I enjoy my food and drink to the fullest, which makes it incredibly healthy and nutritious for my body. Unless I'm concerned about what the mind thinks I *should* or *should not* eat, my body's intuitive wisdom leads me to enjoy whatever it requires to support vibrant health.
Here's an article by Ben Hirshberg that does a great job describing what intuitive eating means and gives a summary of some studies done on the subject.
(NaturalNews) Intuitive Eating is a way of consuming food and drink that gets in touch with our body's natural abilities and instincts. The concept is quite simple: intuitive eaters listen to their body and eat when hungry, drink when thirsty, and eat and drink what their body is telling them it needs.
Do intuitive eaters binge on junk food?
Many people hear this concept and are immediately up in arms. The common objection to Intuitive Eating is that many people crave junk food, and if they listened to their bodies then they would just cram in the candy, chips, and soda.
Fortunately, Intuitive Eating has been researched quite a bit, and the literature shows that binge eating is actually significantly reduced when people practice Intuitive Eating. In one study, a group of women diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder attended eight 90-minute weekly intuitive eating sessions. After the eight sessions were over, over 80 percent of the study participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for the disorder! In fact, Intuitive Eating is inversely associated with other eating disorders as well, and appears to promote a healthy relationship with food.
Intuitive Eating and the Pleasure Principle
The reason for this seems to be that our body is naturally capable of regulating what we eat and drink. If we eat something that is bad for us, our body will probably not like how the unhealthy food makes us feel, and that dislike will carry over and dissuade us from wanting to eat that same food in the future. This concept, called the Pleasure Principle, was coined by Charles Einstein who hypothesizes that if we just focus on eating things that give us pleasure, we'll naturally gravitate towards foods that make us feel good in the long-term. The catch is that this can only happen if we don't interfere psychologically. If we tell ourselves that we can't eat certain foods, or that we need to eat certain foods, then we are interfering with our body's natural ability to operate under the Pleasure Principle.
More Intuitive Eating benefits
Intuitive Eating has more benefits than just creating a healthy relationship with food. It has been repeatedly associated with a lower body mass index, likely due to intuitive eaters listening to their satiety signals. Intuitive Eating is also associated with a more positive mood and greater life satisfaction. This could be because intuitive eaters don't worry about the food they put in their mouths, and are more likely to choose a meal that satiates their true hunger.
Though many discount Intuitive Eating upon first glance, the concept is actually backed up by quite a bit of research. You may want to give Intuitive Eating a try yourself to see if it promotes a positive relationship with food, a greater connection to your satiety signals, and improves your mental outlook.
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About the author:
Ben Hirshberg is a 21 year old student, author, and entrepreneur who studies the art of living well. Born and bred in Seattle, WA, Ben likes to read, cook, run, travel, and throw convivial parties. Ben has PFT, FNS, and YES certifications through WITS and NASM and is in the process of becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and achieving board certification in Holistic Nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. He also writes regular columns for Paleo Magazine and is hoping to release several books in 2014.