Intuitive eating, oftentimes called mindful eating, means having a positive and healthy relationship with food, without feeling fearful or anxious at mealtime.

When it’s time to eat, many of us may think of foods as “good” or “bad”, as “we should or shouldn’t” eat this or that, for whatever reason, it’s low in calories, it provides protein, it’s what the diet says, whatever. But when you categorize foods as “good” or “bad”, as “allowed” or “forbidden”, you damage your relationship with your body and with food. 

The classic restrictive diet, where you forbid yourself from eating something you want to eat because it’s “not what you’re supposed to do”, or “that food is unhealthy”, ends up with you eating a lot more.

Why? Because, instead of permitting yourself to enjoy the food, to savor that thing you crave, you deny yourself over and over again, creating a vicious cycle in which you crave that same thing more and more, and, in the end, instead of eating just one piece of chocolate, you end up eating the whole package, and feeling guilty and full of shame.

Next time, instead of following a restrictive diet try mindful eating: step back for a moment and don’t just think about what you want or should eat, but feel and listen to what your body and mind need to eat. Not only will this improve your relationship with food, but it will also help you reduce your stress levels and may even help in your weight loss journey.

Also, read – Healthy Eating and Mental Health

Step by step, work toward ditching the traditional mindset of dieting and become an intuitive eater – someone who has made peace with food, regardless of type, and enjoys every bite.

Besides rejecting the diet mentality and making peace with food, you can practice several other principles to have intuitive eating every day.

As for nutritional aspects, these include:

  • respecting our hunger while having an adequate intake of calories and nutrients; 
  • choosing foods that are not only tasty but also nutritious, respecting our health; 
  • re-discovering the satisfaction of having a delicious meal; 
  • identifying our fullness.

Yet, some principles are more related to our emotional side, such as:

  • facing our inner negative feelings and resistance to food; 
  • coping with emotions kindly, and refraining from hiding emotions through food; 
  • be active and seek enjoyment through excess.

Asked by: Marine N.

Registered dietitian-nutritionist and Writer

With a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, Eva is a dietitian-nutritionist who is passionate about everything related to food and nutrition.
She is always in constant search of knowledge and loves to write about topics related to food, nutrition, healthy eating habits, and tips for a healthy lifestyle, making knowledge about food and nutrition education available to everyone, helping them to have better health.

She is also a chef and has experience in recipe creation and workshops on healthy cooking.