Healthy Living/ Weight Loss

A Guide On What Is Intuitive Eating

A Guide On What Is Intuitive Eating
This is A Guide On What Is Intuitive Eating – a guest post written by my dear friend  Zoe Cordeiro.

So, what is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating defined in its most simple form is coming back to yourself and learning to listen to your body again. We are all born intuitive eaters. We have all strayed away because of dieting culture.
There are so many misconceptions around intuitive eating (IE) and a lot of people think it is a very all-or-nothing approach (much like a diet).. IE is a non-diet approach that helps individuals heal from chronic dieting. Have you got a  history of yo-yo dieting? Are you lost, anxious, and confused around food and what your body wants and needs… sound familiar? Keep reading!

All diets come with some kind of side effects that no one warns you about. These can include: disordered eating behaviors, feelings of shame and anxiety around food, binge eating, slowed metabolism, and rebound weight gain. When you are constantly dieting and/or trying to lose weight, food choices come with a side of guilt and perhaps little enjoyment, due to the fact that you have likely made your decision in regards to what to eat, based on what you think you ‘should’ be eating. Let me give you an example of what might happen to those who are constantly battling with their internal cues (aka hunger and satiety signals) – You fancy a chocolate bar, you think ‘it is not healthy or has too much sugar’, so you opt for a ‘low calorie snack’ instead… You feel unsatisfied after eating it, so you search for something else, still feeling unsatisfied you might eat more, you feel full, you feel guilty.
If you had just listened to your body and had the chocolate bar, you likely would have satisfied your stomach and not needed to overeat. There is a difference between feeling ‘full’ and ‘satisfied’ and adopting the IE approach can help you reconnect with your internal cues, listen to your body, and focus on your health instead of your weight.

Here are 5 quick principles  of IE:

A Guide On What Is Intuitive Eating

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

The first principle encourages you to address and fight your own food rules. If you crave something, just eat it.
If you forbid certain foods and restrict yourself, you will end up binging on the food you craved.  It is important to remember that this principle may take some time. If you have a long-standing history of disordered eating, it is going to take a while to undo that but don’t be discouraged – it can be done!

2. Honour your Hunger

Know that you are ‘allowed’ to be hungry. Feeling hunger means our body’s signals are working and it is letting us know that it is time to eat. So, honor that! Diets often require us to ignore hunger signals, and for some individuals starting to eat intuitively, it may take a while before they are able to identify the feeling of hunger. Hunger doesn’t have to be a rumbling in the stomach – you might feel light-headed, irritable, or low on energy. Learn to identify your cues.

3. Make Peace with Food

Once you have started to challenge irrational beliefs around food, you can begin to make peace with it. When you eat, just say to yourself “I am eating, because I am nourishing my” so don’t feel guilty when you eat. You need to give yourself unconditional permission to eat. And at this point, that might feel a little chaotic. But it will pass. This doesn’t mean you are going to binge on unhealthy foods all the time. Think of it like this – if I told you, you were only allowed to eat chocolate for a whole week, how do you think you would feel? Pretty sick of it right!? By legalizing all foods, the ‘forbidden’ foods lose their appeal.

4. Challenge those voices in your head telling you not to eat that.

Start calling out that voice in your head that is trying to dictate your food choices based on calorie content. The ‘food police’ is the voice that tells you not to eat carbs past 6 pm or that a salad is ‘good’ and pizza is ‘bad’ – it’s all just food! Sometimes you might enjoy a salad and other times you fancy a pizza. Learn to be more rational with your thoughts around food. Again, this voice might take a while to get rid of but you will get there.

5. Respect your Fullness

As mentioned before, there is a difference between feeling full and satisfied and you need to feel confident in the sense that you can satisfy your body with adequate amounts of food. Like you should honor your hunger, you can honor your fullness too. Check-in with yourself as you are eating… how does the food taste? How do you feel eating it? Are getting full and feeling satisfied? Mindful eating might be particularly helpful here.

Here Is The Story Of  Zoe Cordeiro Regarding IE:

My name is Zoe Cordeiro, and I am a plant-based wellness coach and long-time plant-based vegan! I help women transition into the plant-based diet seamlessly so they can thrive on plants for the years to come!
In my 7 years of veganism, I have been through so many different stages. I’ve been raw, low fat, high carb, and even a junk food vegan. But my favorite type of veganism that I’ve ever tried has to be intuitive eating which is actually what we will be talking about today!

