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How to Eat Intuitively | A Guide to Mindful Eating

As you guys know, I work with my AnneTheRD nutrition counseling clients using an approach called Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating is an approach that brings you back to what you used to do when you were a kid, before dieting got involved: eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. It’s an approach that sounds remarkably simple, but it can actually be quite hard to get used to, especially after years of restriction and letting others make you believe that there are “good” and “bad” foods and that you should feel guilty if you’re not eating perfectly all the time.

how to eat intuitively

The body is smart – it will tell you, through cravings and hunger pangs, what you need, and when. Some days this certainly might be a kale salad with tons of veggies and lentils; another day, it might be a burger and fries. And that’s okay! If we are really craving something and we deny ourselves, it will likely backfire in overdoing it in that food later on. I see this a lot with clients who leave carbohydrates out of lunch, trying to “be good” – and then overdo it on cookies in the afternoon or evening because they let themselves get too hungry.

a guide to intuitive eating

One of the most important things you can do to get yourself on the path to eating intuitively is to implement mindfulness, both outside of and during mealtimes. This will not only assure that you’re eating what you need when you need it, but it will also decrease the likelihood of using food as a mask for a deeper emotional need.

Why mindfulness? Because it’s impossible to eat intuitively and avoid emotional eating if you’re totally checked out. Mindfulness means exactly what it sounds like. First, before you eat, when you have a craving, stop and take a pause. Ask yourself: “What do I want right now?” Do you actually need food? Or are your using food to try to distract yourself from what you really need in the moment, like a break from your desk, or some fresh air, or some social interaction, or a hug? We often use food as a distraction when we have uncomfortable feelings we don’t want to deal with. If you aren’t really hungry, then acknowledge to yourself what you really feel. For example, “I feel anxious.” Then, try to pinpoint why you feel that way. You might not be 100% sure, and that’s okay, but try to come up with a reason, and then acknowledge it. For example, “I feel anxious because I have been working since 7 a.m. and I haven’t taken a break.” Or… whatever it is. Simply acknowledging how you feel and sitting with that feeling – it’s okay to have feelings! – goes a long way. Then, think about what, unrelated to food, will actually help to improve your situation, even if only slightly. Often just getting a brief change of scenery – like a 5 minute walk around the block or a visit to chat with a coworker – will make a big difference. Do not feel bad about giving yourself a break if you need it. A bit of fresh air will often completely turn a day around.

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On the other side of things, if you do decide that you’re hungry and need to eat something, first, aim to determine what it is you want. Intuitive eating works best if you do not allow yourself to get overly hungry – “hangry”, if you will, so you’ll want to try to eat something just as you start to get hungry. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Then, once you are actually eating, your homework is to once again work on mindfulness.

When I was in Vermont this past weekend for Blog Brulee (again, as a speaker, my travel/lodging was covered and I was compensated for my time), we did two really great activities with sponsors that were wonderful lessons in mindful eating: a wine and cheese tasting (Boyden Valley Winery + Cabot Cheese) and a Lake Champlain chocolate tasting.

mindful eating

The easiest way to begin to work on mindful eating during mealtime is to think about approaching your meal like it’s a wine (or cheese or chocolate) tasting. I love telling this to clients because it’s a perfect example of how to mindfully eat – instead of inhaling your food, slow down and really experience it. In the crazy busy world that we all live in, I often hear from clients that they eat their food so quickly and while so distracted that they hardly remember eating it, let alone what it tasted like and whether they enjoyed it. This not only leads to feeling unsatisfied after meals, but it can also often lead to overeating. Here are some steps to work on being more present during mealtime, through the lens of our guided tasting sessions over the weekend. You don’t have to do this at every meal, but work on incorporating it in some way more often than not. Simply slowing down when you are eating goes a long way towards improving intuitive eating – you can’t stop when you’re full if you’re not paying enough attention to know that you’re full, right?

Step 1) No distractions. Turn off the TV, move away from your computer. No multitasking at mealtime, especially as you are getting used to eating more mindfully.

Step 2) Examine the appearance and physical composition of the food, whether it’s a meal, snack, dessert, piece of chocolate, whatever. 

mindful eating

Step 3) Smell the food! What does the aroma bring to mind? Close your eyes and try to pick up on the complexities of the food (or drink).

