Intuitive Eating Part 2
By: Amber Whittemore RD BSN MHSc
Welcome back! Today we will dive into principles 2 and 3 of Intuitive Eating and how science supports them.
2. Honour Your Hunger
How often have you felt hungry and suppressed that in an effort to change your body? Or ignored these cues because you “just ate” and “shouldn’t be hungry”?
Honouring your hunger speaks both to keeping your body biologically fed, as well as respecting its needs. If we cannot listen to our hunger, or we ignore our hunger cues, our bodies will stimulate us to overeat later in the day. This is normal, and not your fault! Once you reach a level of excessive hunger (whether you feel it physically or not) all intentions of balanced eating are often fleeting. It is important to learn to honor your early biological hunger cues. This sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.
How to start Honoring Your Hunger: Give yourself the go-ahead to listen to and trust your body. It may seem like you’re overeating at the beginning but as our bodies begin to trust that there is not another diet around the corner, they start to hone in and refine your cues to your needs.
3. Make Peace with Food
Feel like you’re constantly at war with food and your body? This might feel like you are always second guessing your food choices. Is this healthy? Will this make me gain weight? Or do you need to be on the next diet train to be considered healthy?
Making peace with food is all about calling a truce:
First, give yourself unconditional permission to eat. This does not mean to eat from a place of indulgence, but to allow your body to respond more appropriately to food and cravings. This is because whenever you tell yourself that you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” have a particular food, it often leads to intense feelings of deprivation. These can build into truly uncontrollable cravings, both hormonally and chemically driven. Which can end up in episodes of over-eating foods you could of have had a smaller portion of earlier.
Secondly, when we have peace with food, we don’t often personalize the dichotomies of food. For example: “good and bad” “guilty pleasures” “treats.” How many times have you called yourself bad after eating a fun food? Or good when you have been living on salads and veggies? When we start to take on these labels for ourselves, it often leads to attaching our worth to how we eat. When you acknowledge and consume your food cravings it may result in feelings of guilt and shame. With this food label mentality, it feels impossible to make change and can often lead to all or nothing dieting.
How to start Making Peace with Food: Recognize that the above cycle does not allow individuals to thrive in their health, rather it enhances food fears and dieting. If we slowly allow ourselves to listen to our food cravings and consume these in small portions, we will feel satisfied, we will feel safe, and will eventually make peace with food.
1Tribole, E. & Resch, E. (2020). Intuitive Eating, 4th edition. St. Martins Publishing Group.
2Mann, T., Tomiyama, A. J., Westling, E., Lew, A. M., Samuels, B. & Chatman, J. (2007) Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: diets are not the answer. American Psychology, 62(3), 220-33. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.220.
3Bacon, L. & Aphramor, L. (2011). Weight science: evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift. Nutrition Journal, 10(9). Received from: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-10-9