The last principle of Intuitive Eating is last for a reason. ‘Honor your health’ encompasses something we call gentle nutrition. It’s the idea that we can make changes to the way we eat to support our health, while still maintaining a healthy relationship with food.
It’s difficult to make long lasting changes that truly support our health if we are struggling with our relationship with food. The other principles of Intuitive Eating help us to listen to our body and make peace with food so that when we do want to make changes to our diet, we can truly honor our body and do so without judgement.
Some helpful questions to ask yourself if you are ready for gentle nutrition are:
- How do I want to feel after a meal?
- Thinking about something you ate – how did this food make me feel physically? Would I want to eat this way again and feel this way? If not, is it sustainable to change my eating in this way?
- Is my diet balanced and varied? aka am I eating the same things over and over, am I eating variety throughout the day and over time?
- Do I have a variety of foods including whole grains, vegetables, fruit, adequate protein/fat/ and carbs?
- Is my nutrition supporting my digestive health?
Gentle Nutrition teaches us that a healthy diet is varied and balanced, and does not exclude certain foods unless medical, ethical, religious reason needs to be prioritized. It does not emphasize portion control because that isn’t necessary for intuitive eaters. A healthy diet prioritizes how we feel in our body over what society deems good or bad in the current moment. Gentle Nutrition also reminds us that a part of eating healthy is honoring your taste buds AND your body.
Here is an example of gentle nutrition in effect: The other day I had a craving for chocolate. Before I got up to grab some, I checked in with my body and realized I was physically pretty hungry. I knew that chocolate would satisfy my taste buds but it wouldn’t give me the energy and overall satiety I needed. So I decided to prepare a balanced meal (that day it was a caprese sandwich with fruit) first. Afterward, I still wanted that chocolate, so I had some! I ate what would satisfy me but also made sure I checked in with my body and honored ALL of my bodies needs.
It’s important to note that Intuitive Eating does not equal ‘eat whatever you want’. Intuitive Eating means practicing honoring your body’s needs and find true food freedom. No more diets, no more food judgement, but instead peace of mind around food.
Are you ready for food freedom? Call I Live Well today and schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians. Follow us on Instagram to learn more healthy lifestyle tips!
By Zoe Halbert – Zoe is a registered dietitian, licensed in Austin Texas who is passionate about helping people create healthy relationships with food and body. She focuses on intuitive eating with a non-diet and practices from the health at every size (HAES) approach when working with clients.