Intuitive eating has been growing in popularity (yay!) and in conversations online. The strict black and white rules of what is or what is not intuitive eating are catchy for views and engagement…but they lack nuance, compassion, and understanding for individual needs. It can make intuitive eating feel a lot like a diet. Here’s a breakdown of the truth behind intuitive eating.
Embracing the Complexity of Hunger and Fullness Cues
Intuitive eating is not as simple as just eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Hunger and fullness cues can be absent or difficult to interpret during recovery, illness, or if you’re not accustomed to sensing them. Even during these times of not being able to sense hunger and fullness as strongly, you still need to nourish your body.
Celebrating Individual Experience & Intuitive Eating
What we see on the internet isn’t always the full story. It can seem like if you don’t look a certain way or eat a certain way, then it’s wrong. There is not a singular “right” way or an exact approach to healing your relationship with food and your body. Honor your individual experiences, allow for flexibility, and recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nourishing our bodies and minds.
Anti-Diet is not Anti-Dieter
Anti-diet is not about being anti-dieter. The truth about intuitive eating is it’s about creating a compassionate and inclusive space for everyone. We acknowledge that food is more than just nourishment. It’s intertwined with our emotions, experiences, cultural values, politics, and social stigmas. There are a lot of reasons why it’s so hard to let go of dieting and everyone’s journey looks different.
Beyond Physical Hunger
Nourish yourself beyond physical hunger. There are so many different reasons to eat, including practical hunger, gentle nutrition, and eating for pleasure. Practical hunger might look like eating lunch around 11:30 even if you’re not fully hungry yet if you have back to back meetings in the afternoon. Gentle nutrition might look like having a post-movement snack because you know that it’ll aid in your recovery. By broadening our perspective, we can cultivate a more balanced and fulfilling relationship with food.
Embracing Intuitive Eating Imperfections & Self-Compassion
It’s is not about perfection. Appetite, stress levels, activity, and life will all affect how your food choices look. You might think that being “too” full or having an imperfect relationship with food means you’re not good at intuitive eating. The truth about intuitive eating is that eating past comfortable fullness is not a failure. The journey is going to look different day to day. Offer yourself self-compassion and understanding because these moments hold no moral value and are very normal.
The way I view intuitive eating has changed a lot from when I first learned about it and the way I practice now. It will probably continue to change as I continue to learn, grow, and experience life. And that’s exactly the point. Embrace the complexities, honor individual experiences, and cultivate self-compassion to develop a healthier and more authentic relationship with food. Join our community, where you can tap into the joy of nourishing your body and embracing the wisdom it holds.