An Intuitive Eater is Healthful and Satisfied
by: Coach Diane Catrambone, Health/Wellness Coach
The New Year is a great time to review your eating habits. You now have an opportunity to put a bit more structure back into your life, and reviewing how, when and why you consume calories can help you create the routine/structure you may be looking for in your daily routine.
If you are an intuitive eater, you most likely exhibit these behaviors:
- Eat only when you’re hungry
- Don’t feel guilty about what you’re eating
- Stop eating when you’re full
Are you an intuitive eater? Not very many people eat according to the behaviors listed above. Using some of the following tips may start you on your way to intuitive eating which, according to experts, is the most healthful and satisfying way to eat.
- Reject the “diet mentality.” Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that make rosy promises. If you allow even one small hope to linger that “a new and better diet” is just around the corner, you won’t be free to discover intuitive eating.
- Honor your hunger. Keep your body well-fed, otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. If you become very hungry, all your good eating intentions will vanish.
- Make peace with food. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.
- Respect your body. Accept your genetic blueprint. It’s difficult to reject the diet mentality if you’re overly critical of your body shape.
- Feel your fullness. Listen to your body for signals that you are no longer hungry. Pause in the middle of eating to ask yourself how the food tastes and what is your level of “fullness.”
- Discover satisfaction. When you eat what you really want in a pleasant environment, you feel satisfied and content. By giving yourself this experience, you’ll find that it takes much less food to decide when you’ve had enough.
- Cope with your emotions without using food. Find non-food ways to resolve stress, frustration, fatigue, anger, loneliness, etc. (Note: A little brisk exercise can relieve all these feelings.)
- Challenge the food police. Put your foot down and say “No!” to thoughts that say you’re good for skipping lunch or “bad” because you ate a piece of cake.
- Exercise. Government recommendations are 30 – 45 minutes of moderate to intense activity each day. So when you are not at the gym, fit in at least 30 minutes of additional activity.
- Honor your health. Make food choices that honor your health and your taste buds–while making you feel good.
Identify your eating style
Diet experts say the “intuitive eater” is the category in which we should ideally fall. Based on these descriptions, read on to see where you fit in–and where you need to improve.
- Intuitive Eater. Trigger: biological hunger. Makes food choices without facing any guilt or any ethical dilemmas. Honors hunger and respects fullness.
- Emotional Unconscious Eater. Trigger: uncomfortable emotions. Stress or uncomfortable feelings trigger eating, especially when alone. (often high calorie treats)
- Unconscious Eater. Trigger: eating while doing something else. Often unaware that he or she is eating, or how much is being consumed. Many subtypes. (i.e. TV, computer)
- Chaotic Unconscious Eater. Trigger: over scheduled life. Eating style is haphazard. Person eats whatever food is available, no set time to eat.
- Refuse-Not Unconscious Eater. Trigger: presence of food. Especially vulnerable to candy jars and food served at meetings.
- Waste-Not Unconscious Eater. Trigger: free food. Susceptible to all-you-can-eat buffets and free food.
- Careful Eater. Trigger: Fitness and health. Appears to be the perfect eater, yet agonizes over each morsel.
- Professional Dieter. Trigger: feeling fat. Perpetually dieting; often tries the latest commercial diet or diet book.