There is no shortage of diet advice given, often labeled with clinical or inspirational-sounding names. Many, however, are simply fads that lend themselves to yo-yo dieting rather than sustainable healthy lifestyles. The latest one to catch attention is intuitive eating. Here we take a look at what it is and how it differs from other diets so you can identify whether it’s a healthier choice for you.
What is intuitive eating?
While this type of eating has only recently become popular, the concept of intuitive eating actually dates back to 1995 when it was initially developed by two registered dietitians.
Intuitive eating is not actually a diet, but an overall approach to eating. It revolves around the idea that we should all be listening tour bodies and letting them guide us when it comes to food choices.
From the minute we are born, we have instincts associated with food and how much we need to eat. Babies get upset when they are hungry and need more food. Toddlers eat a lot some weeks when they are going through growth spurts, then they will have weeks when they refuse food.
As we age, we become more aware of social influences and messaging from advertising and media that impact our ability to eat intuitively. Intuitive eating returns to our most natural instinct when it comes to food, helping us to give our bodies what they need, when they need it.
Why choose intuitive eating over other dieting alternatives?
Unlike other diets, intuitive eating is all about giving the body what it requires. It is about noticing the signs when it comes to hunger and satisfaction, relying on our body to tell us when it is full or when it needs something else.
Intuitive eating is not restrictive. There is no calorie counting or macro measuring, and there are no foods that are prohibited. Instead, intuitive eaters listen to their bodies and give it what it’s craving without feeling guilt.
The reason why many people are turning to this type of lifestyle over a fad diet is that it helps to heal our relationship with food. It promotes a healthy connection with diet, helping us to understand that food should not be associated with negative emotions as it is necessary fuel for the body.
It also is a healthier long-term option than many short-term diets that people are unable to stick to, and promotes a more holistic lifestyle approach to health and encourages a mindset of reasonable positivity channeled into constructive actions instead of waging internal wars against natural desires that tend to make people feel somehow defeated whether they succeed or fail.