Step 4) Taste the food. Let it sit in your mouth for a moment. How is the texture/mouthfeel? What is the flavor? Does it remind you of anything? Does the flavor change as you chew? Do you like it?

intuitive eating

Step 5) What flavors linger in your mouth after you swallow? Are they different from the original flavor of the food? Is there an aftertaste?

mindfulness at meal time

Step 6) As you continue eating, start noticing the feeling of your stomach getting more full. Are you starting to feel satisfied? Is the pleasure in the food and its flavor starting to decrease or are you still enjoying it? Take a pause and give your body time to catch up.

Step 7) Stop eating when you start to feel satisfied; don’t wait until you get overfull. You’ll likely find that the more attention you’re paying, especially when having something like a treat, the less you need to enjoy it and feel satisfied before being ready to stop.

If you’d like to learn more about intuitive eating and would like some one-on-one support, I’d love to work with you (see my nutrition counseling options and ask to be added to my waiting list). For more help with mindful and intuitive eating on your own, here are some wonderful resources that I’ve found:

Books:

Blogs, both from fellow dietitians:

  • Mindful Meals – wonderful posts on intuitive and mindful eating and ditching the diet mentality
  • The Real Life RD – I especially like her “What I Ate Wednesday” posts – great discussion on listening to your body and what it needs!

Also, here’s a related post here on my blog you guys might like if you missed it: Why You Should Throw Away Your Scale

Are you an intuitive/mindful eater? How did you become one? Any tips for those new to it?

Comments

  1. 1

    I think this concept is so important and such a huge step towards developing a good relationship with your body. It’s about health and not a certain number on the scale. The one that I am guilty of is that I watch TV sometimes while I eat. I try to still be mindful of my food, but it’s certainly not the best habit. Thank you for sharing!

  2. 2

    This is SUCH an important topic, thanks for posting on it!

    I used to just eat to eat, and often found my weight fluctuating a lot. The past year I’ve become a total intuitive eater and really only eat when my body tells me to. I never have to diet or worry about weight, and the more whole foods I eat, the more my body craves the healthy stuff!

  3. 3

    What a great post, Anne! Thank you! I noticed for myself this affects me the most at work- I often work very long hours and found I was doing two things which were not helping me at all. One was snacking when I was frustrated at work. The other was trying not to eat a snack and saving my hunger for an upcoming meal. Both things failed bigtime and I now try to avoid this as much as possible and take healthy snack breaks when it’s needed!

    • 4

      Yes, those are two things that a lot of people tend to do! Getting over-hungry is definitely the enemy of intuitive/mindful eating – and at least for me, it makes me super irritable (hangry monster). I used to try to wait until mealtime, too, but it always meant I arrived at dinner or lunch SO HUNGRY that I a) didn’t enjoy my food, and b) was likely to eat more than I needed. Getting over-hungry also makes the office candy jar a lot more appealing… Glad you figured out what works best for you! :)

  4. 5

    awesome post, anne!
    question: you’ve realized you’re hungry, and you’re determining what your body wants at that moment. this could be difficult for people who have to pack breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner hours in advance — what would you tell them to do? just keep lots of different options on hand?

    • 6

      Yes, I would say to pack some options, and save things you aren’t feeling for the following day! It also might help to think about what you had the day before when you’re packing your food, so you can aim for variety – e.g. did you have tuna for the lunch the day before? Or a lot of eggs? Or… a specific fruit? Maybe today mix it up to something else. Etc!

  5. 7

    What a great post and good reminder to slow down. I am sometimes guilty of eating my food in 2 seconds flat. I notice I do this when I let myself get too hungry so I have been focusing on snacks to keep me full throughout the day. I notice I am able to focus on my meals more and really enjoy the flavors when I do this.

  6. 9

    What an excellent post! (Actually, I enjoy all of your posts.) This came just at the time that I really needed to hear this. I find myself turning to food when I’m stressed and in turn, it just stresses me more when I don’t always make a “good” choice. I’m all about not restricting anything I eat, but I need a tune-up when it comes to eating more intuitively. I also appreciate the resources you mentioned at the end of your post.

