There are several diet trends coming and going around with supposedly “famous” influencers but few are actually both effective and healthy for you. Some are too restricting to the point of depleting you of essential nutrients, while others are simply crap and make you lose weight temporarily and then gain it all back. There is this new trend though called “Intuitive Eating” which calls for eating only when our bodies urge us to do so and stop as soon as we feel satiated.
It may seem like common sense but many of us choose to eat at convenient times that fit our hectic daily work and personal schedule. However, what this does, is making us eat more and more without realising it. We also have a tendency to search for food and engage in binge-eating when we go through periods of stress, anxiety or just plain boredom.
“Intuitive eating” is exactly the opposite of the above behaviors. It doesn’t restrict what you can eat but it calls for eating only whenever you are hungry. Our bodies have a hunger/satiety mechanism on their own and choose to send signals, but because of these emotional factors interfering, we choose to mistake these body signs for something else. However, if you take a moment and really concentrate without any influence whatsoever, you will intuitively know when it will be time to eat and when to stop eating. There are actually multiple levels of hunger and satiety that you’ll have to consider when following the diet. Intuitive Eating is applied in practice, using the above scale of determining hunger from 1 to 9:
1--feeling so hungry and starving that you get dizzy and nearly faint
2--feeling very hungry to the point of being stressful and irritable or unable to concentrate
3--feeling moderately hungry with some stomach growling sounds
4--feeling mildly hungry and be tempted to eat more e.g after taking a low-calorie snack.
5--feeling satiated and neither hungry nor full.
6--feeling fairly full but not to the point of discomfort
7-- feeling full enough with mild discomfort
8--feeling so stuffed and full to the point of extreme discomfort
9--feeling so full that you are about to throw up or go to the bathroom.
Your target here should be to eat somewhere in the middle and particularly stages “3” and “4” and stop eating at levels “5” or “6”. You shouldn't eat only when you are starving, of course, but you should stop when you feel satiated enough so you don’t over-eat and bloat yourself.
Before you decide to eat something, it will be wise to consider the following:
- Ask yourself: Am I really hungry or am I just bored, emotional or stressed? If yes, choose a level on the above scale that physically describes what you are feeling. If no, seek help to control your emotional hunger triggers.
- Do not rush your eating. Take some extra time to chew your food properly as eating too fast may send your brain the wrong signal that you need to eat more. Dedicating 20-25 minutes is enough to chew your food properly without wasting much time. Anything faster than that for a full lunch or dinner meal is not good.
- Do not eat any full meal when you are moderately hungry. Take smaller snacks and liquids instead. You may take, for example, a few veggies sticks with hummus or a detoxing smoothie with tea and fruits or a toast with guacamole, tomato and a poached egg. This will ease your hunger until the next main meal of the day.
Have you ever practiced intuitive eating? Tell us in the comments down below…