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Intuitive Eating Principles

Summary taken from Intuitive Eating Authors Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch:

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally give-in to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in “Last Supper” overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitors the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.

Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort you in the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.

Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly become nutrient deficient or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts in the long run.

Health at Every Size ®

Health should be conceived as a resource or capacity available to all regardless of health condition or ability level, and not as an outcome or objective of living. Pursuing health is neither a moral imperative nor an individual obligation, and health status should never be used to judge, oppress, or determine the value of an individual. Centering this definition of health, the Health At Every Size® (HAES®) Principles and framework are a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. The HAES® Principles promotes health equity, support ending weight discrimination, and improve access to quality healthcare regardless of size.

The current version of the HAES® Principles were last updated in 2013. Our organization and community discussions around what Health at Every Size® means have evolved immensely and the current principles do not reflect much of the evolution. Our top priority during the 2022-23 board year will be updating the principles.

Mindful Eating.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you recognize and cope with your emotions and physical sensations. It’s used to treat many conditions including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and various food-related behaviors. Mindful eating requires paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgement. It is an approach to food that focuses on the 5 senses to increase gratitude, which can improve the overall eating experience.

Finding Your Voice.

Many times when struggling with negative experiences in our life, it can be hard to advocate for ourselves and the care we need. Creating space in sessions to discuss how these experiences impact quality of life can help garner the resilience to use our voice to stand up for what we deserve and believe in. Many topics that include discussions about finding your voice include social justice issues, oppression, weight stigma, and more. It is our goal to empower our clients to navigate these situations in a way that honors their lived experiences while feeding their body the food that is both physically & psychologically satisfying.