Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating

“Intuition Trusting Your Intuition and That Feeling in Your Gut-How intuitive eating can transform your body and your mind” by Dr. Alice E. Schlager was published on December 1, 2020 in psychologytoday.com.  Dr. Schlager writes about Intuitive Eating (IE).  Intuitive Eating describes paying attention to one’s inner guidance to know what and when to eat.  IE is not an advocate of following “toxic cultural food trends”, dieting, calorie counting, measuring portions, or food restrictions.  Dr. Schlager writes that intuitive based decisions can help people eat healthier which “ultimately transforms the body and the mind.”  Dr. Schlager notes that eating healthy is complex because of guilt, anxiety, dieting, cravings, food pressures from family, and friends and other factors.  (Dr. Schlager does not mention confusing and misleading food product labels and consumer information about healthy eating in her writing.)

Process Does More Than Help One Eat Health

Dr. Schlager believes most diets “don’t sustain weight loss in the long run.”  She recommends using IE, which was developed by two registered dieticians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch who are proponents of getting “in touch with the innate body signals associated with hunger, fullness, and satiety.  This process helps people eat healthier and develop self-confidence and self-esteem. Trusting one’s inner compass and being mindful of eating allows one to fully enjoying tastes and flavors.

She cites a study of a large sample of young adults who reported a high trust in their bodies for both quantity of food consumed and feelings of fullness with the IE approach (Denny, Loth, Eisenberg, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2013).”

Dr. Schlager differentiates between mindful and intuitive eating citing Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor Maria Sacramenta.  “Intuitive eating speaks to how deeply problematic dieting is for your physical and psychological well-being.”    Sacramenta notes that “you can be a mindful eater without being an intuitive eater, but you cannot be an intuitive eater without also being a mindful eater.”

Both Intuitive and Mindful Eating

“According to Sacramenta, both intuitive eating and mindful eating aim to transform the way we nourish our bodies and form a positive relationship with food.  However, unlike mindful eating, intuitive eating is a specific model. Sacramenta states that ‘intuitive eating speaks to how deeply problematic dieting is for your physical and psychological well-being and takes a firm stand against toxic diet culture, weight stigma and weight discrimination.’ She also points out that ‘you can be a mindful eater without being an intuitive eater, but you cannot be an intuitive eater without also being a mindful eater.’ She further explains.  “Intuitive eating is more inclusive than mindful eating because it encompasses other areas besides food. While you still observe body senses and how food makes you feel, it’s also about increasing enjoyment at mealtimes.”

Applied to Other Areas of Life Besides Eating

 Practicing focused attention can be applied to other areas of life besides eating.  The article could have been called Intuitive Eating Has Many Benefits!  To truly follow one’s inner guidance and navigate one’s food choices requires differentiating between what the body really wants and other voices disguising as intuition (addictions, food trends, people-pleasing). Developing mindful and focused attention on food can have huge benefits in other non eating decisions as well.  After all, it is a skill!

Denny, K.N., Loth, K., Eisenberg, M.E. and Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2013). Intuitive eating in young adults: Who is doing it, and how is it related to disordered eating behaviors? Appetite, 60(1), 13-19. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2012.09.029

To read the entire article, go to https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/words-wellness/202012/trusting-your-intuition-and-feeling-in-your-gut.

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