Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating: What’s the Difference?

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mindful eating or intuitive eating

A newborn baby asks for food when hungry and stops eating when full. As a child, we eat the food we enjoy and reject the ones we don’t. We were all born intuitive eaters.

Life can bring different passions. Mindful eating is one of those, borne out of a desire to maintain a conscious eating behavior without neglecting our internal hunger and fullness cues. It’s powerful than the diet mindset. We seek to encourage genuine connection with what we put into our stomach. Similarly, we always want to know if we truly enjoy how we feel about certain foods.

The difference between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating

mindful eating or intuitive eating

Teaching children intuitive and mindful eating could eventually be the key ingredient to healing from eating disorders. It’s better than the disorientation that comes with empty speeches about “good food; bad food.” Even more purposeful than the ambiguity in the language of diet culture, like “I worked out today, I deserve that cake” or “I gotta hit the gym I ate way too much over the weekend.”

More so, it’s necessary to know the difference between mindful eating and intuitive eating as we seek to make peace with food. This also restate the myths behind them.

Intuitive eating is about letting go of rules and expectations.

mindful eating or intuitive eating

To eat intuitively is to listen to your body’s needs and honor them. Firstly, you have to believe in your body’s ability to balance out your food consumption without restrictions or prescriptions from the outside.

There are no hard-and-fast rules about intuitive eating. Then again, it’s rooted in the belief that man must not think about food all the time. That’s where mindful eating comes in.

Even though they complement each other, they are not the same. Intuitive eating teaches us to let go of food. Mindful eating encourages conscious and non-judgemental connections with food.

Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who created the radical solution, based it on ten guidelines. Half of these guidelines yearn towards mindfulness.

The ten principles of intuitive eating include:

  • Rejecting the diet mentality
  • Honoring your hunger
  • Making peace with food
  • Challenging the food police
  • Knowing your fullness
  • Discovering the satisfaction factor
  • Coping with your emotions without using food
  • Respecting your body
  • Exercising to feel the difference
  • Honoring your health through gentle nutrition

Mindful eating is normalizing food and eating instead of moralizing it.

mindful eating or intuitive eating

Mindful eating is all about eating regularly and consistently while seeking an authentic connection with what enters the mouth. It’s eating intuitively with all your senses activated.

In the words of a fitness trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, “Every living cell in your body is made from the food you eat. If you consistently eat junk food, then you’ll have a junk body.”

Begin by eliminating buzz words that moralize food and eating. Instead, improve your relationship with food in ways that focus on “nourishment.” Take time to enjoy your food, concentrate on the flavors, and savor every bite.

Your history with food could have created a demon-like “anxiety” linked to certain foods. Such that you can binge on some food and ignore others. Mindful eating makes all food neutral – no good food, no bad food. See foods for what they are and understand the factors that go into satisfaction from them. It could be the time of the day or month, hunger, or nutritional needs.


SEE ALSO: An Introduction to Everyday Mindful Eating 


So, what’s the difference?

mindful eating or intuitive eating

Mindful eating is improving our relationship with food, while intuitive eating is eating to feel good.

For example, Christmas for Italians means eating for hours on end with friends or family.
Becoming a mindful eater during such the holidays involving lots of food means focusing on how meals appeal to the senses. It’s different from obsessing on our bias or fear for one food item against another. It’s seeking food for its distinctive aroma, tastes, colors, textures, and sounds.

To be an intuitive eater is to gnaw at every piece of the pizza without relishing its ingredient. It’s having the next available meal-offering to eat one’s fill.

The difference is in the state of the senses. We focus on the sensations derived from eating mindfully. The satisfaction of intuitive eating is often in eating “just the right amount of food” without necessarily seeking to experience the food.

It’s important to know that intuitive eating relies heavily on hunger and fullness cues. While mindful eating does not tell us to ignore our internal signals, it’s beyond just eating to get by and get through the day.

Mindful eating teaches us to expand our choices from a multitude of recipes. Try something new and different from the faraway cultures. Remember, we can always borrow a helping hand from the senses when we feel troubled by our evolving eating behaviors.

Hey Joyfreshers, how do you deal with the diet culture? Do you practice mindful eating or intuitive eating? Let’s discuss in the comment below! 

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