I don’t know about you, but the constant inundation of marketing about food, dieting and weight loss is overwhelming for me. Actually, most of the time it makes me mad and frustrated that so much time, energy and money is invested in trying to allure the general public into thinking we have a problem with food if we eat certain foods and that dieting and avoiding these foods would “fix us.” What if we don’t have a problem with food and our bodies are healthy and beautiful even though they are imperfect? What if there is a different way to view food and our bodies?
If you read my first two blogs about Intuitive Eating and you are back, welcome back! If you are just tuning in, Intuitive Eating is a book written by two fabulous dietitians, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD. It can also be considered a guiding light out of inappropriate guilt and shame with food and our bodies and an introduction to freedom with food and peace with the body.
There are 10 principles of intuitive eating. The first four, “Reject the Diet Mentality”, “Honor your Hunger”, “Make Peace with Food”, and “Challenge the Food police” were our previous topics of discussion. Today we will dive right into principles 5 and 6!
“Feel Your Fullness”
is principle number 5 of intuitive eating. In order to become an intuitive eater, one must gain awareness of levels of fullness which are appropriate and accept them as another incredible way our bodies communicate with us. For some, fullness is an elusive concept that is not known until they are so full they are uncomfortable and sometimes in physical pain. For this type of eater, it is very important to pay attention during a meal, slow down eating if the pace is too fast, and stop before physical discomfort ensues.
A comfortable level of fullness should be the goal. For others, fullness is not something they feel can be honored because they don’t have permission with all foods. If they are eating something that tastes delicious and there is inappropriate guilt linked to that food, comfortable fullness during that meal or snack is not going to be the goal because “I am not supposed to have this and I don’t know when I am going to have it again.”
When someone knows that at any time, they can experience that food again, pausing to feel fullness and then stopping the consumption of that food when appropriately full is easy. They have permission and therefore can enjoy the eating experience and move on having met their caloric needs and enjoying the meal.
“Discover the Satisfaction Factor”
is principle number 6 of Intuitive Eating. Have you ever sat down to have a snack and thought, “What I would really love is a few cookies and a glass of milk” only to hear your next thought being, “But I shouldn’t. I am really trying to eat healthier and lose weight. I will just eat a handful of carrots instead.”
Continuing with this scenario, did you eat the carrots and then get to the end of your portion maybe accomplishing some level of fullness but nowhere near feeling satisfied? I know the answer! Of course you were not satisfied. You didn’t want carrots. You wanted cookies and milk! Now I am not knocking carrots. They too can be delicious and satisfying but not when you really feel like eating cookies.
People who do not eat what they really want, but instead what they think they should have based on food rules, end up eating a larger quantity of food than they would have if they had just eaten what they wanted. In addition, pleasure is supposed to be part of the experience we have with food. If there is only obligation and no pleasure in eating that defeats one of the many purposes of food and takes away a wonderful factor of quality of life. So next time you are trying to decide what to eat, try eating what sounds good and what will satisfy you instead of what you think you “should” eat!
If you have enjoyed this short synopsis of the principles of Intuitive Eating you can find more information at www.intuitiveeating.com and stay tuned for my next blog about the next two principles of Intuitive Eating, “Cope with Your Emotions Without Using Food” and “Respect Your Body.” Until then, may you begin or continue the journey to freedom with food and peace with your body!
If you have further questions or need direction about getting help for disordered eating or treatment for an eating disorder, please contact me HERE.