“Intuitive eating is being able to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full,” says Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Irvine, California-based author of Intuitive Eating (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003). “It’s being able to distinguish physical from emotional cues. It’s being the expert of your own body (my emphasis) —which is hard to do when you’ve got a zillion people telling you what and how to eat.”
The N.E.W.A.Y. nutritional lifestyle is definitely about intuitive eating, to which I will simply add staying away from NONFOODS!
Here are some ways to reconnect with your body’s signals:
- Feel your hunger: “We’re born with the capabilities … to tend toward foods that our bodies need and to stop eating when we’re full,” says Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, a nutritionist in Gainesville, Florida, who specializes in weight and eating disorders. “But events conspire throughout our lives to encourage us to ignore our bodies’ signals. As children, we eat in response to internal cues. As adults, we eat in response to the clock, the latest diet, social cues, or uncomfortable emotions.” As you continue to eliminate refined products and nonfoods from your diets and you eat your five to six small “eating events” each day, you will keep your blood sugars low and become more aware of your hunger, eating in response to it; remember that true hunger is a very good thing, the signal that your body wants nutrients. Give it what it wants, and it will work for you.
- Practice mindful eating: We can become so accustomed to eating out of habit, even when we are not hungry at all. Slow down your eating and be aware of what goes into your mouth. Don’t wolf lunch in the car; eat seated and enjoy every bite! You will feel full so much faster, and have a delightful food experience.
- Decode food symbolism: “What’s happening on your plate is often a reflection of what’s happening in your life,” says Kratina. “Restricting food means you’re restricting yourself somewhere in your life. People who deny themselves food may also deny themselves relationships—it’s as if they can’t let anything in. On the other hand, compulsive eaters may have difficulty setting boundaries in relationships.” If hunger is not coming from your body needing nutrients with your stomach is telling you so, try doing something other than eating. Open your mouth very wide or massage your jaw to relieve tension. Pamper yourself: Take a bath, get a massage, buy flowers. Investigate ways to calm chaos in your life, working with the stress relief techniques you have learned.
- Indulge in food: Grazing on low-fat, low-carb, processed foods is the antithesis of eating intuitively—and the N.E.W.A.Y. lifestyle! Get rid of fake food, and give yourself permission to indulge. “Some people think of indulging in food as eating a tub of ice cream in front of American Idol,” says New York—based Kat James, author of The Truth About Beauty (Beyond Words, 2003). “But truly indulging means eating sensual, high-quality foods—like avocados, raw nut butters, ripe berries—that are intense in flavor and texture. These real foods are so satisfying and nutrient dense, your body will slow down to savor them and will be content with smaller morsels.” Continue to rid your kitchen of all nonfoods, and stock up on rich, flavorful, whole foods, organic whenever possible. Feed your body all it longs for: avocados, ripe mangoes, almond butter, all that delicious NEWAY stuff. You will continue to lose your appetite for cheap, processed foods, and you’ll begin to crave flavors that go beyond sweet and salty; the excessive sweetness of processed foods will annoy you–sign that your taste buds are becoming resensitized, which is crucial in eating intuitively, or NEWAY-ly!