Are you an intuitive eater?

Johna Mailolli

Retail Registered Dietitian

Every year a new diet trend becomes the go-to solution for many individuals promising them fast, dramatic results, but often leaving them with empty long-term results. Instead of trying a new fad diet this year, I challenge you to try something different—become an intuitive eater.

There are many definitions to intuitive eating but I like to describe it as allowing your mind and body to work together to fuel, nourish, and satisfy yourself. I believe this is the way we were meant to eat food. This is not ground breaking science as most of us start out as intuitive eaters during infancy. But unfortunately as we grow into children and adults, we develop unfavorable eating behaviors and habits that interfere with our intuitive eating skills. Some of these behaviors may include overeating or undereating.

Wondering what it means to be an intuitive eater? Here’s a list of some of important things intuitive eaters do.

  1. Intuitive eaters listen to their bodies when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to stop eating at meals. They rarely find themselves starving or overeating because they’re constantly in tune with their bodies’ signals and needs.
  2. Intuitive eaters look forward to eating at meal times because eating is an enjoyable experience. They don’t eat foods solely for their nutritional value because they understand there are many foods available to them that are both nutritious and delicious.
  3. Intuitive eaters are not mindless eaters. They don’t eat for reasons other than being hungry such as boredom, stress, or eating because “food is there.” They realize how much more enjoyable eating is when they’re hungry and have ways to cope with stress or boredom besides food.
  4. They don’t guilt or punish themselves for occasionally craving or consuming indulgent foods. They know they feel better when they’re eating a balance of mostly foods that will nourish their body and mind so they don’t see anything wrong with giving in to a donut craving.
  5. Intuitive eaters don’t play the number game. They don’t count calories, grams of carbohydrates or fats. When you’re listening to your body’s signals, there’s no reason to have count your calories. They trust their bodies and have learned how to eat just the right amount of food. Institutive eaters also realize they may need to eat more on days they’re more active and eat less on other days.
  6. They don’t need to weight themselves often. They don’t get caught up on whether the scale is a few pounds up or down.

Instead of recommending a diet plan, many dietitians are now focusing on teaching their clients how to become intuitive eaters. I’ve been an intuitive eater for the past 15 years and this is what has worked for me and many of my clients. By following an intuitive eating plan you will find that you’re in control of food. Eating will become a pleasant experience, free of fear and guilt. Best of all, you’ll be able to maintain your weight, feel good internally and externally, and never feel the need to count calories again. Who really enjoys counting their calories anyways?

Johna Mailolli is a Registered Retail Dietitian for Inserra Supermarkets Inc. She has been working as a Registered Dietitian for the past seven years. She is also a certified health coach and personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. 

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