The ideal way to manage your food intake is to only eat when you’re hungry and to stop when you feel comfortably full.
Seems like common sense doesn’t it. But decades of fad diets have thoroughly confused us when it comes to the simple act of eating.
Adding to the evidence that the best diet is actually no diet at all is a recent study of more than 50,000 participants that showed a correlation between those who ate intuitively and lower rates of overweight and obesity.
It sounds so simple, but unfortunately there’s many other factors – like our emotions – that come into play when we talk about eating.
So how do you learn to listen to your intuition and develop a better relationship with food?
One of the first things you can do is to say no to dieting. The majority of people who go on a diet put the weight back on in the long term. Restricting your food intake, counting calories, or labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is not a sustainable, or enjoyable, way to live.
Instead, make the effort to listen to your body. Though we’re programmed to think that certain times of the day mean we must eat, it’s important to recognise when you’re truly hungry and eat accordingly.
When you do eat do it slowly, as it can take up to 20 minutes for your body to recognise that you’re full.
It’s also important to learn to actually enjoy your food. Many of us are not aware of how switched off we are when we eat.
Think about it, how many times have you sat down on the couch with some chips or chocolate and demolished a whole bag without even realising? We may really enjoy the first few mouthfuls, but after that it just becomes an automatic action.
Instead, take the time to actually enjoy the delicious taste of each mouthful and you’ll feel more satisfied and will be less likely to over consume.
For those that struggle with emotional eating it’s best to seek help to address the cause of the emotions so you’re less likely to use food as a coping strategy.