If you regularly keep up with our blog, you know that what you eat has a significant effect on nearly every other aspect of your life, including the quality of your sleep. In fact, your diet is one of the three pillars of healthy living. For instance, if you choose a too-heavy or spicy meal late into the evening, your sleep will suffer. Because you slept poorly, you’re more likely to overindulge in caffeine, sugar, and carbs throughout the next day. You’re also less likely to exercise. Then, because you ate poorly again, the cycle continues over and over.
Today, we’re going to go a little further with this idea and discuss intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is a simple idea. Let’s see how it makes a positive impact on your life!
What is Intuitive Eating?
When you’re feeling tired, it’s best to listen to your body and make your way to your PranaSleep premium mattress for some quality shut-eye. Intuitive eating relies on the same principle, but for eating instead of sleeping. It is a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals, not anyone or anything else. It’s the opposite of what we traditionally think of when we say “diet.” Essentially, it doesn’t impose guidelines about what to avoid and what or when to eat. Instead, it empowers you and teaches you to be the best person to make these important decisions.
It is a simple idea, and an effective one. Instead of avoiding certain items, you make peace with all food. Unlike traditional diets that restrict or ban items and force you to eat others, intuitive eating requires you to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad.” Rather than making every meal a struggle, you listen to your body and eat what feels right for you. After all, who knows your body better than you?
How to do it
Hunger is not your enemy! Intuitive eating is an eating style that promotes a healthy attitude toward food and body image. The idea is that you should eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. In order to do so, you’ll need to learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Honor your hunger! When you are hungry, eat. It’s as simple as that. Just as your body tells you when it’s hungry, it also tells you when it’s full. Listen for the signals of comfortable fullness, meaning when you feel you have had enough. When you eat, frequently pause to check in with your body. Take time to savor the experience of eating. When you feel satisfied and happy, you’ll know you’ve had enough.
You’ll also want to become aware of the times when a feeling that you might call hunger is really based on emotion. Emotional eating is a strategy for coping with feelings. We’ll go more into this in a minute.
What Benefits Does it Bring to Your Life?
Food is not good or bad, and you are not good or bad for what you eat or don’t eat. Learning intuitive eating brings many benefits to your life. These include:
#1 Less Hunger
When you restrict foods, your body may not get the nutrients it needs to function at its best. When you think of the word “diet,” the next word you probably think of is “hungry.” A diet means withholding food, right? It doesn’t have to! You’ll work on really knowing your body and why you’re hungry. When you’re physically hungry, allow yourself to eat. Choose foods that give you the nutrition your body needs, like protein and lean fats. When you’re emotionally hungry, you can instead find another way to respect and release your feelings. You’ll naturally be eating less, without ever feeling hungry.
#2 Body Positivity
Depriving yourself of certain foods can trigger serious cravings and even lead to binge eating, feeling bad about yourself, and obsessing over food. The food you eat should taste good and make you feel good. It is time to respect your body! Rather than criticizing your body for how it looks and what you perceive is wrong with it, recognize it as healthy, capable, amazing, and beautiful just as it is. Eating intuitively is about choosing foods that satisfy both your health needs and your taste buds. Moderation is key! A few bites of chocolate or a piece of pizza won’t make you gain weight in an instant.
#3 Getting More In-Tune with Your Emotions
Eating to satisfy emotions like anxiety, loneliness, anger, or boredom won’t fix the problems that are causing these feelings. Because you’ll only be eating when you are physically hungry, you won’t be “eating your feelings” any longer. Instead, you’ll work on and be able to find ways that are unrelated to food to deal with your feelings. A few popular options include taking a walk, meditating, taking a nap, yoga, cycling, journaling, or calling a friend. As you get better at intuitive eating, you will become aware of the times when a feeling that you might call hunger is really based on emotion.
Will it Impact Your Sleep?
In a word- yes! Part of intuitive eating is choosing foods that offer the nutrition you need to live a healthy life. Food that helps you sleep is a big part of that! The same healthy foods, like eggs, fish, beans, and yogurt, that make you feel full, as well as good about yourself, will also help you sleep. When you sleep well, you can support overall health and wellness.
Eating a big meal before bed can keep you up at night, especially if you’re too full. Many times, this is the result of emotional eating and not true physical hunger. As you work to differentiate the two and only eat when you’re feeling true hunger, your sleep will naturally improve as a result.
The mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits of using these principles can significantly impact your life. From improving self-esteem, body images, and overall quality of life to reducing anxiety and depression, there are many reasons to consider making the switch to intuitive eating. Of course, your sleep will also improve! Anything that makes you feel healthier, sleep easier, and enjoy improved self-esteem is worth a try. We’re rooting for you!