Intuitive Eating Part 3
By: Amber Whittemore RD BSN MHSc
Today we will dive into principles 4-7 of Intuitive Eating and how science supports them.
4. Respect Your Fullness
Are you part of the clean plate eaters club? Pushing through to clean the plate regardless of how full you are?
When we allow ourselves to listen and respond to the body’s signals for satiety, we can begin truly honouring our fullness. For example, that sweet spot where we feel satisfied, or recognizing when you are no longer hungry and not uncomfortably full.
How to start Respecting Your Fullness: Try to observe your cues when you have reached satiety. In other words, being comfortably full. Experiment with pausing a few times during the meal to check in with how you’re feeling. If you feel satisfied and there is still food on the plate, bonus! You can pack up your food and come back to enjoy it the next time you are hungry.
5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Promoting pleasure through eating has become stigmatized in our culture. Think about this: When is the last time you felt comfortable and admitted that you loved the taste of your favourite fun food and you were proud of it? Foods like chocolate, chips, or baked foods. Usually, if we love these types of foods we feel the need to explain it away as being our “guilty pleasure” or something we know we should not be enjoying or eating!
In our societies fury to be thin, fit, and healthy, we overlook the most basic gifts of existence – the pleasure and satisfaction found in eating. When you allow yourself to mindfully eat what you are truly craving, your feel content and satisfied.
How to start to Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Next time you are craving your favourite food allow yourself the mental space to check in with what and why you are enjoying it. Do you love the taste? texture? temperature? Allow this to be okay.
6. Challenge the Food Police
Similarly, to rejecting the diet mentality, rejecting your thoughts of being “good” or “bad” based on your food choices in paramount to having a peaceful relationship with food.
How can we expect to not foster guilt in our eating experiences if we are labelling ourselves in such ways?
How to start to Challenge the Food Police: Next time you find yourself saying such things as, I am being bad, I am a failure, or I am falling off the wagon, recognize this is attaching worth to food and dieting. Try to call this out by addressing the issue: “you are not bad for eating fun foods, you are human! Those foods are just as important in a balanced diet as fueling foods”.
7. Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food
Coping with food has become completely normalized in our culture, which is not all bad. If this is one of the many skills in your coping toolbox, that is fine! If this is the only skill in there, or it is the go-to for all emotions in life, this may warrant a closer look. For example, you cope with food when you are happy, excited, sad, mad, etc. Food helps in the moment, but often does not get to the root of whatever we really need to be managing. It is more a Band-Aid solution, which does not always have to be a negative thing!
Trying to find ways to comfort yourself outside of food may be tough if this has been your go-to for a while, and this is where a counsellor may be important!
How to start Honoring Your Feelings Without Using Food: Make a list of activities that “fill your cup”, they can be big or small. Experiment with turning to these instead of food next time you have a strong emotion. If the need is comfort maybe the coping skill is a warm bath or hug from a loved on. If the need is to shut your brain off, maybe the coping skill is to take a walk in nature or go sit at a beach, and so on…
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