How we can learn to listen to our own body through intuitive eating.
As babies, we know when we want to eat and when it's time to stop. But as we grow olders adults, we often forget what it means to rely on our bodies. We are bombarded with advice on how and what to eat, struggle with our body image, try different diets, and often end up categorizing foods into “good” and “bad”. But intuitive eating is a concept that can help us put an end to diets and prohibitions, leading us back to a good sense for our body and what it needs.
When am I hungry?
First of all, there are several types of hunger: We see something delicious, for example an ad for candy, we want to eat it right away. We walk past our favorite bakery and smell fresh pastry. These external influences increase our appetite and make us feel hungry.Sometimes we eat out of emotion or because we are with friends or family and food is offered. Last but not least, there is a hunger that our body announces to us by stomach growling. Only this so-called "stomach hunger" is real, because it is a signal from our body that we need energy and should eat food. Certain cravings also sometimes give us an indication of what nutrients we need right now.
Learn to listen to your body again.
Over time, many of us have gotten into the habit of putting a lot of emotion in our eating habits. For example, by always finishing our plate, even when we're not hungry - “because it’s the right thing to do”. Or treating ourselves for XYZ with a piece of chocolate after a meal, even though we actually wanted to eat less sweets. Little by little, we train ourselves to eat in a way that is less intuitive and more determined by habit and/or emotion. When we feel that we “lose control”, that our sugar/fat cravings for example become too strong, we tend to beat ourselves up over our choices. We judge food on the basis of its calories, sugar or fat content and make lists of “good” and “bad” foods.
How does intuitive eating work?
Eat when you are hungry. And here we mean the "real" hunger, the signal of your body that it needs energy. Mindfulness and enjoyment belong at the table. Enjoy every meal and take enough time to eat consciously and without distraction. Allow yourself to take little breaks while eating. You don’t have to eat everything at once. Choose the foods that taste good to you and do you good. If everything is allowed, you will quickly realize that what your body really likes is whole, healthy and fresh food. Finish a meal when you are comfortably full. Your body will give you a signal when it has received enough energy. Positive side effect of non-dieting: according to scientific studies it leads to a higher acceptance with your own body, less overweight and better mental health.
Intuitive eating is a matter of practice
Our body’s natural mode is to ask for what it needs. We instinctively know what foods we need at what time and in what situation, but we often have difficulty perceiving the signals. The longer and more consciously you practice intuitive eating, the more natural your cravings for nutrient-dense and unprocessed foods will become. In the beginning, it can also be useful to write down why you eat and how you feel after eating. Bloated? Tired? Or energized and positive? When we eat under stress, we pay less attention to what our bodies really need. But if we take our time and listen to ourselves, intuitive eating becomes easy.
With intuitive Eating, the body develops a craving for nutrient-rich and unprocessed foods. With our Every. Bowls you get the perfect combination of natural & fresh ingredients that will help you replenish your energy storage and fully nourish your body. Discover our bowls here.
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Intuitive eating is inversely associated with body weight status in the general population-based NutriNet-Santé study - PubMed (nih.gov)
A review of interventions that promote eating by internal cues - PubMed (nih.gov)
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