Nutrition and Wellness

The Power of Intuitive Eating: Listen to Your Body

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Can understanding the philosophy of intuitive eating help individuals achieve and maintain health goals by breaking free from diets and getting healthy by improving their relationship with food and exercise?

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to eating that focuses on listening to the body with internal body cues. Strict food rules are the main reason diets don’t work and negatively impact overall health and well-being. (Linardon, J., & Mitchell, S. 2017) Intuitive eating is characterized by eating in response to physiological hunger and satiety cues rather than emotional cues. The body was born to eat when hungry and stop when full. However, this natural way of eating can get lost in emotions, food rules, and restrictions. Fortunately, getting back to intuitive eating is possible for everyone.

How Does It Work?

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach that steps away from a diet mentality and applies healthy behaviors around food. It focuses on unlearning external rules, like diet rules and expectations of what and how much to eat, and emphasizes internal cues like hunger, fullness, and how foods make you feel. It is based on principles that help build a healthier relationship with food. Individuals become aware of what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat naturally, without worry or guilt.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is not the same thing as intuitive eating. Individuals can think of mindful eating as a skill or practice, while intuitive eating is a philosophy.

Principles

Understanding the ten core principles and how they work together is important.

Remove The Diet Mentality

Let go of the quick fixes and gimmick diets. These offer false hope that weight loss is easy, quick, and permanent and can make individuals feel like failures for losing and regaining weight.

Honor Hunger

Hunger is a normal, biological process. The body requires adequate amounts of energy and carbohydrates to function properly. Ignoring these cues and hunger can lead to cravings, overeating, and binges. Learning to honor hunger cues sets the stage for rebuilding trust with food. A food scale can help determine proper portions.

Make Friends With Food

Allow yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want. This means including all foods without labeling them as good or bad. Once an individual tells themself they can’t have a certain food, they can feel deprived, and intense cravings can build that often lead to overeating, binges, and extreme food guilt.

Get the Food Police Out Of Your Head

Learn to say no to self-induced thoughts of good or bad based on what is being eaten or how many calories are involved. Diets often say eating too many calories or enjoying a cookie is bad. These rules and restrictions can lower self-esteem and cause feelings of guilt. Removing negative food thoughts, guilt, and other rules is critical to intuitive eating.

Respect The Body’s Fullness

Listen for body cues that say you are full. This means your body is no longer hungry and should stop eating. Enjoy the flavors, stay aware of satiety signals throughout meals, and always be aware of your fullness level.

Satisfaction Factor

Learn to find joy and satisfaction in the eating experience. Eating what they want in an inviting environment promotes happiness and satisfaction, and a positive eating experience has been shown to promote satisfaction with even less food.

Honor Feelings Without Using Food

Don’t fix problems with food. Learn healthy ways to cope with emotions like stress, anxiety, anger, or boredom without turning to food. Feeding emotional hunger only makes feelings worse and adds guilt to the mix.

Respect Your Body

Body size and shape are unique for each person. Acceptance is an important part of self-respect and love. Instead of being critical, embrace individual genetic blueprints.
Being unrealistic and critical about one’s body makes it difficult to reject the diet mentality.

Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be intense or extreme to be effective. Individuals should focus on how good it feels to be active and moving their bodies rather than how many calories are burned during the workout sessions. Feeling great and motivated about exercise is easy when there is increased energy, better sleep, and improved quality of life.

Honor Health

Individuals don’t have to be perfect eaters. Infrequently eating a certain snack or meal won’t make you gain weight or cause health problems.
It’s what is eaten consistently over time that matters. Making food choices that taste good and nourish the body is what counts.

Weight Loss Benefits

Intuitive eating is not designed for weight loss. It aims to improve an individual’s relationship with food, including building healthier food behaviors and not focusing on the weight scale. However, learning to be an intuitive eater can help individuals lose weight by allowing the body to break the diet cycle and settle into its natural set point weight range.

Overall Health Benefits

Intuitive eating has been shown to have both physical and emotional health benefits that include:

  • Higher levels of contentment and satisfaction
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Better body image outlook
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Improved metabolism
  • Lower rates of emotional and disordered eating

In a 24-study review that examined the psychosocial effect intuitive eating had on adult women was associated with the following positive results (Bruce, L. J., and Ricciardelli, L. A. 2016)

  • Decreased eating disorders
  • Improved positive outlook on body image
  • Higher emotional functioning

Another study compared restrictive diets and intuitive eating among men and women. The study found that intuitive eating uniquely and consistently presented lower levels of disordered eating and body image concerns. (Linardon, J., & Mitchell, S. 2017) Participants using intuitive eating expressed high levels of body appreciation, and researchers suggested promoting the practice within public health approaches to eating disorder prevention. The study also supported intuitive eating by promoting body acceptance and removing unhealthy thinking about food and eating.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic works with primary healthcare providers and specialists to develop a personalized treatment plan through an integrated approach to create personalized care plans for each patient and restore health and function to the body through nutrition and wellness, functional medicine, acupuncture, Electroacupuncture, and sports medicine protocols. If the individual needs other treatment, they will be referred to a clinic or physician best suited for them. Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, nutritionists, and health coaches to provide the most effective clinical treatments.


Eating Smart To Feel Better


References

Linardon, J., & Mitchell, S. (2017). Rigid dietary control, flexible dietary control, and intuitive eating: Evidence for their differential relationship to disordered eating and body image concerns. Eating behaviors, 26, 16–22. doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2017.01.008

Bruce, L. J., & Ricciardelli, L. A. (2016). A systematic review of the psychosocial correlates of intuitive eating among adult women. Appetite, 96, 454–472. doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.10.012

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "The Power of Intuitive Eating: Listen to Your Body" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
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