- Melissa Mauricio
Intuitive Eating: Your Key to Freedom
If you’ve read some of my other blog posts or spent time on my Instagram, you know I used to struggle with my relationship with food. I used to restrict my food, then binge, feeling out of control. I used food to numb emotions and I felt trapped by the rules and deprivation. I felt unhappy with my body and I was tired of falling off track and having to start over again.
Since then, I have completely healed my relationship with food and feel free. I am the healthiest version of myself, and now in my health coaching practice, I help people do the same.
One of the concepts at the core of my health coaching practice is Intuitive Eating and I’d love to go deeper into what that means and how you can start to implement it in your own life.
In my own words, Intuitive Eating is eating in a way that honors what your body needs. Your body is already giving you signals about what it needs. You were born knowing how to nourish yourself, but through the diet mentality and diet culture, we have forgotten how to listen to our own body.
We have been taught to outsource our own intuitive ability to care for ourselves and we’re told not to trust our bodies. Therefore, through diet culture and the diet mentality, we rely on someone else to tell us what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, how to eat, etc. At the core of intuitive eating, you are your own best health expert. Once you learn to listen and trust your body, you can become your healthiest self in a way that is easy and natural. You are able to make your own decisions about what, when and how much to eat, and as a result, you feel your best and can live your best life.
So how do you know if you are stuck in the diet mentality?
Here are some examples:
You have food rules like “don’t eat after 8pm”
You have placed labels on your food like “pizza is bad” “kale is good”
Your weight cycles as a result of chronic yo-yo dieting
You experience guilt or shame for what you eat
You experience periods of overeating where you feel out of control
You try to avoid certain foods
You shift what you are eating to change your external appearance
You measure or weigh your food
You count (ex: calories, points, macros)
You use food to numb emotions
If any of these sound like you, no judgment at all! None of them are your fault. It just means that becoming a more intuitive eater will make big shifts for you relationship to food and your body. It takes a lot of energy to be trapped in the cycles I described above. Intuitive Eating can free up a lot of your energy so you can focus on the important things in your life.
The first step in Intuitive Eating is to reject the diet mentality. You can think of it like a spectrum, with the diet mentality on one end and Intuitive Eating on the other. As you start to reject the diet mentality, you start to become more intuitive. This is important because diets promise to help you lose weight and keep it off forever- except that it doesn’t work. You might lose weight temporarily but diets are not sustainable. You’ll fall off track, feel like it’s your fault, and hang on to the hope that the next diet will “do the trick.” This cycle will continue until you decide to reject the diet mentality.
Another principle of Intuitive Eating is increasing satisfaction from food. How often have you eaten food you don’t like or just aren’t in the mood for, simply because it’s on your diet plan or because it’s deemed healthy? Your job is to throw that idea out the window. Eating food that you like and eating what feels most satisfying in the moment will create a more intuitive relationship with food. Ever notice that you crave soup in the winter and perhaps some cold watermelon in the summer? This is an example of your body talking to you.
As you go deeper into Intuitive Eating, you heal your relationship with food so you are no longer at war with food or your appetite. You also begin to respect your body, no matter your weight or size. You use food for nourishment, and all of this happens in a way that feels light and easy because you begin to work with your body instead of against it.
This is very much a journey and can be complex. There are many moving parts and you might have challenges or fears around intuitive eating. All of that is ok!
If you would like to go deeper with this work, click here, to schedule a free one on one consultation with me. It’s over the phone, so you can be anywhere in the world, and you are guaranteed to leave with clarity on what your ideal vision is for your health and life and what’s getting in the way.