Intuitive eating: honor your hunger

Different food rules or restrictions may alter your decision as to what foods you choose to eat or portion sizes. Building a strong mind-body connection, improving your relationship with food and changing your “diet” mentality can be challenging. The philosophies of mindful eating and intuitive eating are not “diets.” They are more mindsets that help you to listen to and trust your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. They allow you to make food choices for yourself depending on how your body feels and without judgement.

Mindful eating is paying attention to your eating process and becoming aware of why you eat. The reason behind our hunger could be things such as emotions, tradition, schedule, habit or boredom. Intuitive eating incorporates the process of mindful eating. However, intuitive eating is more about learning to trust your body and the internal signals it gives you regarding your hunger, satisfaction and fullness. It focuses on strengthening the relationship between mind, body and food. Intuitive eaters listen to their bodies and trust that their bodies will tell them when, what and how much to eat. Permission is given to eat what they want, without any food guilt. There is room for vegetables but there also is room for dessert.

Here are some tips to help you get started with mindful and intuitive eating. Remember to eat with enjoyment and eat in a way that makes you feel happy and healthy!

  • Eat using your senses. What does the food look like? How does it taste when you chew it slowly and savor it? Is it chewy, crunch, sweet, savory? What does the food smell like? What’s the texture? Try to identify ingredients and flavors.
  • Create a mealtime ritual. Set the table and sit down without electronics. Give yourself permission to eat and enjoy the food you have prepared. Connect with your family or friends over the food you are eating together.
  • Honor your hunger and respect your fullness. Listen to your body’s internal cues. Recognize when you have had enough to eat. Take note to how your body responds to certain foods and what foods make you feel satisfied and energized.
  • Change your outlook. Reject the diet mindset. Do not label foods as “bad” or “unhealthy.” Your body does not need to fit social media’s standards of beauty. Focus on actions and foods that will improve the way your body feels and functions.

Briana Traut, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Weight Management