21 Benefits of Intuitive Eating for Your Everyday Life
The benefits of intuitive eating are qualitative instead of quantitative. Instead of the surface level and clear-cut outcomes like pounds lost, inches “chiseled” or food groups avoided from our dieting days, we measure our success in softer, more nuanced outcomes. Which can be a challenge, because the process can be scary and emotional too.
In time though, you’ll move through the stages of intuitive eating and start to notice astounding benefits, some of which you probably won’t even be expecting.
There are literally hundreds of research studies at this point, showcasing the benefits of intuitive eating like:
Intuitive eaters have lower:
- Disordered eating
- Emotional eating
- Loss-of-control eating
- Binge eating
- Weight bias internalization
- Blood pressure
- Body Dissatisfaction
- Body mass index
And intuitive eaters have been shown to have higher:
- Variety in diet
- Body appreciation
- Body acceptance
- HDL (good cholesterol)
- Pleasure from eating
- Proactive coping skills
- Psychological hardiness
- Unconditional self-regard
- Life satisfaction
… to name a few.
But what does it actually look like to be an intuitive eater? Better blood pressure and cholesterol are great but, what about my day to day life? How are things going to be different for me?
We’re covering this today and more over on the podcast if that’s more of your jam. Check it out here:
We don’t feel that true peace and freedom around food get enough airtime.
There aren’t studies that show just how deeply amazing it is to reclaim a vacation with your kids or be able to relax and enjoy a dinner party. Nobody is measuring the impact of not starting the day crying after trying to jam yourself into skinny jeans from six years ago.
So we’re gonna talk about that today. The benefits of intuitive eating are amazing but, what does that translate to in the everywoman’s actual daily life?
We’ve compiled some of the best benefits of intuitive eating that the team here at Wellness Lately and our clients report after beginning the journey.
And to quote one of our current clients, we’ll call her “A”: “I eat what I want, when I want and it’s really f*cking liberating.”
And hey, if you’re just getting started, our Complete Guide to Intuitive Eating is a great place to dive in and it’s free. Grab your copy here: The Complete Guide to Intuitive Eating
Real Life Benefits of Intuitive Eating (in no particular order)
You no longer begin and end each day going to battle with yourself and your body.
You actually get to be present and enjoy them. They are no longer fraught with worry over eating perfectly or packing or planning. They are no longer extended binges that need recovering from. They are now just time away to enjoy yourself. Even if they involve a bathing suit. It’s 1000% percent more enjoyable to be at the beach if you don’t hate your body and feel debilitatingly self-conscious. Bonus: no post-vacation cleansing necessary.
Similar to vacations, road trips are much easier now that all food is allowed and eating at McDonalds isn’t an existential crisis. It’s hard to be a gluten-free vegan on the road, ya know?
No More Trigger Foods
You can literally have any food in your house or around you and you don’t feel out of control or find yourself binge eating. You’ll realize you’ve had ice cream in the freezer for weeks that you forgot about. Or, if you’re like me, maybe you’ll buy Twizzlers for said road trip and then forget about them ‘cause they weren’t as fun as you remember.
Getting Dressed Doesn’t Make You Cry Every Morning
I used to start my day staring at my closet in a towel dreading the next step. I had nothing that fit or was cute or felt good because I was putting off buying clothes that actually fit and felt cute until I lost weight. So instead, I started every morning feeling like shit and calling myself names. Great way to hype yourself up. Now, everything fits and I like most of it and I also don’t give nearly as many shits anyway. I can throw things on much faster and it’s just like not a thing. Getting dressed not being a thing is so freeing.
What does presence in life actually mean? It means you can actually relax and have fun at the BBQ. The cupcakes aren’t taunting you at the birthday party. Dinner with friends is just dinner with friends, not the emotional equivalent of American Gladiators. You can order whatever you want. Eat it. Enjoy it! And not have to do any weird mental or logistical acrobatics to see it through intact. It’s incredible.
Not just on road trips but in everyday life. You don’t have to measure anything. Or count anything. Or make every meal the perfect caloric density and combinato of macros. You can just eat. As Kimberly says, “It’s okay to just eat a f*cking banana once in a while.”
You can hear your hunger and fullness cues before you get shaky and hangry and before you have to unbutton your pants and lay down. It’s amazing. Because you feel so much better and eating isn’t this dramatic event anymore. I used to bite everyone’s head off because I was so hungry. Or have to lay down because I was so full. I’ve even gone home early from a night out because I felt so gross. No more. Being able to hear and listen to your hunger and fullness cues has a profound impact on your energy, mental clarity and well-being. And most dieters have stunted their ability to do so.
