Make Peace With Your Body Through Intuitive Eating

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We live in a culture that provides countless ways to question our worth and few ways to trust and love ourselves. This phenomenon extends to food, eating, and our bodies. We are bombarded by daily messages that we can’t trust ourselves, and we need help from outside sources to tell us what and how much to eat.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that restricting what we eat through diets, such as Keto, Whole30, or clean eating, leads to adverse physical and mental health effects. Not only do 95 percent of all dieters regain their lost weight within one to five years, repeated dieting has been shown to raise a person’s setpoint and slow metabolism leading to long-term weight gain. As diet after diet fails, we tend to blame ourselves for a lack of willpower or self-discipline, and often end up feeling like a failure and experiencing lower self-esteem. This is clearly counter-productive.

If diets actually worked, we wouldn’t have to go on so many of them.
— Alexis Conason, psychologist and researcher

To overcome all these confusing messages about what and how much to eat, we can become intuitive eaters. When you practice intuitive eating, you listen to the natural cues of your body to determine when and what to eat, which enables you to make peace with food, your body, and yourself. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch developed 10 principles of intuitive eating that are guides to teach you to respect your natural intuition, honor your body—and ultimately cultivate a healthy relationship with food, yourself, and your body.

How intuitive eating helps you make peace with your body

Intuitive eating helps you honor your body’s natural wisdom
Yes, your body has wisdom!!! It has built-in signals that help you know when it is time to eat, drink, and rest—among other things. When we ignore our bodies’ wisdom, and we listen to external influences because of dissatisfaction and shame we feel about our bodies, we set ourselves up for a restrict-binge cycle.

The more we limit what we eat and exert forced control on ourselves, the hungrier we become —and most likely we will also resent the process— and we succumb to harmful behaviors such as binge eating, compensating for overeating, and restricting ourselves from food. Intuitive eating allows you to listen to your amazing body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness and, satisfaction, so you can break this vicious cycle.

Intuitive eating helps you build trust in yourself
When you don’t trust yourself, you might say things like “I can’t keep chips in my house,” “I can’t trust myself around sweets,” or “How could I possibly eat whatever I want and not get fat?”  

The practices of intuitive eating teaches that it’s not only okay to trust yourself, but that your body is the best source of guidance when deciding when and what to eat. When you trust that your body knows what’s best for it, you will start to make peace with the wonderful body you have.

What’s more, when you trust yourself with food —our most basic need— you will be able to trust yourself, gain confidence, and trust yourself in other areas and relationships in your life.

Intuitive eating promotes body respect
One of the key principles of Intuitive Eating as outlined by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch is to respect your body. When you respect your body, three important things happen: you become grateful for it and all it does for you; you quit comparing it to other people’s bodies; and you stopping bashing your body with negative talk.

How you feel about you body effects how you care for your body. When you accept and respect your body, you take better care of it, including moving it for pleasure rather than punishment.

When you are wrapped up in hating your body, it means you often aren’t thinking about how to center yourself in your body.
— Amanda Levitt, writer, activist, and creator of Fat Body Politics”

When you’re not focused on centering yourself in your body, your focus is centered on sources outside of your body, whether it’s on others’ potential gazes, on the narratives that try to define how one should look, or on shaming and judging ourselves.

Intuitive eating is about finding freedom from the painful narrative that says you lack control or that your body is unworthy as it is. It encourages you to start listening to what your body needs and wants without judgement or shame. By taking away the many rules that diet culture impose on us regarding what and how much to eat or how to look and allowing your body be your guide, we actually make peace with our bodies learning to appreciate all they do for us.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to find out more about how you can embrace your body, yourself and your life with more love and kindness or follow @kindfulbody on Instagram.

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