Start your Intuitive Eating Journey here!
You’ve learned all about Intuitive Eating in my last blog post, and its made you think “I might want to try this!”
So, how do you get started with Intuitive Eating?
Here are three simple steps to start your journey with Intuitive Eating:
Step 1: Start listening to your hunger and fullness cues
Begin paying attention to what feeling full feels like or what feeling hungry feels like.
A simple method for doing this is a ranking of 1-10. 1 is when you feel hungry and 10 is when you feel overly full and stuffed after eating. When you feel at or close to hungry (level 1), eat. Don’t put it off. Honor your hunger levels. Many of us think that feeling full is equivalent to feeling at a 10, but this feeling is actually really uncomfortable (think about how you feel after you’ve overindulgedThanksgiving dinner!)
Intuitive Eating is about honoring when you feel comfortably full, not overly full. So when you eat, aim for 7-8 of the 1-10 scale. When you reach this level, I recommend you stop eating. Your body will take about 20 mins to fully digest your food, so it is very common to feel slightly more full after your body finishes processing food. That’s why stopping eating when you reach a level of comfortable fullness is key.
Keep practicing this method of discovering the range of hunger and fullness over several days. I think you will be really surprised at how much you eat when you honor those hunger and fullness cues.
Step 2: Become aware of your emotions related to food
First, set the intention that when becoming aware of your emotions it is not an opportunity to judge and criticize yourself. This is an opportunity for self discovery.
Once you’ve set that intention, start becoming the observer to your emotions and how you deal with the emotions that come up during the day.
Do you get really stressed out at work and then reach for salty snacks as an outlet to munch on while you work on projects? Do you use desserts to reward yourself after a particularly long day dealing with other people’s needs and wants?
Whatever emotions you have and how you choose to deal with those emotions, is great. The point of this exercise is not to judge yourself, but to simply see what you do and ask yourself: are my emotions causing me to eat this way, or am I truly physiologically hungry? Be ok with the answers that come up. Give yourself grace. It will take time to analyze these thoughts and feelings.
Step 3: Start listening into your intuition
Your intuition, also called your instincts, a hunch, a gut feeling, or your internal knowing, is the best guide for how you choose to manage emotions and what foods you decide to eat on a daily basis.
Begin paying attention to how that instinct responds in certain situations in life, not just with food. Remember that intuition is not the ego judging your body or food choices. It is the split second decision that tells you if something feels right/uplifting/positive/rewarding, or if something feels negative/depleting/draining/wrong.
Different people have different experiences with how their intuition responds to them in their body. I feel my gut sinking when something feels wrong, or it lifts with excitement when something is right. Others may feel tension in their shoulder and their jaw clench when something is wrong, some may feel a quickening in their heart rate when they feel joy and a sense of “right-ness” when their intuition tells them yes. These are the feelings you can start becoming aware of as you start to understand how your intuition speaks to you. And remember, you may have these intuitive hits when it comes to food choices too so really tune in around your meal times and observe how your body responds and reacts to different food choices.
Those were my 3 tips to help you start Intuitive Eating. Which one will you start using today? Let me know in the comments!
But how do you develop your intuition if you’re not sure if you even feel that gut feeling? Or are you having trouble getting any kind of intuitive hit when it comes to food? That’s the subject of my next blog post. So stay tuned for tactical and tangible ways to strengthen your intuition.
Sign up for my email list to get these tips asap!