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Intuitive Eating vs. Diet Culture: Embracing a Healthy Relationship with Food

Updated: Nov 8, 2023


Introduction:

During my lifetime, I have embarked on many diets. I have lost and gained hundreds of pounds, felt like a failure repeatedly, and ultimately found that diets are not sustainable for me. I reached a point, where I didn’t even know what foods I enjoy, or what I should be eating.

Now I truly believe that food is one of life’s pleasures. I also realized that the number on the scale was driving my health and wellness choices unnecessarily. It became almost an obsession that toyed with my emotions on a daily basis. I needed a different approach, and after reflecting further and learning more, have recently embarked on a new journey: intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is a transformative loving and compassionate approach to nutrition that champions tuning into your body's needs and fostering a harmonious connection with food. It is a weight neutral approach. In this way, it fundamentally moves from diet culture and the relentless pursuit of weight loss, to a healthy relationship with food and one’s body. It is a health promoting approach. I knew this was not only exactly what I need, but countless others could also benefit.

In this article, we'll explore intuitive eating, its distinctions from diet culture and weight loss, and how to cultivate a positive relationship with food.

Understanding the Differences:

  • Diet Culture vs. Intuitive Eating:

  • Diet culture imposes external rules, calorie counting, and food restrictions. Intuitive eating encourages mindful eating based on internal hunger and fullness signals.

  • Intuitive eating promotes inclusivity, accepting all foods without judgment, whereas diet culture stigmatizes certain foods as "good" or "bad."

  • Weight Loss vs. Intuitive Eating:

  • The weight loss industry focuses on shedding pounds through calorie restriction, often unsustainable. Intuitive eating prioritizes holistic well-being over weight as the ultimate indicator of health.

  • It shifts your focus from the scale's number to how you feel physically and emotionally, embracing overall health.

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Food:


To nurture a positive connection with food and adopt intuitive eating, follow these ten core principles:

  • Reject the Diet Mentality: Release the notion that diets hold the key to your well-being.

  • Honor Your Hunger: Listen to your body's hunger signals and eat when genuinely hungry.

  • Make Peace with Food: Enjoy all foods without categorizing them as good or bad.

  • Challenge the Food Police: Silence your inner critic that judges food choices.

  • Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Select foods that truly satisfy your palate and appetite.

  • Feel Your Fullness: Acknowledge when you're full and stop eating when satisfied.

  • Cope with Your Emotions Without Using Food: Find alternative ways to manage emotions.

  • Respect Your Body: Accept and appreciate your body as it is, regardless of size or shape.

  • Exercise and Feel the Difference: Engage in enjoyable physical activities, not just for weight control.

  • Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition: Make food choices that nourish your health without being overly strict.

Getting Started:

  • Educate Yourself: Learn about intuitive eating from books, podcasts, or online resources.

  • Self-Reflection: Analyze your current relationship with food and identify diet culture influences.

  • Seek Support: Consider working with a registered dietitian or therapist experienced in intuitive eating.

  • Practice Mindfulness: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues during meals.

  • Be Patient: Understand that adopting intuitive eating is a gradual process that requires self-compassion.

Conclusion


Embracing intuitive eating is a journey towards a healthier, more balanced relationship with food, free from the constraints of diet culture. It encourages health and wellness emotionally and physically. By following its principles and seeking support when needed, you can pave the way for a more mindful and fulfilling approach to nourishing your body.

I will be be blogging about my journey with intuitive eating, and beginning to include it in my coaching programs particularly with spiritual coaching, brainspotting, and the remedies for health as I learn more.

Remember to treat yourself with love and compassion.

Peace,

Wendy Edge


Reference:

Intuitive Eating, 4th Edition https://a.co/d/b0tWXMw

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