Intuitive Eating Guide – How to Eat Based on What Your Body Wants

Morgan Garza
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Intuitive eating is a deconstruction and reprogramming of everything we’ve ever been told about dieting. It is not about following rules, counting calories, or dieting at all for that matter. Intuitive eating is a mindful approach to observing how your body responds to the food that you eat and then adjusting your eating habits accordingly.
 
We’ve all eaten meals that gave us energy and made us feel amazing. We’ve all eaten meals that left us feeling sluggish or even sick. Intuitive eating is a philosophy in which you feel your body and listen to it. Through intuitive eating, you take conscious action to learn from the “findings” of what foods work well with your body’s chemistry and what foods don’t.
 

The four intuitive eating rules are: Observe. Listen. Act. Learn. (repeat)

 
There are only four rules in intuitive eating. These rules are not only simple to follow, but are also quite rewarding. The four intuitive eating rules are: Observe. Listen. Act. Learn. (repeat). These rules are the only guidelines you need for tapping into your body awareness and intuition to make the right decisions when it comes to your next meal (and every meal).
 

A Simple Guide to Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a mindful, practical, and fulfilling way to consume the nutrients that your body needs, when it needs them. Ultimately, you come away with a map of the foods you need to thrive, and the foods you can (or should) live without.
 
To take your power back from the diet book and set of rules, restrictions, and unsatisfying recipes, all you have to do is listen to your body and act accordingly.
 
Want to learn more about mindful eating? Read this: 6 Simple Tips to Eat Mindfully at Every Meal
 

Hint: It’s All About Balance + Awareness

This is not to say that if all you want to eat is ice cream for the rest of your life that you are practicing intuitive eating. At the same time, if your body craves a sweet treat or indulgent meal from time to time, let it happen! You’ll avoid binge eating when you allow yourself to enjoy the occasional splurge, which in turn can help you maintain a healthy weight.
 
Your body naturally balances itself out, so if you’ve had a weekend of indulgent eating, you’ll probably crave a leafy green salad come lunchtime on Monday. Just be mindful of how these splurges make you feel. If your sweet treat causes your body discomfort, it may be time to explore a different treat alternative.
 
Are you in an “it’s complicated” relationship with food? Read this: How to Have a Healthier Relationship with Food
 

Begin Your Intuitive Eating Practice with These 4 Simple Steps:

It seems as though we as a species are developing more and more allergies, intolerances, and issues around food that are not only making us ill, but that are also making us tolerant of the intolerance.
 
The simple formula of intuitive eating helps you regain – and maintain – optimal wellness.
 

1. Observe Your Body Objectively

Our bodies are always talking to us. There is not one second that goes by that our minds are not processing a message from our bodies. There is an incredibly abundant amount of information to relay from the body to the brain, and there is so much that we can tune into and observe.
 
Objective observation after you eat something is the first step in intuitive eating. How does that pizza make you feel? Bubbly? Gurgly? Stuck? Super full? Bloated? Happy? Satisfied?
 
Simply observe the sensations – and consider keeping a journal (there are even journals specifically for intuitive eating like this one so you can track your food-related discoveries.
 
When you notice what food makes you feel good and what doesn’t, and when you need to eat more and when you definitely don’t, then you can move on to the next step . . .
 
 

2. Listen to the Messages Your Body Sends

If you experience discomfort after eating a particular food, this is a message from your body – a cry for help, a red flag. Intuitive eating is all about learning what your body needs and thrives on . . . and more importantly . . . what it does not.
 
Once you discover what doesn’t sit well with you, then it is time to tune in. You can feel the uncomfortable reactions of bloating, heartburn, or nausea, but are you really listening to them? Are you honoring that a certain food brings you pain or makes you feel ill?
 
Just as you would listen to a friend or partner when they are upset, listen to your body with an open heart and practice compassion, understanding, and love.
 

 

3. Take Conscious Action

So you’ve observed your body and listened to its responses . . . now what? ACTION! An intention to start eating intuitively is nothing without conscious action.
 
Stop eating whatever is bringing you pain or discomfort. Find an alternative food option that satisfies you but doesn’t hurt you. Consciously consuming something that brings you pain is simply not worth it. Sure, it tastes good and you love it and it’s your favorite, but is sitting on the toilet for an hour after eating worth it? I’ll go ahead and answer for you . . . no!
 

An intention to start eating intuitively is nothing without conscious action.

 
You have many tools and resources for helping you along this journey. Consider an elimination diet or keeping a detailed food journal (see #1), or even going to see a holistic nutritionist for expert guidance. Whatever resource you use, apply it with intention and conscious action.
 
Need help finding healthy food alternatives? Read this: 15 Simple Food Swaps for a Healthier You
 
 

4. Learn from the Mistakes and the Victories

Intuitive eating does come with a bit of a learning curve. You have to learn to ask for substitutions at restaurants, shop in different sections in the grocery store, and avoid certain aisles altogether.
 
Learn from when you mistakenly eat a food or dish that doesn’t jive well with your body. If a food you so enjoyed eating turns out to be not so enjoyable after the fact, make a mental note of it and opt to skip that dish next time. There is so much maturity in learning and accepting this.
 
This last step will seal the deal on your intuitive eating crusade and will show you, on a deep level, that you can be in communication with your body and work with it rather than against it.
 

Intuitive Eating for a Clear Mind, a Slim Figure and a Healthy Tomorrow

Eating in alignment with what your body needs and thrives on will increase your mental clarity and focus, help you lose excess weight, and find a higher level of health and wellness overall. How?
 
Your body will crave healthy foods that synergize with your body and in turn support healthy brain and system function. You’ll avoid gaining weight while also increasing your ability to lose weight by replacing binge eating with intuitively eating what your body needs that day. As a result of your improved eating habits, your health will also improve.
 
The power is within you to observe, listen, act, and learn from your body. All you have to do is just be with your body and be there for your body, and you will begin to see and feel the benefits of tuning in through intuitive eating.
 
Bon Appétit!
 

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Morgan Garza

Morgan is a free spirit, traveler of inner and outer worlds, and co-founder of Spirit Guides Magazine. Her background is in holistic health and wellness and Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy healing, and all things mystical. She feels deeply, thinks expansively, and writes to make you feel something, question everything, and make you smile.

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