  7. 10

    This was such a great post! I struggle with emotional eating, so mindful eating is such a difficulty for me. I need to work on removing distractions from my meals. I live alone and don’t have a kitchen table (city livin, woot woot), so I often have the TV on or a book in my hand.

  8. 11

    Thanks for the mention Anne! Your trip sounds fantastic, and what a wonderful tip to think of eating as a wine & cheese tasting.

  9. 12

    What would you say to someone dealing with pregnancy cravings? How does intuitive eating work when you feel like your hormones have taken over?

    • 13

      I’m not an expert in this area and I’m not going to pretend I know what that feels like, but I would say continue to go with your cravings. Denying them is only going to cause trouble later!

  10. 14

    Great step-by-step instructions on how to eat intuitively!

  11. 15

    What a wonderfully toughtful, sensible piece! Thanks, Anne… I can see why you have such a significant waiting list of would-be clients!

  12. 16

    Hi Anne, I’m sure you get this question a lot with your clients but do you find that when one comes off restrictive calorie counting to a more intuitive way of eating there is a weight gain? I restrict calories too much and I’m afraid to stop as the last time I gave intuitive eating a go I gained half a stone. It’s not like I’m too thin either, my BMI is somewhere in the middle but that gain put me over the edge into the overweight percentile. I did feel so much happier when I was trying to eat more intuitively but the weight gain made me miserable and I’m scared to try again!

    • 17

      Intuitive eating, at the very start, can certainly lead to some weight gain. This is likely for two reasons – either you were not at a weight your body was comfortable with/able to sustain, or because you have damaged your metabolism by dieting. In general, the best thing to do is to stick with the intuitive eating – your body will settle at its “happy weight”, it just might take some time, unfortunately.

      • 18

        Thank you for your reply! It’s frustrating though even though I know that that’s probably what’s going to happen I don’t want my body to settle at the higher BMI end. I don’t weight myself and haven’t done for about 2 years but I can definitely tell by my jeans!

        Also, what do you mean by “comfortably full”, is it satisfied but could still eat more? I have been guilty of the empty plate syndrome so was just wondering what was your take on that. Thanks for the help Anne, I always love your posts!

        • 19

          Yes, I would say satisfied but could still eat more. Always better to stop earlier and remember you can always go back for more if you need it, vs. eating more than you might need just because you’re worried about being hungry still. The “clean plate club” mentality that was instilled in recent generations was definitely a bad approach!

    • 20

      I agree with Anne to continue with intuitive eating! I get this question a lot as well, and I think you have to decide whether peace & sanity with food or your weight is more important. Some people lose weight with intuitive eating, some people stay the same, and some people gain weight. It’s all depends your “happy” weight that your body naturally settles at. Look beyond weight/BMI and at other aspects of health (energy, digestion, how you feel) too.

      • 21

        Oh sanity & peace is definitely better than weight, I don’t even weigh myself anyway but I don’t like how my clothes fit when I’m at my heaviest. I probably overdid it on the treats the first time I tried intuitive eating anyway but i’m scared to try again now! Baby steps I guess. Thank you for your comment, it always helps to get advice :)

        • 22

          I just started the intuitive eating and I am a pro at over eating/purging/ hating my body so I get lots of treats then eat them and then throw up and then say I’m never doing it again.. So I was terrified to have them in my house but I read ” Thin, you can have your cake and eat it too” and she suggested hiding the sweet. So you know they are there if you really want them but make sure healthier food is the first thing you see when you are looking for something to eat. That has really helped me because then I have to consciously move things out of the way to get to “bad” food and it helps me be more mindful, I haven’t over-eaten/ purged since I started doing this and it’s fantastic!

  13. 23

    Not overeating is the part I have to work on the most. Some days I’m good at it – others I’m not.

  14. 24

    Great recap on intuitive eating. How would you suggest incorporating intuitive eating with meal planning? I find I do much better at making healthy choices if I have a plan in place. At the same time, it makes it difficult to listen to my body’s desires (other than eat when you are hungry).

    • 25

      I think it’s all about finding what works for you. If you do best with a plan, then stick with it. My advice for making meal planning jive better with intuitive eating is to be flexible about which meals you’re having which day. That way you’re still using the food, but can be a little more flexible in terms of which of the meals you’re craving when.

