In the official intuitive eating book by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, you learn that the last step to intuitive eating is gentle nutrition. This is the last step because it’s about learning to honor your body nutritionally after you let go of diet mentality.
This last step is often the hardest of all since it focuses on eating healthy even though you aren’t dieting. This is where people often get hung up on restricting vs listening to your body. Below we’ve included some tips for using gentle nutrition to make good choices without restricting your food.
Make Your Peace with Food
Making peace with your food means neutralizing it. This means that you don’t’ see food as good or bad. It’s just food. Learning to listen to what your body wants you to eat means that you can eat anything you’re craving and enjoy every bite as you eat it.
Gentle Nutrition Unique To You
Gentle nutrition looks different for each individual. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Food is food. A salad vs a sandwich is just a salad vs a sandwich. It’s not a good vs bad choice. You need to make your food choices based on what your body wants.
Change Your Thoughts About Structured Eating
A lot of diets tell you to eat a particular amount at a particular time of the day. This is a habit you may need to release. You now get to eat when and where you’re hungry. Obviously there will be a few exceptions to this, such as a scheduled food break at work. But overall, you want to learn to just eat what you want when you want it. Focus on your body and making your body happy no matter what conventional wisdom tells you.
Balance It All out
Everything in life is about balance, and food is no different. You don’t want to follow a strict set of nutrition rules when it comes to food, but you do want to establish a healthy balance. Journaling is a great way to learn to listen to and respect your body. A lot of people who switch to intuitive eating find themselves eating loads of “junk” food at first, but as they start to learn their own bodies, they naturally are inclined to pick and eat foods that contain higher nutritional content. This is an important place to get to in the intuitive eating journey.