By Guest Bloggeer, Harpreet Matharu
Let’s get back to the basics! Focus on appreciating ourselves, body and mind. Think of yourself as a GEM: precious, invaluable and beautiful! Listen to your intuition. What is your body and mind telling you? Start by listening to your internal cues, with a special focus on those of hunger and fullness. Wait! What was that? Did I hear a slight growl from your stomach? Stop doing what you are doing and pay attention to that physical hunger cue you just experienced! It seems as if your body is telling you to eat something to satisfy your hunger.
Let’s head on over to the kitchen and engage in an intuitive eating experience! Just go eat!
What is Intuitive Eating and why should we consider it? Intuitive Eating involves 10 core principles:
- No Diets (do not focus on external cues such as diets that tell us to ignore our bodies and that focus on numbers and scales),
- Honor Your Hunger/Fullness Cues (when you are hungry, eat; when you are full; stop eating; physical hunger cues range from having an “empty stomach” feeling, your stomach growling, feeling lightheaded, irritable, a lack of energy, to having a headache),
- Make Peace with Food (do not feel guilty),
- Do Not Listen to Thoughts In Your Head telling you that you are “good” or “bad” for eating certain foods,
- Discover what satisfaction really means (when you eat what you want in a peaceful setting, you will feel satisfied),
- Feel Your Fullness (take a moment to pause in between eating and ask yourself if you are enjoying the food and if you are full),
- Cope with your emotions with kindness (deal with emotions outside of mealtimes so that when you are eating, there are no emotions attached to the food experience; keep mealtimes calm and happy to allow your mind and body to focus on digestion),
- Respect/Love Your Body (be happy with your body in its current state; with a diet mentality, you are always working towards an ideal body weight or image),
Eating intuitively is more about learning to listen to your body, than it is about thinking of food. What better way to live holistically, than to tune in to your body’s unique signals. Forget about the diet culture and external factors telling you what, when, how, where and why to eat! Who knows your body better than anyone else?…That’s right! YOU! If we wish to live peacefully and abundantly, we need to create a positive relationship with our bodies and with food. A relationship that is free of negative thoughts such as guilt, regret and labelling foods as good or bad.
When we follow a diet, we are restricting ourselves from eating “junk” food, therefore automatically labelling that food as “bad.” This label creates a temptation factor of wanting to consume that food more and more. On the other hand, when we do not have a diet mentality and we are not labelling foods as good or bad, the temptation of the junk food starts to go away. This is because we know that we will allow ourselves to eat the cake, chocolate, etc. if we wish to, and slowly, we will feel and realize that healthier options make us feel better and we will wish to eat the healthier foods.
Now, can you guess which age group has the best relationship with their bodies? Babies! Did you know that babies are born intuitive eaters? This means that they automatically follow the above principles. If babies can do it, so can adults! And if babies are born intuitive eaters, then we are all born as intuitive eaters! If you are a generally healthy individual, and are able to tune in to your body’s cues, you should consider Intuitive Eating. Babies and young children listen to their bodies when deciding when to start/stop eating, which parts of the meal they will eat first and the quantity. We could learn a thing or two from the young people in our lives, by getting back to the basics.
The basics involve eating mindfully, using all of our senses during the eating experience. Feel, touch, hear, smell, see and enjoy the food you are eating. Ignore the diet mentality and start tuning in to your body’s internal cues and engage in the Go Eat Mentality!
After all, you are a GEM!
Please note that Harpreet Matharu is not a dietitian, physician, pharmacist or other licensed healthcare professional. The advice and opinions provided by Nature’s Elixir Health and Wellness services are not intended as medical advice, nor are they intended to replace the care of a qualified healthcare professional. Advice and opinions are not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. Services are not a substitute for counseling, psychotherapy, mental health care or treatment. Always consult with your primary care physician or licensed healthcare provider for all diagnosis and treatment of any diseases or conditions, for medications or medical advice as well as before changing your health care regimen.