  15. 26

    Hi Anne! No, I didn’t realize that you teach the concept of intuitive eating in your practice. Admittedly, I haven’t read any books about it or studied it, but as a nurse having taken care of plenty of people who are very overweight, here are my thoughts. I could not agree MORE with everything you said about evaluating whether or not you’re truly hungry, not waiting until you’re “hangry” to eat something, consciously slowing down to enjoy your food, being conscious and mindful of your stomach becoming full, and all that. THAT makes sense and it’s too bad in today’s hectic world these concepts have to be taught! The part of your post that doesn’t make any sense to me is where you said, “The body is smart – it will tell you, through cravings and hunger pangs, what you need, and when. Some days this certainly might be a kale salad with tons of veggies and lentils; another day, it might be a burger and fries. And that’s okay! If we are really craving something and we deny ourselves, it will likely backfire in overdoing it in that food later on. I see this a lot with clients who leave carbohydrates out of lunch, trying to “be good” – and then overdo it on cookies in the afternoon or evening because they let themselves get too hungry. ” Yes, we’ve all deprived ourselves of a certain food only to binge on something later. The part I have to question is whether our bodies can really tell us what we NEED, nutritionally. Is there research to support that? I don’t think the 400+ lbs. patients I’ve cared for have EVER craved a kale salad! In fact, because of the current food system, they might not even know what kale IS! Having made some changes to my diet including removing most processed sugar, I can attest to the fact that our taste buds can and do change over time. Now, when I try to eat, say, a soy yogurt cup or bakery muffin, I’m usually immediately put off by how sickeningly sweet it tastes and cannot eat more than a few bites. However, even though I eat healthier than at least 80% of the population, I can’t say I’ve ever craved a kale salad. I’m getting there, as I learn more about the nutrients in each food, as I learn how to prepare and enjoy kale, because I WANT to be healthy. But without continuing to read and learn and try, I might never eat kale. There IS research to support the fact that whatever the fast food chains add to their “food” makes it something people crave to have again and so it becomes addicting. Hence, it seems dangerous, and actually laughable, to tell anyone, let alone a person struggling with their weight to eat whatever their body is craving. I personally feel that this concept is a fad, and will blow over in the coming winds of the next few years. Society pretty much DOES eat what it craves, and look where that is getting us!! Do you really subscribe to this concept? Perhaps you can talk about it more sometime.

    • 27

      I agree with this. It wasn’t until I started paying attention to calories and therefore eating more vegetables that I began to crave vegetables/salads. It wasn’t until I started restricting the amount of salad dressing I used, that I started to enjoy the taste of vegetables not soaked in ranch. I think it takes a lot of initial training and forcing yourself to make healthier choices for your body to want to eat those things. Similar to cutting back on sugar concept- once you train your taste buds, it’s harder to go back to unhealthy choices. Also- while I agree we need to slow down while eating, it’s really hard to tell someone who has a half hour for lunch or less from their hourly job to go through 6 steps with every bite and really analyze the taste/texture. It takes a lot of privilege to have that kind of time.

      • 28

        Completely agree re: the time! This is just supposed to be an exercise to try to build up your mindful eating skills, not something that you do every single day. The idea is that practicing it when you do have time will end up spilling over into your regular eating, too.

    • 29

      Thank you for your comment! I certainly agree that if someone is 400 lbs and has always eaten fast food, it will take quite a lot of work on intuitive eating for them to start craving kale salads, but like you said, our taste buds certainly do change. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with telling someone to eat what they are craving, IF they are also working with someone who is guiding them towards much more mindful eating. Like you said, yes, society is eating what it craves – but I argue that they are absolutely not listening to their body’s hunger and fullness cues or being mindful while they do so. Someone who is eating mindfully in a very engaged manner will not eat until they are uncomfortably full. A big part of intuitive eating is really paying attention to how food makes you feel, which is why you end up craving healthier foods farther down the line – because they make you feel your best.

