What is intuitive or “mindful” eating?
Intuitive eating can best be described as “normal” eating. Every one of us is born an intuitive eater - that is, we are born with a natural instinct that tells us what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and when to stop eating. Infants and young children are the best example of true intuitive eaters. Babies cry when they want to be fed and refuse the breast or bottle when they are full. A toddler might eat hot dogs for two straight weeks and then nothing but broccoli and carrots for a few days. A child will choose to eat when they are hungry — whether it’s a set meal time or not. Parents are often exasperated when their child seems to eat nothing one day and then eats like a wolverine the next.
Children don’t assign moral values to foods or eating behavior. They simply eat when they’re hungry, enjoy what they eat without guilt or remorse, and then stop when they’ve had enough. That is the essence of intuitive eating.
Want to find out if you are a “normal” or “intuitive” eater? Take the quiz by clicking the box below!
What happens to our intuition?
Soon after we start eating solid food, we are exposed to societal norms, rules, and pressures about eating:
Eating three scheduled meals per day – whether hungry or not.
Eating what is served to you – whether you like it or not, or are hungry or not.
Eating everything on your plate – whether you like it not, or are hungry or not.
There are “good” foods and “bad” foods – it’s taboo to enjoy the “bad” ones.
“Bad” foods are rewards for being “good”.
Appearance is important – if you fall outside of society’s accepted “norm”, you should do things (diet and exercise) to try to fit in.
Over time we learn to suppress and ignore our innate intuition about food: what, when, and how much we should eat. Add to that the pressure to be thin and look a certain way, and you get incredible confusion about food and generations of adults who don’t trust themselves or their bodies. This makes diets very appealing. Unfortunately, diets only serve to make the problem worse.
Diets are not the answer
We have more access to food plans, diets, nutrition, supplements, and exercise than ever before…and we’re fatter and sicker than we’ve ever been as a society.
Diets have a near-100% failure rate beyond one year. All of them. Paleo, Keto, South Beach, Atkins, Ornish…all of them fail to produce lasting results, with most people regaining all of the weight they lost, and often then some. That’s pretty staggering considering that there are literally thousands of diets to choose from, and that the diet and supplement industry rake in 60 billion dollars every year.
Something is wrong here. If diets, meal plans, and supplements worked, we’d all be thin and healthy by now! Instead, eating disorders and body hatred are at an all-time high, and we are heavier than ever - and still gaining.
I’m assuming that you are here and that you’ve read this far because you’re fed up. The diets haven’t worked. You keep losing and regaining weight. It gets harder and harder to lose the weight and keep it off. You don’t know why you can’t stop eating. You feel as though you are waging a war against your body. You want to lose weight and be healthy, but you’re so tired of the constant struggle.
It’s not your fault. You were stripped of your innate wisdom about food. But believe it or not, you are still an intuitive eater. You can relearn your body’s intrinsic wisdom about what, when, and how much to eat. You don’t need another diet. Even if you are overweight, you don’t need a diet. But you do need to heal your relationship with food and your body. When you normalize your eating - your body weight will also normalize and you will reach a healthy and happy weight that is right for your body.
Intuitive eating can help you do it.
Are you interested in learning more about intuitive eating and how it can help you?
Consider joining my self-guided online course that will take you step-by-step through the process that I used to free myself from emotional eating, binge eating, and chronic yo-yo dieting!
The course consists of 10 modules and is operated via a private Facebook group. Each member has three months (12 weeks) to complete all of the modules, with an option to add time or re-enroll at the end of three months. The course is 100% online, self-guided, move at your own pace, and no meetings! But you still get the benefits of interacting with a community of other women who are on the same journey and me as your coach!
Cost: Only $50 for all three months!
Start Date: The next group launches on February 1st!
What the course covers:
The reasons why diets go against our basic biology and are doomed to fail every time.
Teaches you how to tell when you are hungry and full.
Helps you understand the reasons that you overeat.
Teaches you how to stop eating.
Teaches you how to cope with emotional and binge eating.
Teaches you how to love your body more.
Covers sustainable and realistic nutrition and exercise.
Ready to Join? Have questions?
Please fill out the form below and I will get back to you ASAP!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will intuitive eating help me lose weight?
That depends greatly on your current situation. If you have been overeating or bingeing for many years, becoming an intuitive eater can help you lose weight. On the other hand, if you have been suppressing your weight through strict diets and exercise, you may gain weight. I was a “weight supressor”, so I went through a short period of weight gain, after which my weight stabilized, and began to drop.
The most important factor in intuitive eating is time. If you currently have excess weight to lose, IE can help, but it usually takes more time than all the diet claims splashed across the covers of glossy magazines - we need to get away from the idea of quick weight loss and fad diets! People who come to intuitive eating often have a very dysfunctional relationship with food and their bodies, have been yo-yo dieting for years, and may have slowed metabolisms as a result of that dieting. All of these issues need to be resolved before permanent weight loss occurs. If you are currently overweight and/or frequently overeat or binge, intuitive eating can help you relearn normal eating skills and resolve underlying issues, which will assist you in reaching your most healthy natural weight.
What is a “natural and healthy weight”?
I define this as: a weight that leaves your body free of chronic illness, a weight that allows you to comfortably do all of the activities you enjoy, a weight at which you are generally comfortable with your appearance, and a weight that your body easily maintains, year round, give or take about 5 lbs. You are able to live a lifestyle you love without fear or restriction.
Do you provide a meal plan?
No. I discuss healthy nutrition, but the whole point of intuitive eating is to begin to trust your body’s natural wisdom about food, and to re-learn hunger and satiety signals. Diets tell you what, when, and how much to eat without regard to your body. Each person is different – a plan of eating that works well for me could be downright dangerous for you. I don’t know your likes, dislikes, sensitivities, or lifestyle. So, no, I can’t tell you what, when, or how much to eat. These are things you need to figure out for yourself…but the process of intuitive eating will help you get there!