Intuitive eating and weight loss. Three expert tips to help you trust your body and instincts

  • 2 Minutes Read
  • Mar 6, 2020

Trusting your own instincts and body are concepts that dieters often need to teach themselves. Want to learn more about intuitive eating and weight loss? Learn three tips to help you trust your body and instincts to guide you with healthy eating.

Intuitive eating and weight loss

How intuitive eating and weight loss will help you trust your body

Trust your body. One concept that dieters often need to teach themselves is to trust their own instincts and bodies when it comes to food intake. To trust yourself to eat when you are hungry and to stop eating when you are full sounds so simple! Yet, why are there so many interferences to the simple process of eating? Why do we, as humans, have such a difficult time differentiating between physical needs and emotional feelings when it comes to eating? Why is it so challenging to have a healthy relationship between food, body and mind?

Our family has been living in Spain with a big-hearted Spanish host mother, who provides lavish meals for us three times per day. Consequently, the issue of eating to please my doting host mother versus trusting my own instincts has surfaced. Our host mother serves us portions that she deems appropriate and then asks us "un poco mas?" (a little bit more?) even before we have finished. At first it was funny, and then after a week, I started to feel uncomfortable and nauseous trying to finish the food on my plate. My pants were becoming snugger! If food is a sign of love, our host mother loved us! However, we needed to find a solution to this situation in a culturally appropriate manner.

After an amazing night hike and viewing the stars shining over Africa, I came back and told my host mother about the beautiful "estrias" in the sky that I had seen. She confusingly pointed to the stretch marks on her stomach and laughed. I meant "estrellas" which meant stars. This provided a perfect segway to tell my host mother that I didn't want my "estrias" growing and to ask if we could serve our own plates based on our appetite. She smiled and said, "Si."

This situation demonstrated to me how painful it is when someone normally relies on his/her own hunger cues and then all of a sudden eats larger portions due to someone else's insistence. Perhaps you grew up trying to please someone who was cooking and you were forced to finish your plate...

How can you use intuitive eating to teach yourself to trust your own hunger cues?

  1. Use a hunger satiety scale. Ask yourself how hungry and full you are on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being mildly hungry and 10 being uncomfortably stuffed. Track your hunger and emotional cues for one week. If you use the MyNetDiary tracker, you can make notes about hunger, satiety and cues in the "notes" section.

  2. Slow down and enjoy the color, textures and mouth feel of different foods. Put a saltine cracker in your mouth and slowly let it dissolve. Compare the initial salty bland flavor followed by the sweet flavor as the enzymes in your mouth naturally break down the starch into sugar. For more information on mindful eating, check out 5 Mindful eating tips for weight loss.

  3. Create a healthy kitchen. Buy and stock 90% of foods in your pantry with minimally processed foods from the five food groups: vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meat or meat alternatives. This means that 9 out of 10 foods in your shopping cart should be healthy! To learn more, check out these MyNetDiary articles.

Learning to trust your body takes time. Slowly learn to trust your hunger and satiety cues and have mainly healthy foods available to eat. You can then say goodbye to diets and say hello to healthy eating for life!

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Updated March 6, 2020

Weight Loss->Emotional & Mindful Eating
Martha M. Henze
Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

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