      • 30

        So, I guess the problem I’m having with this new term “intuitive eating” is that apparently it doesn’t mean what it really means — ha, ha! I just consulted Webster’s to make sure I wasn’t thinking of another word, and nope . . . . . . “Intuition: direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process.” A synonym that comes to mind would be instinct. That is most definitely NOT what you’ve described above in your response. What I read you to say is that in order to eat intuitively, you must begin learning to eat mindfully, but clearly that violates the definition of intuitively. I would like to see this term disappear from nutrition advice, period. A focus on mindfulness as you described in your post is very important, but I wish I could hear that dietitians like yourself are putting more focus on teaching people to know what real food is, to read ingredient labels, to get help for disordered eating and food addictions, to meal plan to avoid unhealthy last-minute decisions, to try new recipes and experiment with new tastes, etc., etc. All of that seems pretty far from telling someone to eat what they’re craving.

        • 31

          I’m going to counter this with the definition of “intuitive”, which is definitely in line with what it means — “using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.” The idea is to try to let go of any previous ideas about what you “should” eat (e.g. getting away from the good food/bad food/guilt/etc. that’s involved with dieting) and really try to focus more on what food makes you FEEL good, which, once you get better at intuitive eating, generally ends up being food that is healthier because it’s what makes you feel good. I agree with you though that it is very important to pair intuitive/mindful eating practice with hard skills like teaching clients about eating real food, what things will energize you when, how to pair things together so you are satisfied, encouraging variety, etc. These are all things that I do in my own practice! Thanks for your insight!

          • 32

            I think the term “intuitive” makes sense when you look at the other options for how to deal with your diet. Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full is much more “intuitive” than looking to a calorie counting app to tell you whether you can eat or not. The idea is that by following your body’s instinct, your eating habits will eventually change for the better. The body wants to feel good, and if we give it the chance to eat stuff that will serve it best, it will eventually want and choose that good food. The key, though, is to give it that chance.

            Intuitive eating seems to be the most helpful for those who have a history of yo-yo dieting, bingeing and restricting, etc. If you let yourself have whatever you want, truly without guilt or shame, then those foods lose their power over you. You no longer crave them simply because you can’t have them. It’s like a stray dog who’s had to scavenge for food its whole life. With enough time and access to food and water, the dog will figure out that it doesn’t have to be desperate anymore, and it will eat normal amounts and stop hiding food for later. We are the same. When we say to ourselves that we can have as many cookies as we want, eventually we won’t eat the whole box because we feel sick after eating it, and that feeling isn’t worth having if we can have just a couple cookies every once in awhile instead.

            If we give ourselves enough chances to try and like healthy foods (it can take like 10 exposures to a food for it to become palatable!), our body WILL start to prefer those. There are a lot of psychological and emotional factors in diet, so those may trip us up along the way, but if we’re patient, people can start to legitimately like healthier foods and prefer them. That process is much more intuitive than counting calories or restricting certain food groups.

  16. 34

    There’s so many great tips here. I have to confess that when I’m at home I eat in front of the TV a lot. This is another reminder that I need to start changing my habits.

  17. 35

    I need to pay more attention to eating when I eat. I have a bad habit of eating in front of the computer or tv and then overeat because I’m not conscious of what I really doing.

  18. 36

    Hi Anne- I really enjoyed this post. I work in a hospital and much of the nutrition counseling I do centers around mindful eating. In talking about eating with feelings, I think something helpful for people is to not keep food laying around in the office, like snacks in your desk drawer, candy bowls, cookie trays, etc. I find people mostly eat those things when they are bored or stressed, not when they are actually hungry.

    Have you by chance been following any updated research on hormones that affect hunger and satiety (grhelin, glucagon, etc.)? At what point/weight do you think a person’s body really can’t tell them what they need? This is something I struggle with when working with some patients.

    • 37

      Great to hear you are spreading this approach as well! Unfortunately I’m not up to date enough on hormone research to give an educated response to your question, I’m sorry. As far as I know, though, I don’t think that’s something that’s been 100% determined yet.

  19. 38

    Terrific post today, Anne! You may already have enjoyed, but just in case, let me recommend Charles Duhigg’s recent _The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business_. From today’s comments, it sounds as if there’s a definite appetite (pun intended) for his research and approach. For those interested in increasing self-awareness and living deliberately, his book does a great job deconstructing habits of individuals, organizations, and societies, in turn.

