Intuitive Eating: Your guide to slowing down and listening to your body.

Have you heard of the concept of intuitive eating? Modern living is so fast paced that we have become very out of tune with our bodies. Our sleep patterns are disrupted, we live in constant stress and we don’t even know when we are hungry. When you are fuelling yourself with only caffeine, eating on the run, inhaling your food, and eating while distracted (ie working), you are likely to be overeating, eating foods that are not the most nutritious and you are upsetting your digestive system. Intuitive eating is a way for you to get in touch with your body and what it needs to fuel it.

intuative eating

Does this sound like you?

  • Do you recognise when you are hungry, or perhaps you are just thirsty?
  • Are you forcing yourself to eat at certain times each day because the latest article on bodybuilding recommends six meals a day for a fast metabolism?
  • Do you recognise when you are full and satisfied, are you even tasting your food?
  • Do you eat because you’re feeling emotional, or are you enjoying your food because it is a pleasurable experience?

Do any of the above questions ring a bell with you?

It can take a long time to learn to eat intuitively when we have been stuck in old patterns for many years, and there are a few steps you need to be mindful of to help you along that path to intuitive eating.

Slow down.

Try to avoid eating on the run so plan to have at least 15 minutes to sit down to each of your main meals. This includes absent-mindedly shovelling food into your mouth while still busy at your computer. 15 minutes is definitely doable for everyone. Take the time to chew your food properly and taste each mouthful. Put your knife and fork down between each mouthful and enjoy a few minutes peace and quiet before returning to your day. Giving your body the chance to properly digest your food will also help it to send signals to your brain that you are full so that you do not overeat.

Are you eating because you are hungry, or because you believe that it is a meal time?

The saying, breakfast is the most important meal of the day applies… to some of us! If you are someone who really just does not feel like eating a full meal first thing in the day, perhaps you need to be up and moving for a while before your body requires fuel – that is okay! As long as you are prepared with a nutritious meal at the time you know you begin to feel hungry, and you continue to fuel yourself adequately throughout the rest of the day instead of letting yourself become starving and then binging on something that is not very good for you…

Do you feel like you need small meals or snacks regularly throughout the day?

You could also be on the other end of the spectrum, and feel that you need small meals or snacks regularly throughout the day. You cannot stomach a big meal, so it is fine to break your meals apart and eat more regularly. And it is absolutely fine to stop eating before you have finished a meal if you feel full – put the remainder aside and finish it later.

Are you eating because you are feeling emotional or stressed about something else?

Eating is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but this should be because you are sitting down with your family to a beautifully prepared meal, that tastes wonderful. Try to avoid eating to cover up something else – instead be prepared with strategies such as a calming cup of tea, a walk in the fresh air or some quiet time journaling or calling a friend on the phone to talk.

I can personally confirm that the journey to intuitive eating is a long one. We eat several times a day, think about food all day, PHYSICALLY feel hungry and are always being bombarded with messages and marketing about food. It can take many months if not years to properly learn to eat intuitively, but as long as you have the right tools, understanding and support, you will eventually get there.

Article by Alexa Searle

Hi team – I’m Alexa but most people call me Lexy so feel free to jump on that bandwagon. I have a degree in clinical physiology and a post-graduate diploma in rehabilitation so I have a real passion for helping all kinds of people fit movement into their lifestyle.

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