soothe an emotional need, often experienced as a craving. Beneath the craving, you might feel irritated, worried or miserable. You may have learned to temporarily numb feelings with food.

Thelma Wayler, Geneen Roth and Susie Orbach have all influenced the early intuitive eating trends. In 1995, dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch created an intuitive eating framework, including these 10 principles.

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

1.Reject the diet mentality – commit to abandoning dieting wholeheartedly. Discard diet books and wellness bibles; avoid slimming clubs,  blogs or social media that might lead you back down this dangerous, but seductive road.
2. Honour your hunger – keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Without this, you will trigger a primal drive to overeat, rendering intuitive eating impossible.
3. Make peace with food 
– give yourself unconditional permission to eat ANY food. Having forbidden foods makes you vulnerable to overeating and viewing these foods as special.
4. Challenge the food police – it is detrimental to morally label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Health is more than your physical diet. The food police only bring shame and guilt.
5. Respect your fullness – when you listen to your body, it will tell you when you’ve had enough. You might need to slow down your eating and re-tune into your body’s physical sensations.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor
– in our drive to shrink our bodies, we often miss a fundamental gift of human existence – the pleasure derived from the eating experience. Eating foods that you love, ticks the ‘yum yum’ box, leaving you satisfied.
7. Honour your feelings without using food – negative emotions are part of life. Although food can soothe you temporarily, long-term it doesn’t take away the pain. Instead, find ways to comfort and self-care without relying on food.
8. Respect your body
– work on accepting your body, with its unique genetic blueprint. We are all different shapes and sizes, with few bodies meeting crazy media ideals.
9. Exercise: feel the difference
– be active for the joy of movement, focusing on the benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing, rather than exercise motivated only by weight loss.
10. Respect your health – work to choose foods that honour your taste buds and your health, so enhancing wellbeing. You don’t have to eat a perfect diet; rather the bigger picture of how you eat consistently is key.

Be patient and kind with yourself in the process of relearning intuitive eating. It may take time to reconnect with your body. Role-modelling intuitive eating principles to your children, is the most effective way to raise little ones, who can do the same.

This post is live at SELFISH MOTHER

Posted in Being mindful, Bingeing, Body image, Dieting, Emotional eating, Exercise, Giving up dieting, Hunger, Intuitive Eating, Motivation and change, Overeating, Recovery, Self-compassion    Tagged with intuitive eating, SELFISH MOTHER, NO DIET, REJECT DIETS, emotional eating, RECOVERY FROM EATING DISORDER


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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.