Intuitive eating is an interesting concept that can be an appealing alternative to traditional diets. The idea is to learn to pay attention to your body and feed it what it needs without being bogged down in the details of a diet or any restrictions. The freedom and deeper connection with your body that this teaches will serve you well in other areas of your life, too.
If you are a practitioner of yoga, then intuitive eating may sound familiar as it is a type of mindfulness that calls you to be present in the moment and enjoy your food. When you combine these two practices, you can experience some truly amazing results.
Use the Practices You Already Know
Yoga has probably already taught you how important it is to listen to what your body is communicating to you. Daily yoga practice is a fantastic way to get into shape by building lean muscle, flexibility, and balance, but it goes so much further than that. One of the reasons that yoga is so popular is because it teaches you how to slow down and connect with your breath to find relaxation and peace.
Being familiar with how to tune in to how you are really feeling in the present moment will help you to get a grasp on intuitive eating very quickly. It can be a struggle at first to unlearn all of the unhelpful, and often damaging, self-narratives that have been taught regarding the proper diet and eating habits. The key focus is to give your body what it needs and to let go of any preconceived ideas of what that may be. If you want rye bread with your meal, then you should eat it. It can be scary in the beginning to offer yourself so much freedom, but you will soon realize that you feel much better, and naturally gravitate towards healthy choices the majority of the time.
Don’t Restrict Your Choices, Enjoy Your Food
The reason that most diets fail is that restricting yourself rarely works. The more you label a food as “taboo,” the more you seem to crave it. You’ll find that when you lift these restrictions, there isn’t as much urgency or need to satisfy an unhealthy craving. By allowing yourself to eat what you want, you release the mindset of lack.
Intuitive eating, like yoga, helps you to learn to trust yourself again. You will start to recognize the reason behind your cravings and begin to honor your true hunger, instead of keeping yourself in survival mode by denying yourself the nourishment your body wants.
When you start to allow yourself to eat whenever you are hungry, it becomes easy to stop when you are full. There is no urgency or deprivation to the act of eating anymore. Give yourself permission to enjoy your food and look upon it as a source of fuel and not an enemy to be conquered.
Be Kind To Yourself
Sometimes dieting can be especially hard because of the emotions that are often associated with food. Many people use food as a reward when they do something good, or as a band-aid to cover up emotional pain. Along with yoga, the practice of intuitive eating will help you to learn your body so you can recognize why you are hungry and the reason behind your cravings.
When you are more in touch with your own body and mind, you will start to notice that you are not always feeding a physical hunger, but an emotional or spiritual one. If you have noticed this cropping up at all, you can try to do a gentle yoga flow to release any stuck feelings and raise your mood so you no longer want to eat as a way to comfort yourself. It’s important that you learn to recognize and honor your feelings instead of dismissing or covering them up.
When you start to combine intuitive eating with a yoga practice, you will notice that healthy choices become second nature. Within a small timeframe, you can start to notice a decrease in your stress and even your weight, as your happiness, satisfaction, and self-esteem continues to rise.