Intuitive Eating... The "Diet" to End All Diets?
It’s finally here folks… the diet to end all diets. This one is sure to help you reach your health and wellness goals with just one simple trick. Are you ready for this one?
Listen to your body, it knows what it needs!
Now, note my wording- “needs” and “wants” are very different. Of course I want chocolate chip cookies and pizza all the time, but I don’t need it. Our bodies are surprisingly efficient at signaling to us whether they’re hungry, thirsty, satiated, etc. That’s why this seemingly simple “diet” is on the rise as people realize that entirely cutting out food groups or avoiding carbs at all costs is just tiresome and, quite frankly, not very effective.
Fad diets and trendy eating styles can be damaging to both your mind and body if done for long periods of time. Many diets simply don’t work and leave you feeling unsatisfied, or worse, can lead some to develop unhealthy food habits and restrictive eating disorders that stigmatize certain foods.
Intuitive eating can still be paleo, vegan, gluten-free, or whatever else you’ve determined is right for you; however, it doesn’t require you to count calories, track macros, or inspect every single ingredient in every product you see. Intuitive eating is based on a sense of mindfulness and alignment with the body.
We always advocate for eating healthy and clean, but we also know that- like everything in life- it’s all about balance. Sometimes it’s matcha tea and overnight oats for breakfast, other days it’s a Dunkin iced caramel swirl with a breakfast sandwich. And that’s fine! While fuel food is important for the body, sometimes you just have to feed your soul.
In an MSN article by Gabby Landsverk, she states, “Intuitive eating does take healthy eating into account, but only after unpacking the dietary dogma and pressure that often underlies the urge to eat healthily. The eventual goal of intuitive eating is to trust that your body knows what it needs to feel good, and that includes salads as well as sweets, healthy foods as well as indulgences.” Intuitive eating isn’t just about eating whatever you feel like on a whim, but rather, it’s about being mindful and listening to what your body needs- whether that’s a harvest salad or the occasional large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.
The beauty of intuitive eating is that it truly can be molded to anyone’s lifestyle. Whether you’re an on-the-go college student, a full-time employee, or a health and wellness junkie, you have the ability to take the time to listen to your body’s instincts and give it what it needs to feel fueled and full.
For a long time now, as health and wellness becomes increasingly trendy, people have been struggling to figure out answers to things like “which diet is the best diet” or “are carbs worse than fat.” The reality is, we can’t be so black and white about such things because every body is different. Intuitive eating is really a customized plan made just for you, made by the expert: your body!
As the health trend has grown, I feel like we have both destigmatized and re-stigmatized weight. The fixation on weight loss and “clean eating” can be extremely harmful to people trying to embark on a wellness journey when they’re portrayed in the context of restriction.
Research suggests “that intuitive eating leads to better self-esteem, emotional well-being, and psychological resilience. It's also been linked to greater motivation to exercise, since it prioritizes enjoyment instead of guilt or shame.”
So, to sum up, I would not recommend trying to test your limits and try to eat all of the Cheesecake Factory’s menu in one day (although that does sound amazing). However, I will say that you should never feel like you “can’t” eat something. Just try to eat foods that make you feel good, try to stay away from heavily processed foods, and don’t worry about tracking the calories for every bit of food you put into your body!
The goal of intuitive eating isn't to do it for 2 months so you can be ready for that beach vacation, it's a lifestyle adaptation. Intuitive eating is not meant to be a "diet" at all in the traditional sense, rather it is more about developing that sense of mindfulness and connection between your body and your brain. "The ultimate goal is to have food become one of many aspects of life that support your well-being, but it doesn't take on this outsized role where you're spending all your time worrying about food and nutrition... It gives you time to think about other things that matter in your life."
If you end up trying out intuitive eating for yourself, let us know what you think and how it's working for you!