Category Archives: Intuitive Eating Tips

Eating for the Right Reasons

Young woman enjoying ice creamHow many of you eat even when you’re not physically hungry? My guess is that would be all of you. And, from time to time this is not a problem. Once in a while it is nice to have a special treat just because something tastes good. I particularly savor my first trip to the ice cream parlor in the spring when the weather starts getting warm. However, if you commonly eat to reward and entertain yourself and to ease emotional distress there is a chance you lose control over eating and think about food a lot.

The Eat for Life class that I teach at the University of Missouri is a mindfulness-based intuitive eating program that helps people discover why they eat when they’re not hungry and how to be more in control of what, when, and how they eat. In addition, the program shows how to turn exercise into fun and eating into a healthy joy. The research I conducted indicates that after the program people are more mindful, they eat based on physical instead of emotional cues, they appreciate their bodies more, and they binge less often.

My research indicates that mindfulness training was the key to success in all of the other improvements that people experienced. To support that finding, recent research by Mason and colleagues published in the journal Appetite demonstrated that adding mindfulness training to a diet and exercise intervention called Supporting Health by Integrating Nutrition and Exercise (SHINE)significantly improved weight loss.  This randomized controlled trial adds to the support of mindfulness training as an important part of any weight management or weight loss program.

Summer classes for the Eat for Life program are now registering.  This is great opportunity to learn to eat and live in a way that supports your physical and emotional well-being. There is an in person class in Columbia, Missouri, and an online class that you can take from anywhere in the world.  I hope you can join me.

Print Friendly

Mindfulness-based, Intuitive Eating – Learning to Trust the Body

Trust1Your body is a magnificent instrument that is designed to move you toward a state of health on a moment by moment basis.  Just think about it works to heal your body when you injure it in some way.  At the cellular level, the body just knows what to do.  In the same way, the body knows when it needs to be fed and responds positively to food that it determines is healthy for it. It actually works to dispose of food that is not good for its functioning.  And many of us make it work overtime if we are putting food into that is toxic to the system in some way, such as eating too much sugar, fat, and salt.

If you have not been paying attention to your body’s physical signals for a long time, it might sound a little overwhelming to think about trusting your body to tell you what it really needs.  Not listening to your body can happen for a number of reasons—you’re too busy, you’ve followed the advice of diets or diet gurus to tell you what to eat and when, and you listen to the thoughts in your head more than you listen to your body.

In the class that I teach, the idea of mindfulness-based, intuitive eating can be a little scary for people.  The most common things I hear (and I hear them all of the time) are:   If I eat intuitively, I’m afraid that I will get fat. How can I eat whatever I want and not gain weight? If I don’t weigh myself regularly (something I ask people not to do), how will I know how much I weigh?

Let’s take them one at a time. Continue reading

Print Friendly

We are born intuitive eaters!

I’ve become aware of research recently which supported my belief that we ARE born intuitive eaters, but we go astray if we succumb to being conditioning by fast food and highly processed food.  There may be exceptions to this premise, but I doubt that many of us were born with disordered eating problems.  So what happened?

One report that I read indicates children can begin to identify brand name fast food and soda products as early as age 3. This is frightening!  Further, children who have a high brand knowledge (that means they are eating a lot of it) are the same kids who prefer salty, fatty, and sugary brands.  However, if children were fed healthy food, they developed a preference for it. Continue reading

Print Friendly

Finding your balance in the New Year!

Driving back from St. Louis on Monday morning, I was listening to NPR’s Morning Edition.  The story about how parenting style plays a role in teen binge drinking reminded me of how our own attitudes towards ourselves affect our eating behavior.  The study by researcher Stephen Bahr at Brigham Young University looked at three types of parenting styles—strict (typically called authoritarian), indulgent (or permissive), and a style that borrows something from the two extremes(typically called authoritative).  The style associated with the lowest levels of problem drinking, was the authoritative style.  It includes holding the teen accountable and having consequences for behavior, together with warmth and support.  The indulgent style was associated with the highest levels of binge drinking, closely followed by the strict parenting style. Continue reading

Print Friendly

Quick (foodless) Fixes

You’re stressed, anxious, worried, bored, or sad.  You reach for food!  You feel better (at least temporarily).  Anybody had that experience?  It is a well known phenomenon that people tend to eat to feel better emotionally.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s quick.  Unfortunately, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a consistent pattern of evidence that people will eat food that is higher in sugar and fat when stressed and worried.  Continue reading

Print Friendly