Intuitive eating is structured around the belief that people need to trust themselves enough to believe that they will eat what and how much food they need. Very few people are able to handle a traditional diet as a temporary or flexible plan, and they instead become embroiled in an endless cycle of dieting, binging, guilt.
Intuitive eating teaches you to listen to your inner signals of hunger and fullness and to respond accordingly. The plan does not mean that you should eat whatever you want whenever your stomach starts to growl, though; you still must pay attention to proper nutrition. However, people are encouraged to not deny themselves. So, if you want ice cream and nothing else will do, go ahead and have a serving.
The point is to stop telling yourself that you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat certain foods. It’s not about what you eat or when you eat, but how you feel about what you’re eating. Research has proven that the more times a person is exposed to a food, the less appealing it becomes over time. This is why people on traditional weight-loss diets find themselves obsession with what they “can’t” have.
Start by observing when you’re eating. Are you eating in social situations as a way of keeping busy? Are you eating at the movie theater, simply because it’s tradition for you? Are you eating as a way to expel nervous tension or to deal with boredom? These are all signs that you are not eating intuitively.
Pay attention to your hunger level. Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 every time that you eat, and if the number is low, try to figure our why you’re eating. You’re not a “good” or “bad” person because of what or how you eat, and it is not necessary to label foods as “good” or “bad” either.