What Is Intuitive Eating & Is It Good for Me?

As we navigate through our 40s and beyond, our relationships with food and our bodies undergo significant changes. Traditional diets and restrictive eating patterns often fail to address the specific needs and challenges faced during this stage of life.

This is where intuitive eating steps in as a refreshing alternative.

Understanding Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is an approach that focuses on cultivating a healthy and balanced relationship with food by honoring one's internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. It encourages individuals to reject diet culture, abandon rigid food rules, and instead, develop a deep sense of trust in their body's wisdom.

There are 10 total principles of intuitive eating:

  1. Rejecting the Diet Mentality: Letting go of dieting and the pursuit of weight loss, and instead embracing a non-restrictive and compassionate approach to food and body.

  2. Honoring Hunger: Recognizing and responding to physical hunger cues, nourishing your body with adequate food when you feel hungry.

  3. Making Peace with Food: Giving yourself permission to eat all foods without labeling them as "good" or "bad." Allowing yourself to enjoy foods that you truly desire, without guilt or shame.

  4. Challenging the Food Police: Identifying and challenging the critical thoughts and judgments around food and your body, and developing a more positive and accepting mindset.

  5. Discovering Satisfaction: Seeking pleasure and satisfaction from eating by choosing foods that truly satisfy you, both physically and emotionally.

  6. Honoring Fullness: Paying attention to your body's signals of fullness and stopping eating when you feel comfortably satisfied, rather than eating until you're overly full.

  7. Coping with Emotions without Food: Developing alternative ways to cope with emotions and stress, without relying solely on food for comfort.

  8. Respecting Your Body: Accepting and respecting your body as it is, recognizing that bodies come in diverse shapes and sizes.

  9. Engaging in Joyful Movement: Focusing on finding enjoyable physical activities that feel good to your body, rather than exercising solely for the purpose of burning calories or changing your body shape.

  10. Honoring Your Health: Take care of your overall well-being by making food choices that promote physical and mental health, while also embracing flexibility and balance.


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Benefits of Intuitive Eating

  1. Embracing Natural Changes: Women over 40 often experience hormonal shifts, changes in metabolism, and body composition alterations. Intuitive eating empowers women to tune into their body's unique needs and adapt their eating habits accordingly, promoting overall well-being.

  2. Enhanced Body Image and Self-Acceptance: The societal pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards can be particularly challenging for women as they age. Intuitive eating encourages self-acceptance and body positivity, fostering a healthier body image and improved self-esteem.

  3. Improved Relationship with Food: After years of dieting, women may find themselves disconnected from their natural hunger and fullness cues. Intuitive eating helps restore this connection, allowing individuals to enjoy a wide variety of foods without guilt or deprivation. It promotes mindful eating, savoring the flavors, and nourishing the body with satisfaction.

  4. Long-Term Sustainability: Traditional diets often yield short-term results, followed by rebound weight gain and a cycle of yo-yo dieting. Intuitive eating focuses on long-term lifestyle changes rather than short-lived fixes, making it a sustainable approach for women over 40 seeking to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

  5. Emotional Well-Being: Intuitive eating recognizes the powerful connection between emotions and food. As women face various life transitions, such as empty nesting or career changes, emotional eating can become more prevalent. Intuitive eating provides tools and strategies to address emotional eating patterns, promoting emotional well-being and self-care.

It's important to note that intuitive eating is a personal journey, and individual experiences may vary. Some women may find it beneficial to seek guidance from registered dietitians or therapists who specialize in intuitive eating to navigate their specific needs and challenges.

**Talk with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.


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