Can the way you eat be a key factor in how your body digests and absorbs food? Let´s find out why mindful eating is such an important part of health.
What is intuitive eating?
It is respecting your body
Respecting your body should naturally involve listening to it and watching what goes inside it. If you respect your body, you respect yourself and appreciate your wellbeing no matter when in a stressed or happy state.
It is not eating as a coping mechanism
Although emotions are part of who we are, eating intuitively or mindfully can help you stop and think about why you are wanting to eat, instead of eating in a flustered and stressed state. It helps initiate discipline into your eating and thought process around eating. It aims to help you break the habit of eating with your emotions by thinking before and while you eat.
It is eating with mindfulness
Mindful eating is siting at a table and being present when you eat. Enjoying the flavours and the company you keep away from the rush that is daily life.
It is chewing
Chewing is one of the initial steps in digestion along with the smell of food. It is a trigger that allows the body to produce digestive enzymes that break down food in the gut. These days, people often eat on-the-go or gobble down their food like dogs without really even chewing! Without this important process, food isn´t digested properly leaving you feeling bloated and uncomfortable or with excess gas production.
It is not having a diet mentality
Dieting often reflects an unhealthy relationship with food. When you start eating in an intuitive way by knowing how food works in the body and giving your body what it needs to thrive, dieting becomes irrelevant.
It is eating when you are hungry
This reflects two things: 1) you listen to your body and 2) you understand what your body needs. This does not mean eating for the sake of eating or restricting yourself but understanding when your body needs fuel.
It is knowing when you are full
Many people don´t recognise when they are full and satisfied or just ignore the signals completely. Knowing when to stop eating during a meal is all part of listening to your body. There are exceptions to this such as athletes who need to meet special requirements for their sport to ensure they are well fuelled. However, the majority of the general public need to learn to eat with intuition and not desire or greed.
It is enjoying eating
Having a good relationship with food is all part of intuitive eating and intuitive eating can help you create this relationship. By knowing what nourishes, fuels and supports your bodies needs and demands, your relationship with food becomes far less complicated than it needs to be.
It is not depriving yourself from treats
Having treats in moderation every now and then is the best way to make a healthier nutrition regime sustainable. Following an 80/20 (80% wholefoods and 20% treats) rule avoids deprivation and restriction and allows for a happy relationship with food.
Why in intuitive eating so important?
Research has shown people who used intuitive eating benefited from increased self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life while experiencing less depression and anxiety. This may be due to taking quiet time to eat away from chaos, helping to improve digestion and reduce stress, which helps reduce bloating and discomfort.
It may also naturally help one lose weight due to creating healthier eating habits such as when you eat, how often you eat, how much you eat and paying more attention to what you eat.