What is intuitive eating and how to put it into practice

Intuitive eating is a method that was developed in California in the late 1990s and is gaining more and more followers due to the adherence it generates.

Last update: June 12, 2022

Intuitive eating is a type of diet that is currently being put into practice and that is committed to learn to listen to the body to improve nutritional status. It is a protocol that moves away from the strictest methods that defend the need to count calories and count nutrients in order to maintain good health over the years.

This type of food was developed in 1995 by California resident dieticians and has spread throughout the world. Among its main advantages, it can be highlighted that it generates high adherence, since anxiety is rarely experienced due to the great flexibility that exists when configuring the menus.

Principles of intuitive eating

To kick-start intuitive eating, you have to learn to listen to your body. This is the first and most important step. It is convenient to distinguish between hunger and appetite to know when it is really convenient to eat food and when the objective is eat to enjoy the organoleptic characteristics of certain foods. The latter does not have to be negative, as long as it is carried out in a timely manner.

However, one of the principles of this method has to do with the ability to detect the need to meet energy and nutritional requirements. When sensations such as fatigue, growling stomach, inability to concentrate or mood swings arrive, you have to eat. But, yes, it is important that the chosen foods are of good quality at a nutritional level.

Hunger and appetite are not the same. Understanding this difference and knowing how to identify both situations is vital to putting intuitive eating into practice.

Although on occasion processed food can be included in the guideline, it is best to prioritize the presence of fresh food. These have essential nutrients necessary to ensure good health.

An example of them would be the fatty acids of the omega 3 series, elements that have been shown to help control inflammation in the internal environment. Thanks to them, the risk of developing chronic and complex pathologies is greatly reduced.

Intuitive eating satisfaction

One of the keys to intuitive eating is the ability to find satisfaction at the end of a meal. Do not avoid the dishes that you like the most, even if their energy density is a little higher than ideal.

Try to combine the need for nutrition and pleasure, thus achieving a total harmony with the different elaborations and with the configuration of the menu. In this way, a state of satisfaction will be reached.

Of course, it will be important to limit the presence of processed products of industrial origin, in the same way as in many other approaches. These contain a high amount of simple sugars and trans fats.

Both elements are capable of altering the balance in the internal environment, increasing the risk of developing different types of chronic and complex pathologies over the years. This is evidenced by research published in the journal BMJ.

It does not mean that these types of foods can never be eaten, but it is advisable to reduce its protagonism in the guideline. In this way, it will be ensured that the tissues have the necessary nutrients to carry out their functions correctly, without altering the states of inflammation and oxidation.

On the other hand, it will be important to detect the feeling of satiety in time in the context of intuitive eating in order to stop eating in time. Even promoting this feeling through the consumption of certain products could be positive. For example, fiber manages to slow down the speed of digestion, which helps control appetite. This is confirmed by a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews.

How to start intuitive eating?

Getting started with intuitive eating may not be easy. The key is to dedicate time to self-knowledge, exploring the sensations of appetite and satiety. Afterwards, it will be necessary to free yourself from the schemes followed until now that bet on a fixed number of meals throughout the day or for specific times.

Intuitive eating listens to the needs of the body, without schedules or preconceived ideas.

From now on, and always promoting the consumption of fresh, It will be necessary to develop a flexible menu that satisfies the tastes of the person. It is important to eat when the body asks for it and stop when the nutritional intake has been sufficient. Thus, a situation of overfeeding that can negatively condition the state of health will also be avoided.

Intuitive feeding, a novel model that generates adherence

As you have seen, intuitive eating avoids energy accounts or nutritional monitoring. Bet on learning to listen to the body and make good choices based on what it needs.

For this, a certain experience will be key to be able to identify the sensations of hunger, satiety and appetite. At first, it may not be easy to put it into practice, but once you get used to it, adherence will be total.

To finish, it should be noted that it is not only necessary to take care of the diet when the objective is to improve the state of health. It is convenient to promote a series of habits together. For example, the fact of performing physical activity on a regular basis will be decisive, prioritizing muscle strength work. This keeps inflammation in the internal environment controlled and inefficiencies in hormonal production are avoided.

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