2019: The Year to Choose Intuitive Eating and Make Peace with Food
It’s January, and you know what that means - every diet out there is doing all the marketing it can to convince you why you need their specific diet to solve all your problems.
But did you ever stop to ask: does dieting REALLY work?
Let me cut to the chase here – the answer is, no, it doesn’t.
If something works, you don’t have to keep doing it over and over again. Research shows 95% of diets fail and 66% of dieters gain back more weight than they lost to begin with.
Yet, diets are the only product whose failure is blamed on the consumer.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: It’s Sunday and after 25 hours of overeating and feeling out of sorts with food on Shabbos you decide to start “fresh” and begin the first day of your new diet where you swear off sugar. At first, it's exciting and you feel hopeful you will keep to it this time. However, come next Friday night, you find yourself eating the sixth cookie in a row, tearful and thinking, “I’m not even enjoying these cookies! What’s wrong with me?”
This vicious cycle then keeps happening over and over again. Kinda like this image right here:
It’s not because you lack willpower! You aren’t failing, the diet fails you. A restrictive mindset, which is at the core of dieting, drives the very behaviors you are trying to overcome.
Do you wish you can just make peace with food so eating can be easy and without all the stress and guilt?
Well, you can!
In fact, you were born with the ability to nourish yourself without the need for a diet or food rules. It’s called Intuitive Eating and it is what will free you of the vicious dieting cycle and bring you food peace and joyful eating back into your life.
What is Intuitive Eating & why choose to eat in this way?
Intuitive Eating is a non-diet approach to living a healthy and happy life. It is the ability to be attuned to your body’s needs and honor what it is telling you. It is creating a trust in yourself that you’re capable of distinguishing between emotional and physical needs and knowing how to meet those needs accordingly. It helps you have a healthy relationship with food and ultimately teaches you how to eat in ways that best serve you and how to be the expert of your body!
We are all born intuitive eaters - having the innate ability to know what to eat and how much. Think about it. When babies are hungry, they signal their need to eat by crying, they don’t doubt their hunger. When they are full, they are content until they get hungry again. Most will grow at an appropriate rate and will be healthy without the need to micromanage food intake.
It is when we grow older that eating gets complicated as we are conditioned to believe we need food rules and restrictions to lead a healthy life. We are taught by diet culture that we can’t trust ourselves with food and that we need other people or things to keep us “in check.” The fearmongering and over-flooding of nutrition information has only created more confusion than ever on how to best take care of ourselves – and it’s stressing us out!
No diet plan can know what you truly enjoy or how much you need to eat to nourish yourself adequately. Intuitive Eating helps you reclaim that trust in yourself, without food rules!
How can Intuitive Eating help you make peace with food?
The media often portrays Intuitive Eating as a free-for-all eating pattern of sweets and fried foods. To an extent, there is truth to this. One of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating is full permission to enjoy ALL foods – yes, even sweets and fried foods. Removing restriction and food rules is essential to making peace with food.
However, this permission is on the condition you cultivate attunement to your body, your hunger and fullness cues, and how your body feels in response to your food choices. Will your body really feel good if you eat sweets and fried food all the time? Probably not.
Full permission to eat is what will help you eat foods and in amounts that best serve you through a process called Habituation.
Habituation is what your brain goes through when having repeated experiences. With every repetition of an experience there is a decreased psychological or emotional response to that experience - meaning, the 7th-day response to a thing or event decreases significantly in comparison to the 1st-day response.
Think of it this way: when a child gets a new toy he is ecstatic and will play with it 24/7. He knows he can play with it whenever he wants and enjoy it. The longer he plays with it the less exciting it becomes and the less he plays with it. He still likes it, it's just not as alluring. The child has habituated to the new toy and the response now is not as great, he doesn’t feel the need to play with it all the time.
The same goes for food choices. If you know you could have chocolate whenever you want, without guilt or judgment, while connecting to how it makes your body feel as guidance, the urgency to eat it in large amounts and at all times will diminish.
Your body wants to eat well, you just need to get out of its way and listen to it!
You don’t need magical powers to do this – you were born with these innate skills! Make 2019 the year you make peace with food and ditch the diet and food anxiety for good! You can reclaim those skills to find food freedom for a life FULLY lived in health and happiness.
It’s important to note that while full permission to eat all foods is the most known concept of Intuitive Eating, it is just one of 10 Intuitive Eating Principles. In order to truly be an Intuitive Eater, all 10 principles need to be integrated and practiced to find peace with food and achieve sustainable health.
Stay tuned to learn more about these 10 principles and how it can help you have a healthy, balanced relationship with food.
Rachel Goodman is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a private practice based in Brooklyn, NY where she helps Jewish moms rid themselves of food guilt and anxiety so they can live life fully in health and happiness. She also helps people live a nourishing life in mind, body, and soul through her online program, workshops, and speaking presentations. As a mom of two, she's always looking for delicious yet simple ways to eat in a way that feels good to the body - and is passionate about sharing them with others. To learn more about Rachel and Intuitive Eating you can visit her website rachelgoodnutrition.com and follow her on Instagram @intuitive.dietitian.kosher.