How many different diets have you heard of or tried in your lifetime? Have they ever really worked long term or does the weight just come right back when you return to your old ways? Some research is suggesting that losing weight and then gaining it back time and time again can actually be more harmful to your body than never losing the weight in the first place.
Intuitive or mindful eating is a new approach to having a healthy relationship with food and weight loss. Mindful eating happens when you learn to eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full. When you eat mindfully you learn to eat based on what your body is telling you instead of eating based on what the scale or other external things are telling you. Learning to eat in this way is healthier than following a strict diet and also teaches you to appreciate the amazing things that your body can do.
Here are some tips for learning to eat mindfully:
- Forget about dieting! Starving yourself to lose weight is not healthy or effective in the long run. Healthy living is not something that can be achieved with the newest fad diet. Healthy living has to happen over time and be achieved in a way that is going to provide health and happiness for the rest of your life.
- Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full (or maybe even before you are full). Feeling hungry is natural – our bodies were designed to have these feelings when we need more fuel. When you ignore what your body is trying to tell you, food cravings can get worse.
- Take time to experience, enjoy and find pleasure in the food that you are eating. Find foods that you like and slow down while you eat them. Notice the flavor, texture and smell of the foods. When your taste buds are satisfied it takes a lesser amount of food to satisfy the cravings.
In general, focus on eating for your health! Food is meant to be eaten to provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to do its job – so that you can enjoy living the life you want to live. Fuel your body with a variety of healthy foods so when you do want to enjoy a treat every now and then you will know that your body already has everything it needs.
Keep in mind that eating mindfully looks different for everyone. If you are someone who has a health condition that requires a specific diet you must take care of those needs first. However, these tips can be helpful for anyone looking to change their relationship with their body and with food.
Source: Intuitive Eating. Tribole and Resch. 2012.