In the first part of this article series, we talked about three principles for Intuitive Eaters to follow:
- Rejecting the Diet Mentality
- Honoring Your Hunger
- Making Peace with Food
Today, I want to cover some of the other principles that go hand in hand with the first three.
Principle no 4 – Challenge the Food Police
“Challenge the Food Police” is the fourth principle of Intuitive Eating as described in Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book “Intuitive Eating. A Revolutionary Program that Works.
“Food Police” is that voice in your head criticizing your food choices, saying you’re “bad” for eating a chocolate cookie or “good” for eating a salad for lunch. It’s that internal monologue you hear that labels all foods as “good” or “bad” and that puts certain rules around food.
It’s thoughts like this:
- You shouldn’t eat after 6 PM
- Forget dessert, you already had too much for lunch
- Potatoes are not good for you, etc.
Food Police dictate what kind of foods you can or can not eat – and that means you’re still not free from the diet mentality. According to Intuitive Eating, it’s time to challenge these inner thoughts! This philosophy will teach you to stand up to that voice and make it go away. It won’t be easy, especially if you’ve been dieting all your life, but it is possible to change your thoughts.
Every time you hear that voice telling you what to do – challenge it!
Principle no. 5 – Respect Your Fullness
This is one of the principles that may be difficult to follow at first. After all the years of dieting, suppressing your hunger, following strict rules, and then bingeing as a result, you may not even know what feeling full is like.
Just like with principle number 2 (honoring your hunger), it’s important to listen to your body. As you’re eating, listen for the signals that tell you you’re getting comfortably full. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe as it is highly individual, but as you start getting more in touch with yourself, you’ll soon learn to recognize it.
The goal here is to feel completely satisfied, not hungry and not too full – just comfortably in-between. Like with the previous steps, you’ll have ups and downs. There will be times when you respect your fullness completely and times when you overindulge. But that’s OKAY!
That’s what Intuitive Eating is all about – listening to your body, taking it day by day, meal by meal. And not letting restrictive thoughts creep in after a day of enjoying your favorite foods.
Principle no. 6 – Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Discovering the satisfaction factor is all about learning what kind of foods you actually enjoy eating. And learning about your food preferences is very important in helping you follow some of the principles we’ve already talked about:
Getting out of the diet trap – following meal plans and eating (low-calorie) foods that you don’t especially like won’t make you feel satisfied. Feeling deprived leads to breaking your diet and overeating. On the other hand, eating foods that taste good will make you feel satisfied and less likely to overindulge, thus, less likely to start another cycle of dieting.
Making peace with food – according to most diets, “good” foods are those that are low in calories, carbs, and fat. Eating “good” foods may pacify the Food Police but is highly unlikely to satisfy your taste buds or your hunger. Learning to accept that nothing is off limits goes hand in hand with discovering the satisfaction factor – you’re only going to eat foods that you enjoy and you’re going to be OKAY with it.
Respecting your fullness – it’s hard to respect your fullness if the food on your plate is not that appealing to you. You’ll either undereat because you don’t enjoy what you’re eating or end up overeating, searching for that satisfaction factor. When you make eating a pleasurable experience, you will learn exactly how much food it takes to satisfy you.
These are the principles 4-6 that further help you become an Intuitive Eater. In our next post, we’ll learn to respect our bodies, deal with our emotions, and honor our health.