Calorie counting and macronutrient counting aren’t for everyone. In fact, these practices can drive some people crazy. Intuitive eating involves listening to your body and the signals it sends you to determine when you should eat, what you should eat, and how much you should eat. It involves eating when hungry and stopping when you feel satisfied after the meal. You also need to listen to your body and how different foods affect it.
For those who have trust in themselves, this is great! I can easily consume all of my daily calories, protein, carbs, and fats in one meal and overeat if I eat as much I want to, so I do tend to track my calories most days but try to work in many of the intuitive eating tips below. However, a lot of people naturally only eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.
This is something you can train yourself to do, and I do manage to still eat intuitively a lot of times.
A Few Intuitive Eating Tips to Try
Here are a few things that, mostly through research and a little through self-experimentation, I have learned that can help you to eat more intuitively so that you can naturally and effortlessly maintain a healthy body composition:
Try to consume sufficient protein and fat every day, and eat enough nutrient-rich foods to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs, as well as a variety thereof.
Eat at roughly the same time every day. If you do this, then eventually, your body will start expecting food around those times.
Learn to notice true hunger. Sometimes, we want to eat something when we are actually thirsty, anxious, or emotional. If you can learn to distinguish a stress-induced craving from being hungry, it will help you to eat more intuitively.
I feel like this tip is a cliché, but wait for five minutes after eating and distract yourself from the food before you have a second helping. You might decide not to have seconds anyway, and if you do, that is okay.
Stop eating when you are full. Even though I tend to overeat often, I hate that feeling of discomfort afterwards. Purely for that reason, I am trying to train myself to do this.
Try to eat mindfully and chew slowly, so that you will be able to pick up on your body’s queues when you are starting to become full.
Write down how you feel before and after meals, as well as what you ate at mealtimes for the first few weeks of trying to adopt an intuitive eating approach. This will help you learn more about when you are actually hungry and when you are only eating because you are emotional, and it will also help you realise if there are foods or behaviours around food that do not agree with your body.
Is intuitive eating something that appeals to you? Perhaps you could make that a personal goal. It might require some effort in the beginning to accomplish, but it takes the least amount of energy to maintain.
If your intuition is telling you to eat dessert, such as a healthy waffle topped with ice cream or a black forest pudding, that’s part of intuitive eating.
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