This post's topic is inspired by the next athlete to be featured in our Athlete Feature this week – Yana Fitt. We won’t reveal much, but let’s just say she cracked the code of eating intuitively and wants to help other people enjoy food too! If you are already curious to meet her, check out her channel here.
The concept of intuitive eating is pretty self-explanatory, in simple words it means listening to your body, instead of following strict diet plans. However, as simple as this sounds, it is not always that simple to apply in practice.
With the constant influence of the diet culture, social media trends and thousands of resources on dieting, it’s easy to get lost with how you are supposed to eat. We all know people, or we might have even done that ourselves, who are constantly on a diet, restricting themselves to become fit and still unhappy with their bodies. Such limitations lead to gaining back that weight and entering this vicious cycle of dieting and restrictions. The approach of intuitive eating aims at breaking this cycle and allowing people to include all kinds of food in their diet, within healthy boundaries.
If you think about it, we often rely on intuition for much more important decisions in life, rather than how much protein to eat for breakfast, so why not trust that intuition when it comes to food too? To narrow down this abstract concept, let’s start with what intuitive eating is NOT.
First, intuitive eating is not a tool to manage weight, it won’t make you lose it or gain it.
Next, eating intuitively doesn’t just mean eating when you feel hungry and stopping when you feel full.
Most importantly, it doesn’t entail eating whatever you want, whenever you want.
Intuitive eating is about balance – allowing yourself to eat different kinds of food with no judgment or guilt after and without looking at the numbers on the scale.
To achieve that, however, we must stop placing emotional value on food. There’s no such thing as good or bad food. Foods differ in nutritional value – that is a fact, but they should be equal emotionally. Labelling foods already causes psychological problems and thoughts like I am so bad because I ate a whole Mars bar.
Another thing that is really important with intuitive eating and we often neglect is the satisfaction factor. The pleasure we get when we eat what we really want and need is a powerful force. When you’re not restricting yourself from certain foods, it’s easy to know when you’re full.
As with most things in life, it all starts with your mind. Make peace with food and honour your body, by giving it permission to take the fuel that it needs. We don’t mean to go, and binge eat chips and ice cream, but to not restrict yourself completely from these foods. Listening to your body means eating in a way that makes YOU feel good, both physically and mentally.