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Dieting isn’t sustainable. Quick-fix plans cannot deliver lasting results.
The first principle of intuitive eating is to stop dieting—and to stop believing society’s messages that quick-fix plans can deliver lasting results.
Eat a sufficient amount of calories and carbohydrates to keep your body “fed” and satiated. Once you learn to recognize these signals in your own body, it becomes much easier to trust your instincts and repair unhealthy relationships with food.
Give yourself “unconditional permission to eat.”
People realize they don’t really want that food that was forbidden before; they just got caught up in society telling them they couldn’t have it.
The “food police” are those voices in your head that tell you it’s good to eat fewer calories and it’s bad to eat dessert. The food police can be real people too.
“Chasing them away” is an important step in embracing intuitive eating.
It can help to pause in the middle of your meal or snack to assess your current state: How full do you feel? Are you still eating to feed your hunger, or are you eating out of distraction, boredom, or stress?
The satisfaction factor has to do with noticing and appreciating the taste and texture of food, but also the environment in which you’re eating.
When you can bring the pleasure and joy back to eating, you can truly feel satisfied after a meal and move on and enjoy the rest of your life, rather than continue to eat for other reasons.
It’s not always big, extreme emotions that are causing overeating. Sometimes it’s as mundane as being bored because you’re eating while distracted.
But being more mindful in all aspects of life—with your food and with your emotions—can help you sort out those overlaps.
Intuitive eating is also about feeling good about your “genetic blueprint” and the body you were meant to have—not striving for unrealistic expectations about how much weight you can lose or what size jeans you can squeeze into.
You don’t have to go to the gym every day while following an intuitive eating approach, but it is important to move your body on a regular basis.
It’s not about finding the exercise that burns the most calories or the most fat. It’s about finding something that’s sustainable and that you enjoy.
Eating “intuitively” should still involve more fruits and veggies than ice cream. But at the same time, a diet doesn’t have to be perfect to be healthy, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up every time you make a less-than-perfect meal or snack choice.
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