Intuitive Eating and Making Peace with Food

Intuitive Eating and Making Peace with Food Anete Lusina Pexels Beverly Hills Magazine #Heathyeating #Healthy #diet #beverlyhills #bevhillsmag #beverlyhillsmagazine

About Meredith O’Brien

According to Meredith O’Brien, LCSW, there are 10 principles of Intuitive Eating that work in two ways: to help you gain body attunement which is the ability to notice physical sensations that arise in your body such as hunger and fullness, and to remove any obstacles that get in the way of attunement.

A certified intuitive eating counselor, Carolyn Costin Institute eating disorder coach, and author, Meredith suffered from anorexia since the age of ten, and at the age of thirty-five, she entered a partial hospitalization program. Today, she is fully recovered, and continues to help her clients to create a healthy relationship with food through advanced training in dialectical behavior therapy.Meredith O'Brien Eating Disorder Mental Health Coach Beverly Hills Magazine #MeredithObrien #MentalHealthCoach #Bevhillsmag #beverlyhills #beverlyhillsmagazine

In addition to this, Meredith O’Brien specializes in mental health services, more specifically the areas of depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, chronic suicidal ideation, self-harm, family conflict, emotional dysregulation, and life transitions. For more than a decade, Meredith continues to utilize Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution-Oriented Therapy, and Mindfulness-based treatments in her practice.

Her autobiography “Opening the Door: My Journey Through Anorexia to Full Recovery” launches this summer. Click here to find out more about Meredith.

Below are her 10 Intuitive Eating principles.

1. Reject The Diet Mentality

Principle 1 encourages people to get off the diet bandwagon. Through research and evidenced based studies, it has been found that diets do not work. Dieting leads to weight gain and impacts your psychological health and well-being in a negative way. The diet mentality is dictated by external rules, but Intuitive Eating focuses on attunement and uses direct sensations from your body. Intuitive Eating cultivates self-compassion whereas dieting leads to shame and guilt. It encourages us to pay attention without judgment as we heal our relationship with food. It encourages people to review their dieting history, identify and then get rid of the tools of dieting that they have learned and to explore other hidden forms of dieting.

2. Honor Your Hunger

Principle 2 discusses the role of attunement, which is the ability to observe physical bodily sensations, like hunger, and to remove any obstacles that may get in the way of this attunement. These sensations are not right or wrong, they just give us information and honoring our hunger is critical healing step. For some hunger may be a growling stomach, light-headedness, irritability, low energy, or a dull ache in their throat. Learning to honor your hunger is a path to rebuild trust with yourself and with your relationship with food. The principle also helps us to identify attunement disrupters which can come in on the following ways: distractions, thoughts, rules, beliefs, and lack of self-care.

3. Make Peace With Food

Principle 3 encourages us to give ourselves unconditional permission to eat all foods. Instead of forbidding specific foods, all foods fit which removes the deprivation effect which can lead to bingeing. The principle encourages people to remove all morality from our food choices and to make your choices emotionally equal. It describes the concept of habituation which is being consistently exposed to the same stimulus and overtime the effects reduce and the novelty disappears, whether it is with pizza, chocolate, or pretzels. Dieting impedes habituation and often sets dieters up to engage in the last supper” mentality- bingeing, feeling out of control and full of guilt. This principle legalizes all food and increasing your flexibility with your food choices.

4. Challenge The Food Police

Principle 4 allows us to identify the unreasonable rules that diet-culture has created and that we have internalized and learn to refute these thoughts, judgments, and demands. The first step is to examine our beliefs (which are often distorted), then examine our thoughts and then challenge them by evaluating them and ultimately reframing them. The principle encourages you to approach them with curiosity instead of judgment which helps us to heal and stop negative self-talk. Intuitive Eating is a journey to challenge the food rules that we have internalized from our culture, family, and past dieting to find our innate intuitive eater voice.

5. Feel Your Fullness

Principle 5 encourages us to listen to our body signals and sensations to observe fullness, even pausing in the middle of a meal to identify the tastes of the food and noticing our current fullness level. It discusses barriers to experience fullness, such as distraction and externally based patterns of eating. It helps us to say no and set boundaries to honor our bodies. It encourages us to identify foods that create fullness and satiety. It also helps us to discover our last bite threshold– an endpoint to eating by paying attention to our fullness.

6. Discover The Satisfaction Factor

Principle 6 is about finding pleasure and satisfaction from food. This is often referred to the hub of Intuitive Eating and it is the touchstone for all the other principles. The concept encourages us to eat what is truly satisfying and enjoyable without connecting it to morality which overall improves psychological and biological health. In terms of pleasure consider sensory considerations- tastes, textures, aromas, temperature, appearance, volume and sustaining capacity. The principle also encourages us to practice mindful eating and slowing down during the experience and examining your current eating environment and cultivating a pleasant space.

 7. Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food

Principle 7 teaches us about how to find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve issues without using food. It also helps us to distinguish between emotional eating and non-attuned eating due to deprivation in self-care. It encourages us to identify emotional triggers for eating and to become more aware of our feelings. Then to heal emotional eating by incorporating self-care, nurturance, and compassion in your life, sitting with feelings without acting on emotion driven urges and learning helpful distraction techniques.

8. Respect Your Body 

Principle 8 encourages us to accept our genetics and to treat our bodies with respect. Practicing body respect looks like practicing gratitude, self-care, getting rid of the scale, stopping bodychecking, throwing out old clothes, wearing and buying comfortable clothes that fit your here-and-now body, and stopping comparing yourself to others. It also encourages us to reduce body bashing, negative body talk and to increase positive body-image and body appreciation.

9. Exercise- Feel The Difference

Principle 9 discusses how to intuitively bring movement into your life, focusing on how the movement feels, instead of the calorie-burning impact or fitness benefits. It encourages us to pursue movement that is pleasurable and enjoyable whether it is hula-hooping or walking. It also encourages us to identify the benefits of physical activity and the possible obstacles that may get in the way.

10. Honor Your Health- Gentle Nutrition

Principle 10 focuses on making food choices that honor your health, make you feel satisfied, and feel good in your body. The goal is authentic health which is achieved by connecting messages from your internal body and mind (attunement) and health guidelines and nutrition. The principle reviews food wisdom, nutritional guidelines, the amount you are eating, and satisfaction. It is important to recognize that there is no perfection in nutrition, and we strive for “variety, moderation, and balanced eating “most of” the time.

In Summary, we talked about how you can maintain a healthier lifestyle and diet with these very effective principles from Meredith O’Brien. To find out how you can maintain a healthier lifestyle, here’s an article we wrote.


Carla Ezequiel
Carla Ezequiel is a Philosophy honor graduate with a penchant for editing, proofreading, copywriting and composing articles. She is a passionate person, especially when it comes to the Arts.
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