Your tastes can change and you’ll actually know which foods you like and which foods you don’t like. This is great because I wound up realizing I don’t even like some of my binge foods, a real power grab back.
The Absence of Guilt
Author of Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole, likes to say “The only reason to feel guilty over eating is if you killed the chef.” No longer attaching moral judgement to food choices is incredibly freeing. We don’t quite realize how much brain space was used up doing this. Speaking of which….
Do you know how time consuming it is to look up the calories in a ½ cup of blueberries and find the right spot on that app to record it? Do you know how much mental energy it takes to balance macros? Weigh your food? Meticulously plan your meals or Google (again) “is X food keto?” A lot. The answer is a lot. And that’s that much LESS time available to use in a way that actually makes your life better.
As you get reacquainted with your body, you’ll become intimately familiar with it. You’ll know what kind of breakfast leaves you feeling great vs. needing a nap at 10 am. You’ll know which foods really warm you up or calm your belly or give you heartburn. You’ll know how long you can go without a meal or snack and prepare appropriately so you’re not hangry during that 2-hour meeting or at the soccer game, or whatever. You can actually learn to take care of yourself with food in a way that feels good and that requires way less effort. You get to be in charge of what you eat and how you feel instead of intense cravings or ravenous hunger taking over on the reg.
You feel better when you’re eating enough. Being perpetually hungry and unsatisfied is very stressful, and can take a toll on your physical body.
Cravings are Fun
I get excited now when I have a craving, especially when I know I can satisfy it in the near future. Like, the simple pleasure of a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day or a nice bowl of ice cream on the couch. Reclaiming the joy in eating and consciously seeking satisfaction through food is fun. Like, I GET foodies now. I still don’t consider myself one but I get it.
The diet cycle shreds your confidence, so just stopping that can help a lot. But respecting your body, practicing self-compassion, no longer assigning moral judgement to food and, in my opinion, most importantly, no longer perpetually making and breaking promises to yourself is huge. You just have so much more confidence in who you are when you’re not starving yourself. You’re more optimistic and your brain works properly.
More Easy Going Around Food
I cringe at the times I refused foods because I was on some diet. How rude? Or made Joel go to some gross restaurant so I could find gluten-free options when I’m not even celiac. Life is so much easier for me and for the people close to me when I’m not being a pain in the ass about food.
Gen Xers and older Millennials, as a generalization, have some issues with exercise. But when you’re actually doing it to take care of yourself vs. punish yourself or shrink your body, oftentimes you come to look forward to, or even crave it. Which was wild for me.
More Stable Moods
Dieting is hard. The amount of willpower and focus it takes can make one quite snippy. Wild fluctuations in blood sugar can do the same. And deep body shame and self-consciousness can often present as moodiness as well. Not to mention the emotional swings one can go through while dieting. Once you step off of that roller coaster, quite often you’ll just find yourself, in a better, more stable mood more often. It’s the best.
Although, as you go through your refeeding process, sometimes tummy troubles can present themselves, often after time, your IBS symptoms and the like will resolve themselves. Restrictive eating can wreak havoc on our digestive tract. Which is annoying because most diets will tell you they’re the answer to heal your gut. (We’re not talking about actual medical issues here but, still.)
No More Binging, Rebellious Eating, Rebound, Emotional or Last Supper Eating
No more categorical eating at all. Just eating. It’s amazing.
Diet books alone, but also apps, scales, food scales, tupperware, subscriptions, classes, supplements, potions, literal lotions, special foods, procedures, waist trainers, etc., add up over a lifetime. Once you’re at peace with food, you stop wasting so much money on dieters’ tools.
Regular Salad Dressing
Low-fat ranch dressing is the work of the devil. Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice is like dating a guy who’s not funny but has a good job. Life is too short for these things. Too f*cking short.
We hope this incomplete and disorganized list of real life benefits of intuitive eating gives you some hope or inspiration to get started on your diet recovery path. And if you’ve been on it for a while you’ve likely been nodding your head along. Perhaps some have even come to mind that we left off (dm us over on instagram).
The truth of the matter is that healing your relationship with food and your body will result in deep, qualitative improvements to your everyday life. And as Maunie recently shared, it might even result in the happiness you’d been chasing through dieting all that time.
If you’d like to experience all of this and more, perhaps it’s time to book a Breakthrough Session with us and get going on your own journey to food freedom. We promise it will be worth it.
And if you’re not quite ready for actual voice on voice contact just yet, get started with our free master class instead. 5 Shifts to End Binge Eating.