What is intuitive eating and how can it apply to how we feed ourselves and our kids? We dive into the details of this suddenly trendy topic in this week’s episode of the Comfort Food podcast with the original expert behind the method. If you’re looking for a way to reduce drama around meals and improve your own relationship with what you eat and how you feel in your body, this show is for you.
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Meet Evelyn Tribole
Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD is the coauthor of the book Intuitive Eating, which is now in its third edition. It was, and still is, the original guidebook for learning how to trust yourself around food. And as Evelyn says, “When you start to trust your own body, you start to trust other aspects of your life.” I actually wasn’t familiar with this book until recently and I’ve loved all of it, but especially the chapter on how intuitive eating works with kids.
The Definition of Intuitive Eating
There are 10 principles of Intuitive Eating that I urge you to read if you want a better grasp on all of this. They include: reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger, make peace with food, respect your fullness, and more. These really help to put the concept into context and give a much better idea of what to keep in mind as we eat and consider how we think about food.
How Does Intuitive Eating Work with Kids?
The whole model is based on how kids naturally eat, which when we don’t interfere with pushing them to eat certain foods or to eat more or less, is a remarkable thing to watch. If we create an environment of trust, the kids will very naturally eat enough for them. Think of how hard it is to get a baby to eat or drink when they don’t want to—it’s so hard because they are in tune with their hunger. But over time, our culture can override that innate ability to trust ourselves.
We talk that through in the podcast episode.
Intuitive Eating Tips
Evelyn told us, “You have unconditional permission to eat. Ask yourself: Do I really want this? Do I like how it tastes and how it feels in my body?” I’ve had many conversations about how intuitive eating can work when there’s always food around, and how it works with the idea of willpower. The thing to realize is that we actually have a choice in all of this and if we can get past marketing, labels, and cultural expectations, we are pretty good at knowing how much is right for us. And which foods make us feel best.
It’s for sure hard though and no one can do this perfectly!
How Does Intuitive Eating Work with Unhealthy Foods?
- Think of all of the food marketing around you as background noise. The influence is there, but once we heighten our awareness of whether we really like the taste of specific foods, the choice is ours. We have to actually taste the food—and we may or may not like it. And either is okay!
- When you start to connect on your own experience level, you can get to a good outcome. It just takes more work. Need to focus on the food to know how you feel while eating and after.
- Challenge yourself to connect with the food you’re eating without distractions. So turn off the TV, put down the phone, put away the magazine, sit with the family. This can be hard, especially with kids, but try to aim for one meal or snack a day where you can really pay attention to the food and the sensation of eating.
- We’ve been taught to fear food. When you have pleasure with your eating and are connected with the process, you’re more satisfied and it can be enjoyable. It’s okay to like food!
- As a parent, who often has so many competing demands on our attention during meals, here’s a simple tip: Focus on the first, middle, and last bite if you’re too busy to focus on the whole thing. That’s a great place to start.
Links from the Show
Virginia and I talked about the menu that Chrissy Teigen made for her daughter Luna. And I revealed just how behind on pop culture I am!
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
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