This principle is saved for last for a reason!
I encourage anyone actually going through the book and steps of Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch to pause at this point and decide if you are ready to step into the chapter without being triggered to revert back into diet mentality, have you really let yourself Make Peace with Food?
Today my goal is to talk about why gentle nutrition is important and holds a place in the intuitive eating process.
We all have body autonomy, and you have the right to take care of yourself any way you like. If your health is not a main priority, you may not choose to engage in gentle nutrition and that is completely okay and up to you!
For those of you who do value health but have struggled to figure out how to heal your relationship with food and continue to honor your health this principle is for you.
As a dietitian, I care about health.
You could even say I am PASSIONATE about it. My 8 years in practice have taught me one thing for sure. Obsessing about food is not the path to health. Health is holistic and takes into consideration the balance of both mental and physical well-being. Obsessing over food, diet, and your body is anything but well-being!
Gentle nutrition is looking at incorporating facts about nutrition and how your body feels when you eat while keeping in mind the other principles of Intuitive Eating. No foods are off limits, EVER, unless you have a life threatening allergy then please don’t eat that food, but also don’t pretend you have an allergy because you heard not eating a food is going fill in the blank – sorry caught on a soap box…
Gentle nutrition is about connecting to how your body feels when you eat.
Do certain foods make your feel energized, alert and others make you feel lethargic, sluggish? Have foods ever caused gas or bloating (and not because you are anxious about eating them – but this topic is for another day) Honoring your body means listening to these cues and eating based on how your body feels while continuing to prioritize picking foods that are satisfying and enjoyable. It may also mean considering where food comes from and the impact on the environment, but again be cautious if the goal of changing these eating patterns is based in a value or potentially a lingering hope that eating this way will “solve your problems,” “instantly make you feel better,” or “give you the body you have always dreamed of.”
It’s awesome to fill your plate with veggies, fruits, whole grains and proteins and heart healthy fats, but if this is the only way you eat then you may be limiting your variety, and the ability to eat in all environments. Sometimes gentle nutrition is eating just because you are hungry and you don’t love the food options, maybe it’s nailing a balanced plate that tastes delicious and is full of a variety of brightly colored foods, other times its eating a fun food just because it tastes good without nutrient density in mind! There is space for it all when it comes to Intuitive Eating.
Biggest take away message when it comes to incorporating nutrition into your Intuitive Eating journey- always go back to the other principles if you find yourself getting caught up in doing it perfectly. There is no perfect way of eating, but deprivation will get you nowhere!
Make sure to check out more thoughts from Gina over on Insta
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