Abbey Mae

The Modern Woman's Guide to Personal Growth and Wellness

Intuitive Eating: A Guide

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If you've been here for a while, you know that I am absolutely in love with the idea of intuitive eating. Dieting has never been something that I have liked, and I have always thought it was an unhealthy approach to wellness.

When I found intuitive eating, it was like I was being confirmed. My whole life, I had already been practicing it, and now it just reminded me of the natural rhythm of myself. 

If you've never heard of this, you are in for a sweet surprise. Forget dieting, forget calorie counting, this method is proven to work and it won't leave you feeling depleted or disconnected to yourself.

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Why is Dieting So Bad? 

Aside from messing with your metabolism, diets are incredibly restrictive. I hate the energy surrounding diets. It's born out of a lack of self love. I don't like this part of me, I want to change it so I am going to restrict myself from eating this in order to create a part of myself I am able to love. 

It goes against the natural rhythms of your body, and it also goes against self love and self acceptance. It isn't healthy for our bodies or ourselves to restrict our eating patterns.

What is a Healthy Relationship with Food? 

A healthy relationship with food starts with a healthy relationship to self. A healthy relationship with food involves loving your body, as well as loving whatever food you put in it.

Not feeling guilty for indulgence, but also loving yourself enough to want healthy foods for yourself.  Eating because you love food and nourishment, becoming in touch with your own natural rhythms and desires and honoring them. Loving food, both sweet and savory.

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What is Intuitive Eating? 

Intuitive eating is a practice where you listen to your body. You eat what you want, but you only eat what you truly want. You are conscious about your reasons behind choosing the food you do. 

This makes all the difference. Emotional eating is a big problem, and we've all done it at some point. But sometimes we don't realize the extent of it all. Often times we seek happiness or comfort through food, and through intuitive eating we can learn to know our own emotional patterns and how that influences our eating. 

But it also means that we indulge when we truly feel we want to and we don't feel guilty about it. We love ourselves and when we feel indulgent because of an emotion we deal with it instead of eating something to deny it. We feed ourselves wholesome food because we love our bodies, instead of out of restriction.

How to Practice Intuitive Eating 

Intuitive eating is about being in touch with yourself, loving yourself, and listening to your desires. You eat until you are satisfied, not until you are stuffed. You start to develop this relationship with food and nourishment, because it isn't about restrictions or feelings of guilt.

It is born out of love for yourself and your beautiful body.  Here are a few steps to get you started:

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Step 1: Notice Your Relationship with Food

The first step of intuitive eating is becoming intuitive. Notice how you feel around certain foods. What is your relationship with certain foods? Do you avoid certain foods because of restriction? How much does self love play into your food choices?

Write it down in a journal or make it a habit to be mindful of yourself as you are eating. Notice how you feel before, during and after a meal. Become in touch with yourself, as well as your body's natural rhythms. 

One exercise to try is to go into the grocery store and listen to the thoughts that come into your head around certain foods. What are the feelings? Write them down or simply notice them. 

Step 2: Listen to Your Gut

Step 1 is so important, because it helps you create a relationship with yourself, and this will guide you in Stel 2, as you begin to listen to your natural desires. What do you truly want for (insert meal here)? Begin to ask yourself these questions before you eat. 

In society, you are taught that your desires are bad. There are so many boxes we put around food, certain foods being "bad" and others being "good". This leads us to not trust ourselves. But once you start listening to your gut, listening to your own natural rhythms, you return to that natural relationship with food.

It isn't about boxes, it's about nourishment.  Be intuitive and start to listen to your natural desires. These aren't connected with seeking a feeling from a certain food. They are deep, true desires, what people often call gut feelings. Pay attention to them and actually start to let them guide you in your food choices. If you really want cake, eat it, and if you really want broccoli, eat it. Also, notice when you're eating if you are satisfied or not, and don't eat any more if you are satisfied. 

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Step 3: Deal with Your Emotions

When you notice that you want to eat something because you want a certain feeling, stop. Don't eat the food, rather pause and reflect. Listen to the feeling, and let it guide you to the root problem.

What is it that is making you want that feeling? Dig deep until you find an answer. This is the real problem, and it has nothing to do with the food. Do the same thing if you feel guilty after eating. Chances are you are feeling insecure. 

Then, once you have found the real problem, listen deeper. If you can deal with it on the spot, then be sure to deal with the problem. Afterwards, or if you cannot deal with the problem right then, listen deeper. Your true desires will show through, and you will likely end up eating something totally different because that is what you really want. But remember to deal with the root problem at some point that day, because it will show up again if you do not address it.

Step 4: Love Yourself

As you learn to be more intuitive, you will notice gaps in self love. A lot of issues surrounding food go back to self love. You feel insecure because you don't love that one part of yourself and you try to medicate with food. 

Intuitive eating is born out of a cycle of love, love for your body and love for yourself. Eating isn't supposed to be a practice born out of a want to change yourself so that you can finally love certain parts of you. It's a practice that is supposed to bring you joy, because you are eating for the nourishment of your body-all of your body, not just the parts that you think are good.  

Becoming body positive is an important practice for eating, because we feel we are already enough and therefore we have no need to look to food to complete us. There is a sense of wholeness and ownwership of who we are, inside and out, that bleeds into our eating practices. You are already beautiful, and you don't have to change your body to be fully accepted if you accept yourself and love yourself as you are. Food should be an extension of that love, guiding us to discover any emotional burdens we may be carrying and teaching us to be completely in touch with ourselves and our bodies. 

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Thanks for joining me today! I love talking about becoming healthier and having a healthy relationship with food. If you practice intuitive eating or if you decide to try it, leave a comment below telling me about your experience. I hope you have an amazing Friday, and always remember to love yourself!  

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