Intuitive eating. Intuitive movement. We’re learning more about the benefits of making our daily choices around food and movement by trusting ourselves more and listening to our bodies. But how can we put it into practice?
Today I’m sharing about the practices that have helped guide me with intuitive eating.
Learning how to tune in and trust my body’s intuition has helped me better make the daily choices that best support my my energy, my mood, my sleep, my digestion and my overall vitality.
When we make daily choices around our food, our movement, our self care and more, we can either base these choices on our inner voice (otherwise known as our intuition) or outside voices and opinions of others. Which do you tend to listen to more?
What does intuitive eating mean?
To me, intuitive eating means letting go of all rules and expectations around following any specific eating plan or diet labels. It means I’m honoring the fact that I am the expert of my body. It means I understand that no one else can tell me what my body needs because no one else knows how my body feels at any given moment.
Eating intuitively means learning how to trust and use my body’s cues around what makes me thrive and feel nourished in body, mind and soul. Our bodies’ needs can change from day to day, moment to moment and only we know what our bodies need at any given time or on any given day.
Every one of us has intuition and we all have the ability to make our food choices from a more intuitive place.
That inner voice, that gut feeling…that’s where the answers are when it comes to making the daily choices that serve us best.
Note: this blog post is not referring to making intuitive choices about illness or medical needs. Those should always be discussed with a trusted doctor or other medical professional and their recommendations should always be followed.
5 practices that have helped me with intuitive eating:
1 | Learning how to be a more intuitive person overall.
Being more mindful of not just my body, but paying closer attention to all the things happening around me has helped me in my intuitive eating journey.
Some ways in which I’ve worked to become a more intuitive, mindful person are:
- taking just a few minutes each day to get quiet and pay attention to my body and my heart space.
- learning to pay attention to ALL the information I take in with each on of my senses, especially when I’m in nature or with other people.
- practicing yoga regularly, which has given me such an awareness of my physical body and where I am in the space I’m in.
- daily meditation where I use my breath to calm my body and cultivate more awareness and feelings of inner calm.
2 | Putting my hands on my body and asking it what it needs more of, and what it needs less of.
I truly believe in the power of connecting to my body, and asking it what it needs.
Here’s a simple exercise that will help to strengthen the connection between your mind and your body: sit comfortably in a quiet room. Place one hand on your low belly and one hand over your heart. Close your eyes and breathe into these spaces in your body. Now, ask your body what it needs today in terms of food, exercise, sleep, self care or anything else you’d like to intuit. Take notice of the first thing that comes up for you and trust that that’s your body’s wisdom communicating with you. Write it down.
3 | Letting go of any and all diet or food labels.
So many of us want to label ourselves or put ourselves in boxes when it comes to diet and food labels. I suppose we do this because we feel the need to have control in these areas, or we welcome the outside voices because we don’t trust ourselves to make the right decisions for ourselves.
Letting go of these labels and freeing ourselves from these boxes is an important step towards more intuitive eating and living, and towards trusting that intuitive guidance that your body gives you.
There’s no need to label yourself a vegetarian or keto or paleo or anything else (unless of course, you’re doing it for ethical reasons which is an entirely different reasoning). Learning to trust that your body will tell you when it needs animal foods, or more veggies or whole grains or even a bowl of ice cream or some dark chocolate to satisfy a craving or to celebrate, and trusting that guidance from your body, will lead you down the path of more intuitive eating.
4 | Minimizing distractions while I’m eating in so I can stay mindfully tuned in.
While intuitive eating allows us the freedom to choose the foods that will nourish our bodies and souls right now, many of us still have trouble with determining how much food we should eat at any given meal. And with the stressors of daily life, many of us (myself included) have used food as a stress-relieving tool. We may overeat to deal with tough emotions, which of couse isn’t the healthiest choice for our bodies, either.
Something that helps me to stay tuned in and not overeat or eat past the point of fullness or for my current hunger levels, is to minimize distractions so I can stay mindful to my food and to what my body is feeling.
Of course these days it’s not uncommon to stare at a phone or other screen while eating. But I make it a point to set my phone down and focus on my food and the way my body feels if I’m eating alone, or to focus on the people and the conversations if I’m eating with others.
Also, I instinctively tend to eat fast, so slowing myself down while I’m eating and giving my body time to register fullness and satiety is much easier when I’m not distracted by my phone or other device.
This is a hard habit to break if you’re in the habit of doing this, but I promise it’s so worth it.
5 | Placing myself around people who eat and live intuitively.
I’m drawn to people who trust themselves and who live their lives intuitively. Maybe it’s because it’s a way of life that I strive towards, or maybe it’s because I seek to learn from them.
I look for and listen to intuitive people on podcasts, I talk with them when I have the chance to and ask them questions and then I take in the tools they mention and try them out for myself to see if they work for me. I’ll take what works well for me and I’ll leave what doesn’t.
Here are some of my favorite podcasts to listen to: The Balanced Blonde, IGNTD, The Sakara Life Podcast, The MindBodyGreen Podcast, On Purpose With Jay Shetty.