Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How to Practice Intuitive Eating

The correlation between obesity and chronic disease is well established. For decades, efforts to fight chronic disease have focused primarily on obesity--encouraging dieting as the best way to lose weight. Despite a thriving weight loss industry, we haven't seen significant improvements in rates of chronic disease.

Weight-cycling, losing weight and later regaining it, is often see with many diets. Eating less that the body needs triggers endocrine system changes that promote weight regain, reducing satiety after eating and increasing hunger. In addition, dieters develop a lower resting energy expenditure.

An emerging paradigm in health promotion is putting more of a focus on weight neutrality. People who are classified as obese can improve their metabolic fitness and reduce their risk of chronic disease by eating more nutritious meals and increasing physical activity--independent of changes in weight. Research on this weight neutral approach to chronic-disease management actually shows substantially higher overall weight loss retention than dieting.

Intuitive eating encourages internal regulation of the eating experience. Try to apply these key concepts to encourage more mindfulness and enjoyment of your eating experience

Restore Body Trust
Dieting enforces strict rules based on external cues. In contrast, intuitive eating restores a sense of body trust. Respecting your internal hunger cues and fullness cues is key to intuitive eating. While diets say wait for the next planned mealtime, intuitive eating says show yourself compassion by feeding yourself when it feels physically necessary.

Make Peace with Food
Rather than labeling high-calorie, low-nutrition foods as "bad," intuitive eating encourages a neutral perspective on the moral value of foods. Letting go of self- and diet-imposed judgments of foods can help heal our relationships with food.

Address Emotional Eating
We often get temporary emotional relief from eating, followed by a realization that our problem remains. Intuitive eating encourages us to show ourselves compassion by entertaining a solution that is unrelated to food and that directly addresses our emotional challenges.

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