Last Updated on October 2, 2023
Intuitive eating has become an increasingly popular approach to healthy eating and weight management. This practice encourages people to listen to their bodies rather than following strict diets or meal plans.
Many people wonder if intuitive eating can work for weight loss. The short answer is that it can, but it’s important to understand what intuitive eating really is and how to do intuitive eating properly.
Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that focuses on developing a healthy relationship with food and your body. Instead of following external rules or restrictions, intuitive eating involves listening to your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating choices.
This practice encourages people to eat for nourishment and pleasure rather than simply to lose weight. It’s about finding a balance between honoring your health and well-being while also enjoying food and your life.
Does intuitive eating work?
People who are detail-oriented about nutrition may rightly ask the question: “Is intuitive eating healthy?” To reassure the owners of this question, we can say that intuitive eating is evidence-based and has been shown to have positive outcomes for both physical and mental well-being.
One study found that participants who practiced intuitive eating had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and higher self-esteem compared to those who followed traditional weight loss programs.
Another study found that people who practiced intuitive eating had a lower risk of disordered eating behaviors and improved body image compared to those who followed restrictive diets.
Does intuitive eating work for weight loss?
Research suggests that intuitive eating can be effective for weight loss, but it’s important to understand that weight loss is not the primary goal of intuitive eating. Instead, intuitive eating focuses on improving your relationship with food and your body, which can lead to a healthier and happier life.
Listening to your body’s internal cues leads to more mindful eating habits and a greater sense of satisfaction with your meals, which may naturally result in weight loss.
If you’re practicing intermittent fasting, you can also adapt intuitive eating into your fasting schedule’s eating window. Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the most famous people to practice intuitive fasting for its health and weight management benefits.
How to lose weight with intuitive eating
Intuitive eating is a healthy approach to eating that encourages people to develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies. By listening to your body’s internal cues, you can learn to eat based on your body’s needs.
If you want to lose weight with intuitive eating, applying the following principles will eventually help you lose weight.
How to start intuitive eating
When practicing intuitive eating, you listen to the signals of your body and respond accordingly. If you’re interested in trying it, here are 10 intuitive eating principles:
- Reject diet culture: The first step to starting intuitive eating is to reject the diet mentality that’s so prevalent in our culture. Diets often lead to feelings of deprivation, guilt, and shame, creating a cycle of binge eating and restriction. Instead, embrace the idea that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle and that there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” foods.
- Tune into your hunger: Pay attention to your body’s hunger signals and eat when you’re hungry. This means eating more frequently throughout the day or eating larger meals when you’re truly hungry.
- Cope with your emotions without using food: Many of us eat when we’re not physically hungry, but instead in response to stress, boredom, or other emotions. Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. By learning to distinguish them, you can better respond to your body’s needs. Find healthy ways to manage stress and emotions without turning to food.
- Honor your health: While there are no “good” or “bad” foods, it’s still important to nourish your body with a variety of foods that provide the nutrients it needs. Make food choices that honor your health and well-being without feeling restricted. Aim to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Respect your fullness: Just as it’s important to pay attention to your hunger signals, it’s also important to stop eating when you feel full. This might mean leaving a few bites on your plate or taking a break during your meal to assess your level of fullness.
- Give yourself permission to eat: Challenge the food police in your head and allow yourself to eat what you truly want without judgment or guilt. This might mean eating a cookie when you’re craving something sweet or having a slice of pizza with friends.
- Don’t distract yourself while eating: Whatever you’re eating at that moment, turn your mealtime into a quality “me-time”. Prepare a plate that pleases your eyes and don’t distract yourself by watching TV or scrolling through your emails.
- Discover the satisfaction factor: Practicing mindfulness during your meals goes well with intuitive eating. Try to activate all 5 of your senses while you eat. When you’re eating, try to focus on the experience of eating, savoring each bite and enjoying the flavors and textures of your food.
- Be kind to yourself: Intuitive eating is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. Let go of restrictive thoughts and beliefs about food and your body. Practice self-compassion as you navigate this new approach to eating.
- Have an active lifestyle: Never underestimate the power of exercise and engage in physical activity that feels good for your body. If you feel like going out to nature, create an opportunity and do so.
By following these steps, you can start practicing intuitive eating and learn to nourish your body while also enjoying the foods you love. Remember, everyone’s journey is different, and there’s no one “right” way to practice intuitive eating. Be patient with yourself and trust the process.