Food. It is something we all need to live. Some constantly crave it, while some actively avoid it. According to the ANAD (The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), “At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.” and “Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.” Within the polar habitual practices with food, many may wonder where the balance lies. The concept of Intuitive Eating has brought hope to finding the balance within the cravings to eat and to not eat.
In 1995, two dieticians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, developed a model accompanied with 10 principles of eating and living. The purpose of these principles was to balance and increase health in an individual’s life. Evelyn Tribole illustrates the success of the 90 studies she and Resch have performed by saying,
“It’s thrilling to see all the research and gives me great hope. Intuitive Eating is a dynamic integration between mind and body. The principles work by either cultivating or removing obstacles to body awareness, a process known as interoceptive awareness. Essentially, Intuitive Eating is a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs.”
With this in mind, Tribole is quick to point out that “Intuitive Eating is not a diet or food plan.” It is not about failing or passing, but about learning through the process. With this in mind, here are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating as defined in the Tribole and Research studies.
1) Reject the Diet Mentality
The first principle is fairly simple. If you haven’t already, get rid of the materials, articles, and media promoting you to a variety of diet plans. There is no fast, healthy way to remove weight as quickly as you would like. Therefore, the idea is to not only remove all your materials of diet planning, but also your thought process that diet planning will somehow magically help you lose a tremendous amount of weight and get fit in 2 weeks or even 2 months.
2) Honor Your Hunger
The second principle only begins to work when you have given up your mentality of dieting. When your body tells you that you’re hungry, eat. Although, that may sound strange or too simple at first, the biology of your body was created to notify you when it needs something. So, check the notification and fulfill it. It is as easy as that.
3) Make Peace with Food
The third principle is about stopping a mental war within yourself. Maybe for awhile you have told yourself that eating excessively is “bad” or that eating at all is preventing you from achieving what you want to achieve. This is where you need to be brave. It is time for you to mentally accept that it’s okay to eat, even if it is excessive at first. When your body has been wanting something for so long and has not received it when it needs it, it is normal for your body to eat more intensely than normal.
4) Challenge the Food Police
The fourth principle is mentally choosing to answer your hunger instead of the “Calories” and “Fat” Police forces. You have just “made peace” with food, so now you must rid yourself of anything that is currently still challenging your current position. Don’t let the Food Police guilt trip you back into your irrational dietary habits.
5) Respect Your Fullness
Principle number five is pretty transparent. Once you are full, you are full. When your body tells you you are hungry, eat. However, when it tells you to stop eating, stop eating.
6) Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle number six is taking the time to enjoy the eating experience. Eat what you actually are looking forward to eating, in a comfortable environment. Making the eating experience more pleasing can not only ease your mental health, but can improve your overall physical health.
7) Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
Principle number seven is all about trying other ways to overcome your feelings of anxiety and depression without using food. Many times when people are anxious or depressed, they either increase or decrease food intake. Try to take food out of the picture in overcoming these challenges. Instead, go for a run, read a book, or listen to some of your favorite music. There are many ways to cope with challenges you face without involving food.
8) Respect Your Body
It is important to remember that every body is different. It is not good to worry about what your body is not, but rather, to embrace the body you have been given and use it to your advantage and best interest.
9) Exercise – Feel the Difference
Don’t let the Food Police hijack your exercise with thoughts of losing weight and calories. Instead, exercise for the enjoyment of it. Wake up and move to give your body a sense of life and fresh air. Exercising is a great influencer on your physical and mental health. Make sure you are making it a part of your life in some way.
10) Honor Your Health
This last principle is about including healthy foods in your diet. This is not so you can lose weight or prevent calories. Rather, this is a way you can help your body stay sufficient in essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs. With that said, make sure to research and find good foods that will be able to sustain you throughout the day.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.