Intuitive Eating 101

September 23, 2021

One day while sitting at a stoplight, a homeless man held up a sign that read: Hungry for a hamburger (no onions). How did he come to his aversion to onions?

Eating is a primal necessity everyone has a right to. But for many folks, food is not just food. Unless you live with food insecurity or live in a food desert, the simple act of eating has become so laced with attitudes, judgments, and lots of choices.  

When food consumption overwhelms basic needs, health ailments tend to creep into the picture. To combat diet-related health struggles, food plans and dieting fads have come to dominate the marketplace - and our psyches. Unless, of course, we choose to throw that all away and listen to our bodies.

Welcome to intuitive eating 101.

“Intuitive eating” takes the overthinking out of eating. It’s a simple nutrition philosophy: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. If you have disordered eating—either consuming too much or too little—then this may be harder than it sounds.  

Unless you’re an endurance athlete blazing through calories at a high rate per performance, the average adult runs on 2,000 calories (about two and a half hours running) a day. In general, intuitive eating doesn’t ask you to count calories or skip certain food groups; it’s about clarifying your fundamental relationship to eating food.  

To find the wisdom in your body to reach its healthiest balance, consider a gentle and nurturing approach as you unearth the journey into intuitive eating. You may consider therapy, a nutritionist, or a food journal. Check your local library or bookstore for reams of books on the topic for a deeper dive.

Here are some intake questions to ask yourself about your eating habits. The more honest you are with yourself, the more food patterns you’ll unravel.  

Socio-political profile

  • If eating is a personal endeavor, how do your food choices reflect your politics, socioeconomic status, and cultural position?
  • Do you feel part of a community based on what you eat?
  • Is your eating community inclusive rather than exclusive?

Psychological profile

  • Do you ever use food as a coping mechanism?
  • What triggers you to eat?
  • Do you eat out of real hunger, out of emotional outbursts, or out of boredom?

To analyze your hunger cues, look at craving behaviors: emotional, cognitive, biological, neurological, social, and spiritual. Disordered eating has layers to its root cause; you are not alone in uncovering why you overuse or avoid food.  

Emotional communication profile

Intuitive Eating 101

To analyze your hunger cues, look at craving behaviors: emotional, cognitive, biological, neurological, social, and spiritual. Disordered eating has layers to its root cause; you are not alone in uncovering why you overuse or avoid food.  

Emotions & communication

  • How do you use food to communicate?
  • Is food a source of giving love or a replacement for love?
  • Does food make up for something lacking in your life, and if so, can you describe what is missing?
  • Is food used in a communal environment or eaten in the solitary confines of shame and secrecy?  

Julie Simon writes in The Emotional Eater’s Repair Manual, “Emotions, bodily sensations, and thoughts are like street signs pointing us in the direction of our needs, and you can learn to recognize and read those signs.”  

How you offer nutrition to your body can be just as important as what you offer to your body. The key is to infuse mindfulness into your eating patterns and listen to your body in a loving way. Read more on Practicing Everyday Mindfulness.

Tricia Louvar l Mukha Yoga
By Tricia Louvar; All Rights Reserved @2021

Tricia Louvar l Mukha YogaBy Tricia Louvar; All Rights Reserved @2021



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