Intuitive eating is the latest buzz word in nutrition circles and I sense it will be very much the next 'big thing'. Similar to the Atkins, Paleo and Keto diets, only this one is very different. Instead of asking people to listen to what others have to say, intuitive eating returns the individual to their own inner guidance. Their own inner wisdom and knowing what foods are right for them.
Intuitive eating asks us to check in with our body and listen. Intuition is defined as a deep knowing... a feeling or experience that compels spontaneous action. This is beautiful because when it comes to food we all react differently. We have our own preferences, sensitivities, proclivities, and what may excite and draw ecstacy from one person, may make another cringe.
Intuition provides insight or understanding into our own unique and individual truths regarding food and how our body responds to certain foods.
When you eat intuitively you tap into information that flows from your highest self. It's not something that you see, or hear, it is something you feel.
When you eat intuitively you receive a knowing without knowing how certain foods will make you feel before, during and after eating. You understand and interpret the energy in your body and how it will react to certain foods at certain times.
I find this to be the best definition of intuition yet. I personally know when I am tapping into this intelligence, and when I am ignoring it. When I ignore it I eat too many sweets, lots of Doritos, and too much alcohol. Not that these foods are bad by any means. If I ate these foods intuitively I would know when to stop and my body would be very capable of enjoying the experience. In fact, if I was eating intuitively my body would often not want these foods, or want to enjoy them in small amounts. Problem's occur when I ignore my satiation signal and continue to eat long after my body has sent the signal that it has enjoyed the experience, but is now done.
This is the beauty of intuitive eating. There is no judgment about what you should eat or shouldn't eat. You eat based on what your body and inner guidance is calling for. This eliminates guilt and shame and allows us to enjoy being humans who eat!
When we eat foods we deem as bad, we may think we are bad. This may stir up guilt and shame. But this is not the case. Food is is not bad. Food gives us many different and joyful experiences and when we approach it like a child, with curiosity and an open heart, without judgment, we learn how certain foods make us feel and choose what we want from a place of knowing. We learn to follow our own inner guidance.
To understand intuition we need to understand a bit about energy, both in a practical way and what some might consider a new age way.
Physics tells us that everything is made up of matter and that matter is made up of energy. Modern science confirms that everything has its own bio field energy and unique vibration or operating frequency. Quantum physics tells us that the most solid object is made up of moving atoms and particles around an empty space. This means that nothing is truly solid and represents the universe at a microscopic level. Thus, the amount of energy information flowing towards us at every moment is immeasurable, so the hypothesis that intuition may come from this energy field has merit.
Hindu and Buddhists believe that there is only one energy in the universe and everything vibrates with this energy. It has been called the omnipresence, prana, chi, and God. If you believe in this universal energy idea, it can be beneficial in helping you connect with and experience this universal energy that has many names and may be the guiding source of your intuition.
If you are more scientific in nature you may look to your central nervous system, which is an electrical system. This electrical system or neural network located in your gastrointestinal tract contains a type of helpful bacteria that makes serotonin—the neurotransmitter responsible your sense of well being. Scientists are asking the question, "Could this also be the source of our intuition?" Hence the saying, "Follow your gut."
We also have energy fields that have been measured. This is where it gets new age and a bit woo woo.
Because intuition refers to a process that gives people the ability to make decisions without the use of analytical reasoning, my intuition tells me intuition is a gateway that can bring us home to the truth of who we are. When our thinking mind quiets, and we patiently wait for our own inner wisdom and truth to show itself, it gives us a beautiful glimpse into who we are beyond the rational mind. I believe intuition can take us home to our own unique, authentic, and beautiful selves.
Regardless of where you think intuition comes from or what it can do, it is important to know, we all have it. The more you become aware of it, the stronger it gets. The more listen to your intuition, the more you trust it. The more you trust it, the more you choose what's right for you based on your own inner guidance.
Intuition is nothing to be scared of. It is your own inner voice longing to be heard. It is the quiet part of you that patiently waits for you to calm down and just listen.
To eat intuitively, you need to be able to tell the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger:
We tap into our intuition when we ask the question, “Am I hungry?” and listen to the physical body. If the answer is no, yet you are driven to eat anyway, it is an opportunity to ask, “What am I really hungry for?”
Thus, tapping into your intuition can help you discover what you really want in life. For instance, if you eat out of boredom it may be because you lack excitement. If you eat to avoid feeling certain emotions, it may be an indicator that you have some things to face and deal with. If you eat to soothe yourself, you may need more self love and care in more fulfilling ways. If you eat to love and connect with those around you, you may need other ways to love and connect outside of food.
Eating intuitively is the opposite of a traditional diet. It doesn’t impose strict guidelines about what to eat. Instead, it teaches you when to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat based on the intuitive connection you have with your body and inner guidance.
The more you practice intuitive eating you develop a beautiful feedback relationship with your body.
The consequences of strengthening your intuition are increased self trust and appreciation for your own unique expression and decisions. Intuition can set you Finally Free to live the life you desire based on what you want to experience, rather than listening to outer voices.
When you eat the foods you are drawn to, and listen to how your body responds, and stop eating when your intuition tells you to, you self govern at a very high level. You really can eat whatever you want when you eat intuitively because you trust your inner wisdom.
Study’s at convalescent centers report that one of the biggest regrets people have when they die is that they didn’t live a life that was true to them. They lived it based on other people’s expectations. The more you follow your intuition the more you hear your own inner voice.
When it comes to making any lifestyle change, decision, or following what feels right for us, there is one thing that often trips us up; our thinking mind.
The thinking mind and its negative thoughts and limiting beliefs can drive us to take “one more bite”, or “start tomorrow.” It is the mind that say’s things like “I can’t.” or “Who am I to achieve that?” These are the thoughts that can drive us to eat when we aren’t hungry.
So we need to quiet the mind. Take more deep breaths, and be more present with our eating experience. Intuitive eating teaches people to shift from the chaos and compulsion of the thinking mind to the truth and reality of physical hunger.
Other things that affect our connection to intuition:
When we buy into negative thoughts or limiting beliefs such as, "I can't", "I'm not", "It's too hard", "I don't have time" we move farther away from the truth of who we are. When we buy into the collective story of "Not enough" we end up resigned and cynical and lose the opportunity to discover who we are beyond story.
If you let go of the story that you are not enough who would you be?
You may have just had an insight into who you are. You may have had an experience with this question that enabled you to experience your intuition. Remember, intuition is “A form of intelligence that lies beyond the rational mind.”
When you take baby steps and trust your inner voice when it says, "No." and trust your inner voice when it says "Yes." you come home to yourself and from this place of wholeness, you don't need to feed soothe or avoid anything.
Ingrid Bergman said, “You must train your intuition. You must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide.”
Intuition is always working with and for you and will never lead you into danger or astray. You just need the courage to not doubt yourself and have faith to believe.
Intuition gives people the ability to make decisions without the use of analytical reasoning, therefore it can be really valuable:
The beautiful thing about intuition is it returns us to ourselves. When we hear that voice and we listen, we build self trust. When we trust in our ability to make decisions we experience appreciation for the self and self love can blossom.
When we approach food using our intuition we feed the physical body what it wants and food nourishes us at a very deep level. And when we ask the question, "Am I hungry?" and the answer is, "No." it is an opportunity to tap into our intuition and ask, "What is it I really hunger for in life?"
And when the answer comes, it may surprise and delight you. In fact, why not ask the question now?
What is it you really hunger for in life?