How You Can Use Intuitive Eating Skills in Other Areas of Your Life
What’s intuitive eating?
No, intuitive eating isn’t “a diet that tells you to quit dieting.”
It’s also not “giving up.” 🙄 Well, unless you count giving up on fighting your body.
Considering the low success rate of dieting, intuitive eating makes a lot more sense. Diets fail because they make your body believe it’s starving. But your body is smart. It doesn’t want you to starve (cue obsessive thoughts about food).
Intuitive eating is an approach that helps you tune into your preferences. Instead of what you think you should eat based on some meal plan, diet, or IG vid. It asks: what will satisfy YOU?
Letting go of confusing food rules in this way allows you to feel excited about food again. It allows you to take more pleasure in eating. 🥰
What’s it mean to work with an intuitive eating nutritionist?
As a nutritionist who promotes intuitive eating, I believe:
It's not my job to fix you.
It's not my job to tell you what to eat.
It’s not my job to tell you how to live your life.
Instead, I’m here to give you a set of tools, not rules. I help you tap into your intuition.
Here are the 10 principles that make up intuitive eating:
Reject the diet mentality - Free yourself from meal plans, diets, “lifestyle programs,” tracking apps, and fitspo accounts. Challenge the sneaky diet and weight loss thoughts that affect how you think, behave, and act around food...and in your life.
Honour your hunger - Your body needs to know (and trust) that it has adequate amounts of food. Get back in touch with your body’s biological hunger signals to rebuild trust with yourself and food.
Make peace with food - Stop fighting food. All foods fit in intuitive eating. Get rid of the “good food” versus “bad food” judgments so you can stop the deprivation mentality that sets you up for binge eating.
Challenge the food police - Let go of your “food rules.” Challenge the guilt, judgment, and negative messages about what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat.
Respect your fullness - Explore and tune in to what it feels like to feel comfortably full. Learn to listen to your body’s signals that tell you that you’re full.
Discover the satisfaction factor - Eating is meant to be pleasurable and satisfying. Prioritize pleasure in eating to create a satisfying eating experience.
Honour your feelings without using food - Deepen your self-compassion and learn how to meet your emotional needs without always turning to food. (P.S. I think emotional eating is fine. )
Respect your body - Respect and accept the realities of body diversity and your genetic blueprint. With body respect, you can uncover what you appreciate about your own body and cultivate self-love.
Exercise differently - For many dieters, exercise is a way to lose weight. Embrace activity and movement that feels good to you. Forget about exercising to burn, blast, or shred your body, and choose what feels good.
Honour your health - Gentle nutrition empowers you to choose foods that are tasty, satisfying, and honour your health. Your body knows more about what you need, and how to meet your needs, better than anyone else can.
If you’re thinking, “This intuitive eating thing sounds great, but I don’t have any intuition.”
Well, everyone has intuition. You’re probably struggling with recognizing your intuition, your inner voice.
How to strengthen your intuition and trust your gut.
Your intuition is subtle. Intuition communicates with you in many forms. A hunch. An instinct. A moment of clarity. A gut feeling. Goosebumps. You may even get spontaneous thoughts in the shower. Sound familiar?
One way to tap into your intuition is practice stream of consciousness writing. See how I didn’t call it journaling. 😉
Two helpful writing prompts you can use are:
“What do I need to know?”
“What’s the best decision?”
If you write what comes to mind without judging it or thinking about what you’re writing, you might uncover some messages from your intuition.
But I get it, developing a strong connection with your intuition can be tough. If you regularly second-guess your decision-making skills or you have too many other voices in your head (or your social media feed), it can drown out your intuition.
You have to carve out space to feel your intuition. In intuitive eating, this means quieting the “shoulds.”
How you can apply intuitive eating skills to other areas of your life.
The cool thing about intuitive eating is that you can apply the skills to other areas of your life. 🤓
Intuitive eating helps you build self-trust and self-authority that you can apply to decisions like: figuring out where to live, making a career change, or ending a relationship.
This summer, my husband and I split up.
Is this being vulnerable? Is this over-sharing? It’s hard to know how to talk about such a big change, especially in a way that honours our relationship.
My policy is “share your scars, not your wounds” to give myself time to process and heal. Admittedly I’m not healed yet, so why am I sharing about my breakup in my business?
Well, there are some implications for my one-on-one coaching hours. I’ve pared back my availability to give myself time to adjust.
But more importantly, I’m sharing to remind you what true self-love looks like.
How can self-love can save you during a breakup?
After a relationship ends, it’s easy to think that you’re unworthy of love.
But underneath any embarrassment, guilt, shame, or feelings of unworthiness, you’re still the same person. You have the same worth and value whether you’re in a relationship or solo. 💛
What happens to you doesn’t define you.
Stop feeling guilty and embrace emotional eating.
My approach is all about being gentle with yourself. This might include emotional eating. Bring it on. (I like extra dark chocolate BTW.) 🍫
It’s normal to use food to self-soothe when you’re going through a hard time. Humans are hard-wired to find comfort in food. With this in mind, change your mindset around emotional eating and get rid of the guilt and shame. Sound good?
It’s important to give yourself some compassion. Don’t beat yourself up.
Your intuition wants to guide and support you.
Finally, trust yourself.
When you encounter change, trust that you have everything you need within you.
You’re powerful, resilient, and capable of anything.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meet Ellen Kaross (she/her), the Non-Diet Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating Coach behind The Good Yolk.
Ellen helps women-identifying folks uncover what their emotional eating can teach them, and find joy and balance in their relationship with food.
Her passion for advocacy informs her compassionate, non-judgmental approach.