Diets have been a topic of discussion for years and years and it’s a controversial one at that.
One theory of how we should eat continues to pop up again and again. ‘Intuitive eating’.
It has one very basic core idea: you should eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not.
Sounds fairly simple, right? Well it actually can be quite difficult when you’re surrounded by meal deals and easy options that you want simply because they look appealing.
Intuitive eating was first coined by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their book in 1995 but the basic idea of it has been around for some time.
Benourished.org says that intuitive eating is an approach that came from people who had suffered with ‘diet backlash’, meaning to say, that once they had finished their diet, they often went back to old habits of eating or ate even worse than before due to the restriction the previous diet had put on them. The emphasis is put on when and how much you eat, not what.
The truth is: there is no perfect diet, but intuitive eating is a way that you can limit how much you eat but also prevent the need to restrict what you eat. Elyse Resch said that intuitive eating is about “honouring hunger” and only eating when you need to.
This can be difficult when it comes to some everyday routines such as working or college. You often have certain lunch breaks and if you don’t eat then, even if you’re not hungry, you may not get a chance to eat again until you’re home later in the evening. This is fine if you’re not hungry during the day and decide to eat in the evening, but this can lead to binge eating as the long wait between meal times can make you over hungry.
IntuitiveEating.org says that “Essentially, Intuitive Eating is a personal process of honouring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs.”
This can be put into practise by recognising and knowing the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Psychological hunger is often one of the hardest of habits to get out of. Healthline.com says psychological hunger is driven by emotions such as sadness or anxiety can lead to comfort eating, which is, in short, eating to make you feel better, not because you’re actually hungry.
The advantages of intuitive eating are that there is no counting calories, points, syns or macros. It is simply about listening to your body and honouring what it wants. According to Intuitive Eating.org, “Intuitive Eating is not a diet or food plan. There is no pass or fail, therefore there is no “blowing it”. It is a more relaxed approach to eating and making sure that what you put into your body is what it wants, when it wants it. “
The downsides are, as mentioned before, the timing of our hunger in our hectic lives can be a little difficult to manage with work and study commitments, etc. It can be very easy to eat just for the sake of eating or because of greed, rather than because you’re actually hungry.
Understanding your own body and listening to what it needs is the key part of intuitive eating and can be beneficial, not only to your body but to your mind as well.