  20. 40

    Well-written article, Anne. It reminds me of that acronym: HALTS. I’m sure it’s also part of your repertoire. Try not to make quick or difficult decisions when you are feeling: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, or Stressed/Sick. Thanks for sharing this information.

  21. 41

    This is such a great topic! And you gave such great information and advice (Thank you!). I try to eat intuitively but to be honest it doesn’t always work out that way. I will try and be more mindful of it though. Really great post!

  22. 42

    Great post! This is how I try and live my life and it has taken me a long time to get to that point. You are right; it is such an easy concept yet so hard to grasp sometimes. Thanks for the tips!

  23. 43

    This is an awesome post, Anne! It’s definitely a concept that is hard to get used to, and it takes practice over and over again to be better at mindful eating. As a beginner RD, I definitely appreciate being reminded of this to be able to better help my clients, but also to remember it for myself! I like how you took us through each step of a meal and how to truly experience it mindfully. Great resources listed as well! I will definitely be looking into those books. Thanks!

  24. 44

    Thank you for this posts and great reminders/tips. I definitely try to follow these. I run into trouble when I eat with others and feel the need to eat matching their pace and/or quantity. Any suggestions?

    • 45

      The most important thing is to remember that it does not matter what anyone else is doing because what works for them will be different than what works for you. It helps if you’re out to eat to really slow down – drink water, put down the fork frequently and focus on the conversation, etc.

  25. 46

    I always wonder, when it comes to intuitive eating, if you wake up and you aren’t hungry, or it’s lunch time and you aren’t hungry, are you supposed to eat, or are you supposed to wait until you are actually hungry, no matter what time it may be??

  26. 48

    I counsel on the same principles to eat mindfully and try to listen to what your body is telling you. I’d say for a lot of people 9 time out of 10 they aren’t really hungry. I think it takes different people longer to discover how to be more intuitive about eating but I believe it something everyone can achieve! Great post :)

  27. 49

    I really appreciate this post! I need this reminder at the beginning of each meal. Unfortunately, I struggle with IBS-C, so I rarely feel hungry. Is this a time where intuitive eating isn’t reliable?

    • 50

      It depends on the person, but yes, GI issues can definitely make intuitive eating tougher. That said, slowing down and being more mindful at mealtime is a good idea for anyone!

  28. 51

    What a great post! Love it!

  29. 52

    I’ve never posted before but I had to because this is such an amazing post! I struggled with disordered eating for years and I swear by intuitive eating. When I obsess about what I eat, my weight fluctuates, but if i listen to my body, my weight is always the same. Its such an incredible way to live life and it’s refreshing not to obsess about what you’re eating/not eating all the time. This post is a great reminder to go through the different steps and be mindful about intuitive eating. Thank you Anne! I love your blog and this post is the reason why!

  30. 54

    You should check out Prof. Brian Wansink’s books on Mindful Eating. Lots of tips and tricks.

  31. 55

    Love love love this! And I totally signed up for the course right when I got home. It started yesterday and I’m loving it. Thanks again for the recommendation!!

  32. 57

    Great tips! Stopping when you are satisfied is a big one for me. Also realizing that when I am irritable that I am not really hungry, just cranky and food won’t fix that. My husband is always telling me I eat so slow, but I am focusing on enjoying me food! He always gives me a hard time.

  33. 59

    Love this post! I’ve been working on eating more intuitively, so it came at a great time :) included it in a round up of some of my favorite fitness links this week too!

  34. 61

    This is such a powerful lesson and one that I hope more people see and appreciate! Having come up through the school of “diets” years ago, the emerging shift toward understanding and appreciating mindful eating is such a welcome change. A life without foods like cheese and chocolate, just isn’t a life that I wanna be a part of :)

  35. 63

    I truly need to practice a little more on mindful eating, specially at work when I inhale my food. During weekends I’m more prone to sit down and taste the food. Still a work in progress 😀 thanks for sharing, I’ll make sure to remember this when I’m eating!

  36. 64

    This was a great post to understand your eating philosophy! I agree with what a you said and what a lot of people echoed- I need to practice being aware of when I’m eating instead of eating in front of the tv or computer which is what seems easiest and “time saving”. Sometimes though I get a craving for something at like 10pm at night and I’m aware that I am not hungry but I just WANT to put some food in my mouth- that’s my latest issue!

