Intuitive Eating for Healthy Aging: Part 3

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 third installment of my Did You Know takeover, I will briefly introduce you to the fourth, fifth, and sixth principles of Intuitive Eating. 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.

Reader Question: “I am concerned about developing chronic health conditions as I age and I think my knees would hurt less if I lost weight. Will Intuitive Eating help me lose weight?”Answer: Intuitive Eating is a framework that encourages a well-balanced diet, meshed with exercise/body movement that feels good. Exercise and good nutrition are much more important to your joint health and overall health than the number on the scale. The more muscle you build and meals you eat daily at regular times will do more for managing the inflammatory effects of aging than dropping some lbs for the sake of dropping lbs. Often people lose weight while eating intuitively, but it is not guaranteed because everyone’s genetics, stress/trauma history, metabolism, etc. are different and unique.

The next 3 Principles of the Intuitive Eating framework

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

6. Find Fullness

4. Challenge the Food Police– Do you ever tell yourself you are “good” for eating nutritious, low calorie, or low-fat food? On the flipside, do you tell yourself you are “bad” for consuming desserts, fried foods, or bread? These internalized judgments about food are deteriorating your health more than any food itself.

I want to call on your Inner-Rebel to chase away the guilt, shame, or other critical feelings that arise when food is in the picture. You might feel fearful that your day to day diet quality will erode if you drop your guard against food temptation. Sometimes people have an initial increase in ultra-palatable foods when they start the practice of dismissing food judgment, but soon the novelty of these foods will wear off.

When chasing off the food police effectively, you will be left with a more neutral, non-judgmental position about food choices. This can be quite liberating to anyone who relies on rigid eating rules.

What diet rules do you follow that need to be broken?*

*this does not include medical guidance from your healthcare provider

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor-One way that restricting food choices leads to unhealthy eating behaviors is that our minds can obsess (consciously or unconsciously) on needs that we deny ourselves. This can cause a pendulum swing of overeating after periods of restriction, which often leads to a yo-yo diet effect. If we prioritize joy and satisfaction in eating, we are more likely to maintain a well-balanced, nutritious diet overall.

6. Find Your Fullness– Maladaptive patterns of eating can disconnect a person from their hunger and fullness cues. Types of patterns that can get in the way of our internal cues include eating quickly, habitually skipping meals, comparing the size of your portion to others, eating in front of the television, just to name a few. 

Did you know it can take 10 to 15 minutes for your body to acknowledge fullness? Eating quickly can run ahead of that schedule and by the time your body says “I’m full”, you’ve already eaten twice the amount needed and feel the discomfort of overeating.

To find your fullness, try out some mindfulness techniques to see what is comfortably full for you. My favorite technique is to eat the portion you think you need, sit back for ten minutes, if you still feel hungry, take a helping. By re-attuning to your hunger signals, you may find you are more comfortable and more satisfied after meals!

Next week, in part 4 of this series, we will look at more intuitive eating principles and answer a reader’s question. You can email questions about Intuitive Eating or anything else nutrition-related to:      

You can also look at some of the research behind Intuitive Eating here                       

-Written by Jamie Rincker, MS RD Vivo Head Nutritionist

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