Intuitive Eating-- an extremely popular buzzword when it comes to the health and fitness space. But what does it really mean to "intuitively eat?" And how do you make sure you do it in a way that doesn't reverse the progress you've made in your health and fitness journey?
Let's get into it.
WHAT PEOPLE MEAN WHEN THEY "EAT INTUITIVELY"
Plain and simple, eating intuitively means that you basically eat when your body signals to you "I'm hungry," and you don't track the macro nutrients or calories.
Sounds simple and awesome, right? It is! But it's very important to know that those who are able to successfully eat intuitively-- aka, do so without losing any progress they made in their health and fitness goals-- didn't start out by intuitive eating.
Think of Intuitive Eating as the last step. And to get to that last step, you have to take the first steps, which include:
Learning how different macronutrients (and micronutrients) make your body tick
What a calorie deficit/surplus/maintenance look like for YOU and YOUR activity levels
Learning what a true serving of specific foods looks like (weighing with a food scale)
Understanding what foods include which nutrients to fuel your body
Practicing all of those above steps every day for a few months/years until you get to a point where you feel confident in your ability to know all of the information in those steps to complete them without tracking your macros/calories and intuitively eat.
So whenever you see someone who's super fit that says they "eat intuitively," 99.99% of the time, they've already done the work to understand how to do that successfully. They know how much protein, carbs and fats they should be roughly getting in on a daily basis to fuel their bodies for their workouts and to reach their goals -- whether it's weight loss, gain or maintenance.
HOW DO I INTUITIVELY EAT AND HIT MY HEALTH & FITNESS GOALS?
Hopefully this one isn't a surprise: You need to do the work first.
If you don't know how many calories or macros help you lose, gain or maintain weight from tracking them before, how are you supposed to know how to hit your goals without figuring that out first?
Like most things in life, you need to put the work in first to get to a point where you can essentially just "coast" without losing your progress.
Without taking those first steps, it's very easy for people to overeat and start reversing the progress they've made. And that's just the truth.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH THE FIRST STEPS TO INTUITIVE EATING
Ready to take those first steps? Awesome! Here are a few of my favorite tools that I've used to understand the best way to fuel my body and educate myself on nutrition:
Calorie and Macro tracking app
Using a tool like the MyTransphormation app, that takes into account your personal body metrics, activity level, goals and food preferences will help you understand how much of what nutrients your unique body needs to lose, gain or maintain weight.
You can find food scales pretty much anywhere...I got mine on amazon! Ones that will be more helpful will have the ability to change the unit of weight (you'll find one with ounces and grams to be the most beneficial if you're in the US).
These help you understand what a true and most accurate portion of your foods are. A lot of folks usually think servings are bigger than they should be-- this leads to weight gain. Using a food scale will help you paint a more accurate picture of what a serving actually looks like.