There’s a new dimension to our relationship with food: Intuitive Eating.
Most of the time, we quickly eat things on the go without even thinking when watching TV, talking on the phone, or driving. Since we have severed our ties with ourselves because of the rush that comes with modern life, we cannot even notice the signals coming from our bodies. When do we get hungry? How much food is enough? Maybe we forgot our inner voices because someone is always dictating to us what we should eat and when we should eat.
Mindfulness is a term of eastern philosophy that we hear a lot recently. The mind exercises that help us to stay in the moment have also been used in psychology since the 1980s. Intuitive Eating is very different from traditional diet approaches. It is a method that is built on following the natural hunger, fullness, and satisfaction signals of the body to reach the ideal weight. It is the wisdom of instinctively knowing the amount of food a person needs to nourish their body, except for those people with specific health problems (diabetes, food allergies, etc.).
There are no restrictions, so we can forget about the list of forbidden foods. Anything can be eaten if you want to, except for the times that you are eating out of boredom or anger. Eating behavior should occur due to hunger, which is something physical, rather than emotional. People who follow the way of Intuitive Eating stop eating when they reach physical fullness. They do not keep any emotional connection with the eating behavior, therefore they maintain their ideal weights. To create the intuitive eating behavior, we must first be mindful of our relationship with food. What, when, what for, and how much do we eat?
Let us talk about an exercise that is simple and common: the raisin exercise. Take a raisin in your hand, examine it closely by touching and being aware of its texture, color, and bright and matte parts. How does its texture make you feel? Smell it, try to feel what it smells like and focus on the raisin with all your senses. Do not allow your mind to drift away from the raisin and if it does, call it back right away. Our senses help us stay in the moment, but our minds can drift away to the past or the future. When doing this exercise we spend time and effort on the raisin. This is not the ordinary raisin that we ate on the auto-pilot anymore. One of the exercises that we can do during the day to increase our mindfulness and ability to stay in the moment is with something which constitutes 70% of the human body: water. Remember the last time you drank water today. What were you thinking when you were drinking? Did you feel the temperature of the water? Or did you feel how it went down your throat? Your mind may be elsewhere during your daily activities, but when you realize it and call it back, you increase your mindfulness. Enjoy the raisins you eat and the water you drink. You will be satisfied by giving the necessary time and importance to yourself. Also, your bond with yourself will be strengthened.
Intuitive Eating also allows you to recognize the right choices that will help you out. What am I eating? How do I feel? Do you suffer from bloating and gas pain after consuming dried legumes? Then, the legumes do not make you feel better. You eat very sweet foods and then you go to sleep immediately, or you want to eat more, maybe you want to eat them every day. The feeling of indigestion when you eat something very fatty is a clear signal that you are not making the right choice. Listen to your body. You should make good choices to feel good.
One of the most important points in Intuitive Eating is to challenge the food police that dictates the mind. Do not label oats as good or a piece of chocolate as bad. Eat whatever you want to eat, but eat it by staying in the moment, focusing on the food, and enjoying it. If you constantly try different diets and struggle to lose weight in a vicious cycle, you should try the Intuitive Eating method that can completely improve your relationship with food by showing compassion to yourself and by removing the dietary mentality from your life. You can start with raisins and do other exercises during the day. You will feel your increasing mindfulness with time. You will not regret what you eat because you will be listening only to your hunger. You will stop eating when you feel full, and you will reach your ideal weight easily in no time.