Friday, March 03, 2006

Intuitive Eating: What is it? How does it work?

Found this information online -- it's from several different sources. This is an awesome way to release weight and keep it off for life!

What is Intuitive Eating?

• It varies from person to person. Because our tastes, bodies, activities, emotions, and spiritual paths are different, what our bodies require in terms of nourishment also differs.
• It is cyclical. Weekly, monthly, and annual cycles, even life cycles, change our body's need for, and responses to, food.
• It is imperfect. Intuitive eating does not mean we'll always choose absolutely "healthy" or "pristine" foods. We won't always feel as if we've had a "perfect" balance.
• It is rhythmic. We feel pleasantly full (but not stuffed) after a meal and pleasantly hungry (but not starving) before the next.
• It includes a wide variety of foods. Cereals and grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats, beans, nuts, and even fats play a role in normal, intuitive eating. Again, the exact balance and variety of foods must be individualized.
• It is free of obsession. It acknowledges that our compulsions are due to biochemical or emotional reasons and any over- or under-eating is a clue to begin looking further as an opportunity for learning.
• It is nourishing to the body and spirit.
• It feels good. Good food in the right amounts and at the right times excites the senses. It provides tactile and taste sensations as we eat, and a pleasurable "full" feeling afterward. When we finish a meal, we feel comforted and renewed - physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
• It is an essential component of self care. What better way to nurture ourselves than with the foods we need and enjoy in the amounts we require?

Here are the facts:
• You don't need pills.
• You don't need pricey supplements.
• You don't have to count, or weigh, or measure anything.
• You don't have to exercise obsessively.
• You don't have to pay expensive ongoing fees.
• You don't have to leave your home and go to a meeting or a clinic.
• You don't have to suffer the humiliation of weigh-ins.
• You never have to starve yourself again.

You can start today, right now, in fact.
Everything is right here at your fingertips,
from the comfort of your own home.

Intuitive Eating
"Intuitive Eating" is the innate knowing of what, when and how much to eat for one's individual nutritional needs. Intuitive eating is free of obsession. It's the instinctive self-regulation of food intake that we are all born with.

With intuitive eating, there are no "good" or "bad" foods. There is no "on a diet" or "off a diet". There is nothing to feel guilty about. Our self-esteem can remain intact while we engage in the process of reconnecting with our innate wisdom—learning to honor our body signals.

Some of the key components of learning to eat intuitively are:
• Reject the diet mentality. There are no rules to break, no good foods and bad foods.
• Make friends with food. Food is an asset for recovery not something to battle against. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat and enjoy it.
• Keep the body well-fed so extreme hunger or lack of proper nutrition doesn't trigger overeating.
• Find constructive non-food-related ways to cope with the feelings and stressors that you tend to eat over.
• Practice honoring your health so you make primarily health promoting food choices.
• Practice mindful eating. Eat slow to allow time for your satiety signals to reach your brain. Pause throughout your meals and get in touch with your feelings.
• Incorporate gentle exercise into your lifestyle. Besides the obvious improvements in physical and mental health this brings, it also helps us get in touch with our bodies; how they feel and what they need.

When we give ourselves permission to stop dieting and focus instead on healthy behaviors, we can regain not only our physical health, but our self-esteem—our lives. By defining success in terms of increasing awareness, personal growth, and self-empowerment, a healthy weight can be achieved and maintained for a lifetime.


sikegami said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! This is so right on the money, thanks for sharing...I am linking to a blog I keep.

Karen said...

And tonight I feel more centered than usual (maybe thanks to the double mind-body classes I did today). I tuned in inwards and ate the correct portion for dinner - just enough to keep me satisfied and yet light enough to not over tax my digestive system while i am sleeping later.
Didnt finish the fish and eggs (instead of clean plate mentality).
A funny thought came to my mind - "I am not a dog, why should i finish everything that is served? I eat to satisfy & nourish myself" :P
Funny thought, but profound (at least to me).
Wow it has been looong time since i last blogged about my eating habits. Ever since i got the hang of beginner's level of intuitive eating, i havent been writing much about it.
Now that I consider myself at the "intermediate" level, here's my understanding of the levels.
Beginner- dare to eat WITHOUT rules, eat what i feel like eating, not restricting due to body consciousness. Initiated from within (mind/heart) instead of outwardly (eg. need to look thin therefore eat less/ cant eat this and that). Courage to risk gaining weight as a side effect of intuitive eating. Lesser & shorter episodes of emotional eating/binges. Forgiveness comes easily.

Intermediate - more in tune with hunger/fullness scale. Able to adjust accordingly - the food intake to my body/mind/soul's needs. Able to accept my body as it is. Able to make wise food decisions (what my body/mind/soul really needs instead of emotional eating). Very very rare/ very very short episodes of emotional eating. Can get back to normal eating almost instantly (next meal I am already eating normally). No/very minimal feeling of guilt, just awareness. I am so glad i found Intuitive Eating. It's a beautiful concept to live by. Where I realise i dont have to struggle. Life is NOT a struggle. We just BE.Thanks for making a difference in my life! *hugs & kisses*