Health Benefits of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating comes with an array of health benefits–from improved cholesterol to greater life satisfaction. Read on to learn more.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The health benefits of intuitive eating have been documented in over 100 studies. They include everything from improved cholesterol to a lower risk of eating disorders. In addition, many of the benefits are related to mental health and overall well-being.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is a non-diet, self-care framework that relies on honoring and trusting your body’s instincts when it comes to eating and movement. It’s basically the opposite of dieting.
Babies are born intuitive eaters and young children are natural intuitive eaters. Thus it’s basically our body’s natural way of being. It’s not until external factors such as parenting, food insecurity, and diet culture get in the way that it may be disrupted.
Physical health benefits of intuitive eating
- Reduced blood pressure
- Better cholesterol profile
- Improved blood sugar levels
Mental health benefits of intuitive eating
- Reduced disordered eating
- Less emotional eating
- Fewer episodes of binge eating
- Improved body appreciation and acceptance
- Increased motivation to exercise
- More joy in eating
- Greater life satisfaction
- Higher levels of optimism
What about weight loss?
While some people lose weight when they rediscover intuitive eating, others may stay the same, and others may gain weight. Researchers have hypothesized that it has to do with finding your set point weight–the weight that your body stays at naturally without dieting. But the important piece here is that weight is not the focus of intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating recognizes that weight loss/gain is not a behavior. We think we can control weight, but studies show that in most cases it’s only temporary and generally doesn’t lead to the happiness that we think it will. Ironically, one of the strongest predictors of weight gain is dieting.
Fortunately, the research shows that weight alone is not a good indicator of health and that we can improve health and well-being without focusing on weight.
It can be hard to let go of the desire to lose weight–the force of diet culture is strong. But if you are ready to ditch dieting and find food and body freedom, intuitive eating is here for you and comes with an array of health benefits.
Intuitive eating resources
Finally, for support and guidance with intuitive eating, consider working with a Registered Dietitian who is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. I’m currently offering 1:1 virtual counseling sessions. Learn more here.
Other posts you might like:
- HAES – A Better Approach to Health and Weight
- Letting Go of the Diet Mentality
- Intuitive Eating for Teens
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