Intuitive Eating for Healthy Aging: Part 2

Did you know… that the Intuitive Eating framework is based on 10 principles. My 1-on-1 clients often feel that some of the principles resonate more for them than others, which speaks to the unique needs we all have as individuals. Are there one or two that resonate for you?

This week, in the second installment of my Did You Know takeover, I will breifly introduce you to the first 3 principles of Intuitive Eating and next week we will go through the last 3. There are loads written about these principles, but I’m going to give you the quick and dirty rundown. You may have questions or get curious about trying some of these concepts out and you should! Email me if you want to discuss or join our Vivo Intuitive Eating Group class that is starting in October. 

The first 3 Principles of the Intuitive Eating framework

  1. Reject the diet mentality
  2. Honor your hunger
  3. Make peace with food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Respect your fullness

1. Reject the diet mentality – it’s time to throw away all of the diet books and articles. Unfollow social media contacts that mandate strict eating rules or make you feel bad about your body. Dieting is very often linked to disordered eating, major weight fluctuations and poorer quality of life. Instead, look forward to a non-diet approach that focuses solely on your mind and body’s relationship with food, not on the scale. This is a major shift in perspective for many people, but is backed up by an increasing number of research studies and health professionals.

2. Honor Your Hunger – We all know a body needs adequate energy and nutrients on a daily basis, but sometimes we push off eating because we are busy, it feels like a hassle to eat, or we are restricting how often we eat. Supressing hunger  during the day often leads to voracious primal brain hunger, which is basically a wild animal with all of the urgency to eat and none of the patience to eat mindfully and enjoy food.

There are some helpful tools to start recognizing hunger before it becomes a wild animal. One is journaling a bit about what meals you are having and what times you eat. This can help you tune in to what your body needs and keep your wild animal brain in check. Notice if you are experiencing hunger, but telling yourself “It’s not time to eat”.  Instead, always allow yourself to eat if you are hungry. Another tip is to actively pay attention to all physical sensations like a full bladder, needing to blink, stretching out muscles. What sensations are pleasant and which are not? For example, it feels if you are sleepy at the end of a long day it feels nice to wind down and go to sleep, but if you are severely sleep deprived you may feel panicked to get rest. It’s the same with hunger, you can try to ignore it, but in the end it’s coming for you and you might as well make peace with it.

3. Make peace with food – This principle is really a continuation of the honoring your hunger principle. It takes it one step further and asks you to allow yourself to eat the foods you want to eat WHEN you want to eat them. This can be extremely hard if you have a strict regimen of avoiding chocolate chip cookies or you’ve given up your favorite fried treat. We will get to the principle that focuses on nutrition, but it’s principle number 10 for a reason. You cannot build a healthy relationship with food if you are actively restricting certain foods. Releasing yourself from the burden of restricting foods while listening to your hunger cues is a recipe for healthier eating and less chance of overeating to a level of discomfort.Next week, in part 3 of this series, we will look at more intuitive eating principles and answer a reader question. You can email questions about Intuitive Eating or anything else nutrition-related to:                                               

-Written by Jamie Rincker, MS RD Vivo Head Nutritionist

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