As you settle into 2018, you’ve probably already read dozens of bland blog posts about setting goals, getting healthier, and exercising more in the new year. While these intentions are good and start off strong, so many of us still fail. Studies show that over 90 percent of people fail at their new year’s resolutions.
Fortunately, there is a simple approach that can help you get healthier, enjoy food more, and make the concept of staying healthy quite simple. It’s called intuitive eating and it may change your life and help you reach your health goals.
The approach is almost too easy to be true:
- Eat when you are hungry
- Eat what your body tells you to
- Stop eating when your body is full
This concept is much more than a trendy diet, it’s a lifestyle. Whereas traditional weight loss approaches are often ineffective and can create disordered eating patterns, intuitive eating can lead to a host of proven benefits.
Authors from The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticsreviewed published studies regarding intuitive eating and examined the findings. In collecting research surrounding intuitive eating, they found a variety of benefits.
- 1. Improved Psychological Health – Intuitive eating has been shown to have positive effects on psychological health including increased body satisfaction, improved body acceptance, lowered drive to be thin, and a decrease in negative self-talk. Other studies also demonstrated an improvement in the quality of life, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and overall well-being. These positive changes are most likely due to the nature of intuitive eating. Rather than guilt, shame, restrictions, and preoccupation surrounding food, the intuitive approach focuses on self-love, listening to your body’s cues, and respecting your body.
- 2. Lower BMI – Studies have found that individuals who learn to eat intuitively can experience significant decreases in their BMI (body mass index). These positive effects have also been shown to last longer than weight that was lost using a traditional diet. A lower BMI has been linked to a host of health benefits.
- 3. Improved Eating Habits – Similar to the improvement in psychological health, intuitive eating can completely change a person’s habits with food. Millions of individuals suffer from disordered eating habits, but intuitive eating may serve as an important tool for forging a healthier attitude toward food.
Removing restrictions can eliminate or decrease the anxiety and guilt surrounding food that is typically caused by strict diets or eating plans. Eating can be fun, enjoyable, and free of guilt or stress when an individual listens to and respects the body’s cues.
- 4. Physical Activity Is Boosted – Since intuitive eating emphasizes exercising for fun and pleasure, it can lead to an increase in activity. Viewing exercise as an opportunity to appreciate what your body is capable of, gain energy, and have fun greatly increases your chances of staying active. This will also assist with weight loss or weight maintenance.
- 5. Health Improvements – Studies have shown the possibility of decreased total and LDL cholesterol and a decrease in blood pressure when eating intuitively.
Overall, studies have concluded that eating intuitively helps foster a healthier attitude toward food and your body, encourage weight loss, and improve several areas of your health. It may also help decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, boost self-esteem, and improve body image.
So make it your goal in 2018 to throw away the rules, the guilt, the guidelines, and the restrictions in favor of listening to your body and respecting its messages.