As a plant-based wellness coach, I get the honor and privilege of meeting women in their health journey and getting into their story! I love to say getting into their story because I love that part the most! I get to know my client’s fears, anxieties, and desires around health and food and I love every moment of it! There is nothing like the comfort of having a friend who will stand with you in the trenches.
Almost every single woman that I have helped into veganism has 1 (or more) of these 3 desires around food or health…

1. The desire to lose weight or gain weight

2. The desire to look a certain way

3. The desire to feel more comfortable in their skin

I relate to all 3 of these desires because I’ve had all 3 of them in my heart and mind for the majority of my life…
Can you relate to at least one of these?
Here’s the truth, 2 of these desires aren’t actually going to make you happy…
Can you guess which ones they are? The first 2, right?
The desire to lose weight, gain weight or change your physical appearance doesn’t appear to be bad. I don’t blame anyone for wanting this however, there is something deeper there that I want to talk about today.
The truth is that the 3rd desire – to feel comfortable in your skin is the only desire that when found will actually bring forth true joy!

Let’s rewind a little bit so I can tell you about my journey to reaching these goals…
Like many of you who are reading this, I have been on more diets than I can actually count.
I’ve tried it all… Keto, paleo, low carb, no-carb, calorie counting, and diet shakes. You name it, I’ve tried it and failed it too.

You see, despite all of this dieting, I have never actually stuck with a diet all the way through. I have quit every diet I’ve started. I used to think that it was because I was a quitter. That I couldn’t stick anything through.
And some might agree with that assumption. But I don’t anymore…
It is impossible to stick with something that you have no actual reason to be doing. It’s also impossible to stick with something you don’t like.
I hated every diet I ever tried and had no reason to do it other than my desire to look a certain way, and to be honest that just isn’t reason enough.
Remember those 2 desires I told you about at the beginning? The ones that won’t bring true fulfillment? You weren’t born with those desires.
No baby comes out of the womb wanting to lose or gain weight. I’ve never heard a toddler tell me they need to change their body and if they did wouldn’t we be upset about it?

These two desires have been fed to you by something called “diet culture”…

What if I told you that you were being lied to.
That everything that you watch, read, hear, and even think is being fed to you by people who want to keep you in a vicious cycle?

That every day as you turn on the tv and see thin, beautiful, airbrushed actors falling in love you’re being fed a life that you will never measure up to because it isn’t real.
That when the channel goes to commercial break and you see them advertising a diet pill or program you’re being fed a fake solution to your problem?
That when you do buy into that pill or program you will go through it for about a week or two, see no results, quit, fall back into eating whatever you want until you feel bad about your appearance again, and want to try out another plan.
Do you see what I’m talking about?
Have you ever found yourself in the cycle I described?

2 years back I was the person in that cycle and today I want to tell you my story:

I went vegan 7 years ago for my health. But to be honest it was just another attempt at finding happiness in my weight and appearance. I had very little guidance in the lifestyle so I messed up a lot. It took me a while to go all-in because of it.
Until I watched videos of what factory farming actually looks like.

You see, wanting to look better isn’t a good enough reason for anything, and will never keep us committed to something hard.
When I was vegan for the animals it gave me a reason bigger than myself. The only thing that has kept me vegan for 7 years is making it about more than how I look or how much weight I want to lose.

Intuitive eating was introduced to me briefly about 3 years into my vegan journey. I hear of these people who listen to their bodies rather than restricting them.
As a closet binge eater, this scared me. I was afraid of my hunger because it seemed like an uncontrollable black hole inside me that if I let it have its way would not stop eating until I was as big as a house.
You see, I was so disconnected from my actual body cues like when I’m hungry or full that I didn’t even realize my body just wanted to be heard and trusted.
Often times I would restrict then eat so much food I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I would make myself so full that I had to just lay on the bed and wait for some of it to digest.

After much discovery, I’ve realized two things were going on here:

A Guide On What Is Intuitive Eating1. my body didn’t know the next time it would get nourishment because I had created a distrust. 2. The feeling of being too full was a comfort that I needed and to be honest, I still, feel the need for today.

About a year after hearing about intuitive eating I decided to try it out.
It was messy, ugly, scary, stressful, freeing, peaceful, and hard.
I ate too little, too much, and sometimes at the wrong time.

But I did it. And with every passing day, I earned more trust with my body, healed pieces of my heart I didn’t know were broken, and loved myself a little more.
2 years later I’m still making mistakes and learning as I go but I know I’ll be okay as long as I come back to myself to try again tomorrow.

Intuitive eating defined in its most simple form is coming back to yourself and learning to listen to your body again. We are all born intuitive eaters. We have all strayed away because of dieting culture.
This is a sign for you to come home to yourself. To go after the 3rd desire – to feel comfortable in your own skin. It took me a while to give up my desire to lose weight and become this airbrushed version of myself but let me tell you, I didn’t find true peace until I did.

It’s okay if you can’t give up those 2 desires yet!!

All I ask of you is to take the first step and realize there could be more for you.

If you would like to hear more information about intuitive eating I would encourage you to check out this podcast episode I did with my friend, Emily!
We talked about our stories with intuitive eating and the first steps you can take on your journey back to yourself.
Click here to check it out!

If you enjoyed this be sure to find me on Instagram and let me know!
I’d love to connect with you and get into your story!
I am cheering you on!

Zoe Cordeiro 


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