5+ Keys to Intuitive Eating (or How to Meditate While You Eat!)

5 Keys to Eating Intuitively blog post

So many of my clients confess that they don’t have time to meditate. Whether you’re parenting, running a household or a non-profit, or simply working full-time trying to heal from lifetimes of inter-generational trauma, it can be hard to find time for things that may seem nice-to-do instead of must-do. And intuitive eating might fall into that category?
 
But did you know you can effectively meditate while you eat?
 
Yes, you can!

In fact, being mindful is the key to intuitive eating, a practice I recommend experimenting with as much as you can. After all, most of us eat multiple times a day and instead of turning on the TV for a “break”, why not turn inward for a more contemplative + restorative experience?

Here are 5 keys (and a bonus tip!) to intuitive eating that I invite you to explore during your next meal or snack.

1. Eat Mindfully
 

 The foundation of intuitive eating is simply being mindful during mealtimes.

Here are a few tips:

  • Eliminate all distractions (cell phones, TV, the news & and anything else that could affect your mood!).
  • Be fully present with your meal or snack. Take it in visually.
  • Chew slowly and carefully.
  • Focus on the flavours, aromas, and textures of your meal or snack.

Eating mindfully is the first way to promote a deeper understanding of our body’s relationship and responses to food. This then leads to more satisfaction and better overall well-being.

If you have a hard time eliminating ALL distractions, find someone that will calm your mind as you eat. For example, try this guided meditation on mindful eating.

2. Cultivate Curiosity

While you eat, spend a few moments thinking about your meal. What ingredients are in your meal? Where i the food come from? Who might have helped grow or produce it? Give thanks if that resonates with you.

If you know a bit about nutrition, you might like to consider what nutrients will benefit your mind, body or spirit as you eat.

Remember to stay curious: it’s important not to judge yourself or beat yourself up if your choices for this snack or meal were less than ideal.

3. Deepen Sensory Awareness

Eating intuitively is a beautiful way to reconnect with our senses.

Consider… What does it sound like to crunch a cooked carrot compared to a fresh apple?

What do your taste buds do when you eat a piece of your favourite chocolate?

Or what does it feel like to sip a cup of warm broth before bed?

When we spend a few moments being mindful, we can consciously engage our taste buds. We can savour each bite, explore new flavours, and genuinely appreciate the culinary options before us.

Deepening our sensory awareness also means we’ll likely gain more pleasure from our meals and make more informed choices.

4. Honour Hunger & Fullness Signals

Our bodies have an innate wisdom when it comes to feeling hungry or feeling full. These are governed by our ghrelin and leptin hormones, respectively. One of the greatest keys to intuitive eating is learning to recognize and listen to them!

When our hormones are out of balance, or we are disconnected from our body and its natural communication signals, recognizing these cues can be harder than it should be.

They can be especially hard to recognize when we are not eating to fuel ourselves, but instead to soothe frazzled nerves or emotions.

But practice makes perfect!

Intuitive eating means we can learn to nourish ourselves when we feel hungry, and to feel just as comfortable putting down our fork when we feel satiated.

If you want to improve your relationship with food, learning to listen to and respond to these natural hormone cues can be a big step!

5. Cultivate Self-Compassion

Many of us have, at one point or another, probably categorized foods as “good” or “bad”.

Especially if we’ve ever experienced a chronic health issue related to our diet. We may wonder: why can’t I eat all the normal/yummy/easy-to-find foods that my friends/family/neighbours seem to eat freely with little issue? Meanwhile, the same food causes me to blow up, break out, bend over, you get the idea… This can be SO frustrating.

This is why intuitive eating should also include giving ourselves a measure of self-compassion.

Earlier I mentioned that it’s important not to beat ourselves up for eating a meal or snack that was less than ideal. Remaining curious can help us develop self-compassion for any choices that might not have been best for our health and well-being.

We can acknowledge that sometimes we eat based on how we feel… and realize later, upon reflection, that maybe that choice wasn’t the best one for our current state of health.

Maybe we were running errands and starving, and fast food was the only thing we could get our hands on before our blood sugar hit the floor. Maybe we were feeling emotional over the loss of a pet or dear friend, and a favourite comfort food gave us the boost we needed to feel a bit better.

Bonus Intuitive Eating Tip: Take Baby Steps

When we eat intuitively, we should strive to sit and observe… as much as possible… without judgement. In doing this, we can better connect to our emotions because we start to notice the impact of our emotions on our eating behaviours.

We can give ourselves grace, which helps us release the shackles of guilt and shame associated with certain food choices. By being kind to ourselves, embracing imperfections, and celebrating victories, we create a nurturing environment for sustainable and positive change.

These keys to intuitive eating can be used by anyone at any age to transform our relationship to food and embark on a journey towards nourishment and well-being.

Whether you try one or all of these tips, eating intuitively helps unlock our full potential to make informed choices and embrace the joys of nourishing our bodies and minds.

Let intuitive eating guide you as savour the flavours of life, one delicious bite at a time.

Are you looking for a meal plan or custom supplement recommendations?

Life is a plate… Eat up!

Ashleigh

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