  37. 65

    Such a great post! This is something I’m working on. Definitely sharing this in my Sunday Link Love :-)

  38. 67

    Thank you, Anne, for this fantastic reminder that I need to be more mindful when I eat. I get in the bad habit of eating lunch at my computer at work (so I can go outside for a walk or run during my real lunch time) or dinner in front of the TV some nights. It’s just as you said–I haven’t even noticed what I’ve eaten and barely remember how it tasted. Though it’s easy at work not to keep eating because I’m still “hungry,” it’s not as easy as at home where I can go and get a second helping. I end up getting frustrated with my body for being hungry when I know I fed it plenty, and play a game of, “Am I really hungry?” the rest of the night. Thank you for this great post, the resources, and the reminder!

  39. 68

    Glad you’re discussing intuitive eating. I first read about the topic a few years ago through the Intuitive Eating book you mention above. At the time though I didn’t trust myself to move away from a dieting mentality. Now I’m revisiting it because I do think I’ve been doing a terrible job of listening to my body. I’m happy to see this discussed because I will admit I used to really like healthy living blogs but soured on them over the years because they seemed often seemed to promote restriction or vacillating from one extreme to the next rather than really listening to your body. I’m also reading another book right now that is fantastic, Starting Monday. Not sure if you’ve heard about it but it is EXCELLENT about going into a lot of the emotional stuff that makes us end up at a higher weight and have unhealthy relationships with our body and food.

  40. 70

    Great post Anne! I want to check out the books you suggested. :)

  41. 71

    Thanks for this article on mindful eating. I have been consciously engaged in listening to my body again and feeling what it is that it wants……I’ll be patient and forgiving of myself in the short run as I have to break 50 years of reactive patterns and habits. :)

  42. 72

    I really liked to read the article. I am always forgetting to get the most of my food and to do it right. I will now try to remeber more of it.

  43. 73

    Hi Anne,
    It is important to pay attention to why we eat as well. Why not include a food journal? It should include any event that may have had an effect on our food choices.

    • 74

      Yes, great tip! I often have clients do “food/mood” journals for this reason, actually — the focus is not on the specific food but rather how they felt before/after it.

  44. 75

    Great insight. I absolutely agree that we lost “awareness” of the food we eat “thanks” to out hectic lives. We have so much food available that we just gulp it down without a second thought instead of savoring it, throwing the feeling of satiety out of the window. The net result is over eating (and getting over weight). Thanks for your helpful tips on this very simple approach that does not require boring calorie counting. Well done!

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  1. […] morning, friends! Thank you for the great feedback and discussion on my “How to Eat Intuitively – A Guide to Mindful Eating” post from yesterday. Please keep it coming! A couple other things I wanted to mention before I […]

  2. […] but it’s also important for mindful eating, of which you know I am a big proponent. (See also: How to Eat Intuitively | A Guide to Mindful Eating.) Because how are you going to eat mindfully if you aren’t even paying attention? When I used to […]

  3. […] Start to listen and pay attention more to your hunger cues, and aim to eat when you are about a 3 on a hunger scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being not hungry at all and 5 being super “hangry”). That way, you can slow down, ask yourself what you want, and calmly eat it – no sweet tooth/hungry panic involved. See also: How to Eat Intuitively | A Guide to Mindful Eating. […]

  4. […] I realize this is counter to most of the advice out there. But for the mindful and intuitive eating approach to work, you have to truly allow yourself to have whatever you want, and without guilt. […]

  5. […] I have had a lot of success changing my abstainer clients into moderators simply by giving them permission to have the foods they love, but with one catch: they have to actually pay attention and enjoy the experience. (See also: A Guide to Mindful Eating.) […]

  6. […] basically just means actually paying attention and focusing on the experience of eating (see also: a guide to mindful eating), will help you to savor your meal and allow you to listen for cues your body sends you when it is […]

  7. […] about a year ago, I saw an article on Anne’s blog (note from Anne – here’s the post: How to Eat Intuitively – A Guide to Mindful Eating) about Intuitive Eating that included some book recommendations. So, I read the books, and they […]

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