intuitive eating

Intuitive Eating

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As a certified intuitive eating counselor, Amy can guide you to break free from diets and rigid meal plans and find what works for you. Intuitive eating is not a diet, rather a way of life. It is not simply using a hunger scale to gauge when to eat. Intuitive eaters listen to give themselves unconditional permission to eat what they want without feeling guilty. Intuitive eaters trust their bodies. We are all born as natural, intuitive eaters. Babies give us very subtle cues when they are hungry. When we do not respond to these subtle cues, they will cry. As we grow older, the natural cues can be thrown off-kilter for many reasons such as school and work schedules, food rules and schedules, and restrictions we set around food. The good news is that you can regain the ability to eat intuitively.

Does this seem far fetched? Trust us, it does not have to be! It may sound as if meal planning and intuitive eating conflict with each other. We have worked with countless patients in the journey toward intuitive eating. When meal planning allows flexibility, pleasure, and satisfaction, it actually aids in the process of becoming an intuitive eater.

Are you unsure which option is best for you? Contact us to find out more about the options we provide. Do you feel like you may never be able to get off a meal plan? Let us help you!

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One: Reject the diet mentality

Reject the Diet Mentality

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at diet culture that promotes weight loss and the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet or food plan might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
Two: Honor your hunger

Honor Your Hunger

Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust in yourself and in food.

Make Peace with Food

Call a truce; stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give in” to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.

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Challenge the Food Police

Scream a loud no to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The food police monitor the unreasonable rules that diet culture has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loudspeaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the food police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

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Discover the Satisfaction Factor

The Japanese have the wisdom to keep pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our compulsion to comply with diet culture, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence—the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes just the right amount of food for you to decide you’ve had “enough.”

Respect Your Fullness

In order to honor your fullness, you need to trust that you will give yourself the foods that you desire. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is.

Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

First, recognize that food restriction, both physically and mentally, can, in and of itself, trigger loss of control, which can feel like emotional eating. Find kind ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger may only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion.

Respect Your Body

Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size. But mostly, respect your body so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body size or shape. All bodies deserve dignity.

Movement—Feel the Difference

Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.

Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or become unhealthy, from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
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New Hope Counseling & Wellness Center

The guiding principle of New Hope Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC is to empower and provide individuals and families with the skills they need to be nourished, healed, and restored in order to pursue a life filled with joy and hope. We offer faith-based services for those wishing to include their spirituality as a component in their sessions. While we offer faith-based counseling as one method to achieve this mission, we strive to provide a safe, compassionate, and professional environment for everyone. We do not discriminate, shame or judge and strive to provide quality care to all regardless of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, weight, physical or mental ability, and marital status.