You're sitting on a restaurant, salivating before the description of the cordon bleu chicken menu. But the nutritional information in the menu indicates that the entrance is loaded with calories and grams of fat. The low calorie salad seems healthier, but comparatively, unattractive. Which one do you choose? If it is between the estimated 40 to 50 percent of Americans on a diet at any given time, probably the last. But it is the wrong choice for an intuitive dining room.
The word "intuition" derives from the Latin word "intueri", which means "contemplate" or "see inside". The intuitive diet is an approach that simply encourages that. By listening to your body's innate signals, you can develop healthy relationships with your diet, notes Evelyn Tribole, a registered dietitian and co-author of "The Intuitive Diet," who helped coined the term in the 1990s. The intuitive diet could also improve your physical and emotional well-being and put an end to the carousel of being on a diet.
When you really know you can eat what you want, you get to ask yourself for the first time: "Do I really want this food now? If I eat it, will I enjoy it?" And since you can eat it whenever you want, it does not become the last feast you'll have before you start your diet.
Evelyn Tribole, registered dietitian
Why it matters
"Humans are made to know how to eat intuitively and we have been doing it since the beginning of time," says Karen Koening, a licensed psychotherapist and author of "The Rules of Normal Eating".
Before you learned to speak, your intuition told you to cry for food. Most young children eat when they feel hungry and stop when they feel full, (two pillars of the intuitive feeding approach). Other principles include honoring your feelings without using food as a defense mechanism, respecting and enjoying your food, respecting your body and abandoning or avoiding the dietitian's mentality.
Many intuitive factors that must occur naturally fall sideways in the face of poor eating behaviors learned from your parents such as chronic dieting or overeating, the ever-growing fast-food and weight-loss industries, the plentiful and unstoppable distractions of everyday life and the simple fact that food tastes so good.
"Food is much more accessible and tasty than it used to be." Koening says, "A bowl of cabbage soup is not something we would say: 'Oh, I'd really like to eat several bowls of this!' And the food is easier to come by."
People are also more focused on physical fitness and weight control than before.Such fixation interferes with the ability to assess hunger and satisfaction and un-regulates your appetite, notes Koenin. Instead of considering your hunger for a particular food, you concentrate on calories, carbohydrates or grams of fat. And you can spend more energy resisting hunger than satisfying it.
So, what happens when you get away from these factors and trust your intuition?
"People start to try the food for the first time," says Tribole. "The food they once coveted is no longer great, they enjoy food, whereas before they were focused on guilt."
Better than dieting?
A review of 31 long-term studies on dieting and weight loss published in "American Psychologist" In April 2007, I conclude that dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain and two of each Three dieters end up gaining more weight than they had lost.
"People think there is something like sensible diet," says Tribole. "Dieting not only does not work, it increases the risk of gaining weight, it has been tried over and over again."
Research on intuitive eating and weight control is more optimistic. In a study published in the "American Journal of Health Education" in June 2006, the researchers analyzed the eating habits, attitudes and body mass index of 343 university students. Participants rated as intuitive eaters had lower BMI scores, higher levels of pleasure in relation to food and feeding, and less food-related anxiety than non-intuitive eaters.
Contrary to what you might expect, giving yourself permission to eat what you want does not always lead to excessive consumption of junk food, says Tribole. And it is not likely nor is it the goal that you cross the limit to overeat and gain weight. If you have not been allowing sweets or other treats, you may try them more often as you begin to feed more intuitively, but usually people begin to crave healthy foods.
"When you really know you can eat what you want, you get to ask yourself for the first time, 'Do I really want this food now? If I eat it, will I enjoy it?' And since you can eat it whenever you want, stop be the last feast you will give yourself before dieting "
This can stop the vicious circle of restrictive diets and overeating, as well as improve your ability to connect with what your body and your emotional self need.
Once you've abandoned the dietitian's mentality, you can begin to integrate what Tribole calls "gentle nutrition directions." You begin to incorporate more nutritious food into your diet to protect yourself against any deficiency and honor your general well-being.
"You learn that when you eat more healthily, it feels good," she says. "And if you eat what you want, why would you choose to eat so that you do not feel well? People ask me, when can I start? to eat healthy? Anytime!
A successful trip
Tips to start
Your initial course of action in terms of intuitive eating depends on your eating habits and Current attitudes, your dietary history, and your willingness to change - simple steps, however, can help guide you in the right direction.
Keep a journal where you make a note of your emotions and the prevalence of hunger, rather than the calorie count and portion sizes This can help you pinpoint your personal patterns and trends
Give preference to pleasurable exercise Instead of choosing your next exercise based on calorie burn, choose something you like It's more likely to get you is to him.
Eat a food or snack consciously (in a relaxed place free of distractions such as cell phone, laptop or television). Chew slowly, allowing the food to sit in your mouth. Enjoy the flavors and textures and think how you feel emotionally.
Eat your next meal when you feel hungry moderately. If the clock indicates mealtime, wait until you feel the grunt of hunger, but not until you feel very hungry.
Check your hunger during your next meal. Eating intuitively involves asking yourself if you are still hungry and stop if the answer is "no".
Form a support system. Ask your friends and loved ones not to talk about diets or weight control in your presence. Explain that even if you do not understand the changes you are making, you appreciate their support.
Seek guidance from a qualified expert, such as a dietitian or a well experienced psychologist in intuitive feeding.