Intuitive eating is a dietary concept that has become increasingly more common throughout the media. It encourages you to listen to your instincts and eat, what you want, when you want, whilst promoting variety and moderation.
This way of eating is designed to focus on improving health behaviours by paying more attention to signals of hunger and fullness from your own body rather than external indicators. It also looks to decrease the dieting mentality of restriction, labelling, stress, counting and guilt.
All foods are included, with focus on the health-promoting properties of more nutritionally dense food. Less nutritionally dense food is enjoyed mindfully, but not completely excluded.
No food is ‘the enemy’, but this doesn’t mean excessively eating whatever is to hand, but practicing balance. If you fancy a burger and chips one night, have it.
Those who have participated in intuitive eating studies report having improved psychological wellbeing, self-esteem and body appreciation.
Studies have also found that those who eat intuitively have lower BMIs and more positive health markers than those who aim to control and restrict their food intake. This could be down to the fact that restrictive diets can lead to increased cravings, making the sustainability of a restrictive diet unrealistic.
Listening to your body is key with intuitive eating. Understanding your fullness scale is vital. Be mindful of the foods you choose to eat, whilst ensuring you savour them. Your satiety levels will help guide what and when you next eat.
Simply put, eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re not.