Health is wealth. But when we are talking about health, we do not only mean physical health but mental health as well.  A lot of factors influence your physical as well as mental health, including those that you never thought would have a significant impact. One such factor is your relationship with food. 

Relationships with people is something we all know of, but isn’t the concept of relationship with the food we eat quite unheard of? 

You’ll be surprised to know that, a lot depends on your relationship with food, majorly your physical as well as mental health. Most of us have a poor relationship with food without even realising it. 

This is where intuitive eating comes in.  Intuitive eating is a philosophy revolving around eating patterns, it helps you understand your body and its hunger signals better. What it does do is improve your relationship with food, but what it doesn’t do is set rules as to what to eat and what to avoid. Instead, it teaches that you are the best person to make food choices. 

In this blog, we will be learning more about intuitive eating and its benefits. 

Let’s begin with the basic idea of intuitive eating

Intuitive eating is based on the idea that one must eat when they’re hungry and stop the moment they are full. It might seem easy to do, but it isn’t for most people. Most people fail to distinguish between genuine hunger and cravings. In addition, most people follow what they are instructed to when it comes to what to eat and when to eat. 

Difference between hunger and emotional cravings 

Thus, the first thing to do is learn to differentiate between genuine hunger and emotional cravings. Here are points of differences: 

  • If you feel hungry just 1 or 1.5 hours after consuming a packed meal, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. 
  • Cravings usually arise when you are unoccupied or getting bored. 
  • Genuine hunger can come with signs such as growling, restlessness and dizziness. 
  • A craving makes you want a specific food item, specifically junk food. 
  • If you are hungry, you’ll consume a plate of veggies lying in front of you. But if it is a craving, you wouldn’t. 

Some signs that you have a bad relationship with food

Before you can improve your relationship with food, it’s important to recognise if you have a bad relationship with food in the first place: 

  • You feel guilty after eating.
  • You boycott food that is considered bad. 
  • You have formulated a long list of rules revolving around the foods you can or cannot eat.
  • You rely on calorie-counting apps to tell you if you have eaten enough for the day.
  • You neglect your body’s natural hunger cues.
  • You are following the diet fads in trend. 
  • You feel stressed when eating in social settings 
  • You find yourself either bingeing or restricting food.

Tips to cultivate a healthy relationship with food

  • Just so you know, there are no fixed timing to eat and no good or bad food. If you are somebody watching your weight, anything in moderation wouldn’t do you any harm. Just listen to your body. 
  • Engage in mindful yet flexible eating that prioritises both pleasure and nutritional needs and it recognises and considers internal cues of satiety, hunger, and appetite.
  • Take time to introspect. Analyse your underlying feelings that are associated with food. Sometimes, people binge eat when they are in stress. It’s important to recognise and process your feelings if you want to improve your relationship with food. 
  • Become an informed consumer. Pick food after identifying your needs, instead of ‘wants’. 
  • Reach out for support. If you seem to struggle with food, seek professional help. 

The benefits you will be enjoying

  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Lower BMI (body mass index)
  • Improved body satisfaction
  • Decreased depression
  • Better state of mind 
  • Lower levels of restrictive and disordered eating

Closing thoughts 

intuitive eating offers a refreshing and empowering approach to our relationship with food and our bodies. By tuning into our body’s natural cues, honouring our hunger and fullness, and rejecting the restrictive and diet-centric mindset, we can find freedom from the endless cycle of guilt and deprivation. Intuitive eating encourages self-compassion, body acceptance, and overall well-being, promoting a sustainable and balanced approach to nourishing ourselves. By embracing intuitive eating, we can foster a healthier and more positive connection with food, paving the way for a happier and more fulfilling life.

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