Intuitive Eating During Menopause - Give Up Dieting For Good


Intuitive Eating is the name coined by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their groundbreaking book of the same name.

So many women put themselves through the relentless cycle of going on and off diets, sometimes losing some weight, but always putting it back on, often ending up even heavier than when they started out.

What's worse, the diet/binge cycle can leave you feeling like a total failure, furious with your lack of willpower and guilty because you didn't stick to your self-imposed regime. This is why using slimming diets as a route to menopause weight loss is such a bad idea.

It's all horribly negative, but thankfully intuitive eating is the key to breaking away from this demoralising cycle, and building a new and positive relationship with food.

Once you do that, weight issues start to manage themselves. By adopting a whole new approach to food, you break the pattern of overeating for good. Your excess weight gradually slips away, and you feel healthier in mind and body than ever before. It's a great approach - read on, to find out how intuitive eating works.

What Is Intuitive Eating?

Mature woman happily enjoying cake

In their book, Intuitive Eating, Tribole and Esch describe in great detail the 10 principles of their approach.

This is the interdependent set of ideas that you need to follow to change your relationship with food. It all makes perfect sense, and the book explains the approach clearly, with plenty of case histories and examples.

This is a powerful approach which can be extremely effective if you let yourself go with it. Eating this way really can change your whole attitude to food, and make a huge difference to the way you eat from now on.

Here's an outline of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, with a brief description of each one. If you're interested in trying this approach, you'll want to read the whole book, and refer to it often.

  • 1 Reject the diet mentality Say goodbye to dieting for ever. Stop reading diet books and mags, feel angry at their promises that have cause you so much grief, let go of the idea that any new miracle diet can change your life.
  • 2 Honor your hunger Nourish your body well. Listen, when your rumbling tum tells you that you need to eat. This one's very important for perimenopausal women, who can benefit from having small, regular meals, and shouldn't let their hunger build.
  • 3 Make peace with food Give yourself full permission to eat any food you fancy. Nothing is banned, nothing is 'good' or 'bad'. When you follow this idea along with the other principles, you lose the fear that you'll never have certain foods again, so there's no motivation to binge.
  • 4 Challenge the Food Police Turn off that voice in your head that's telling you to take your hands off the chocolate cake because it's 'naughty'. Developing a healthier mindset is a big part of the whole process of intuitive eating, and one that feels wonderfully liberating.
  • 5 Feel your fullness Learn to recognise when you're full, and stop eating. Think about how you feel as you eat, and become aware of what your body is telling you.
  • 6 Discover the satisfaction factor Eating the food that you desire, in a pleasant, non-guilty way, is one of life's simple pleasures. Recognise and act upon this, and you'll discover that you don't need excessive amounts of food to get the full enjoyment.
  • 7 Cope with emotions without using food This principle ties into idea about how to stop emotional eating. Food is not a solution to emotional problems, it's merely a short term comforter. Work out how you are feeling, and seek better, more constructive ways of nurturing yourself and resolving emotional issues.
  • 8 Respect your body Begin to accept the body you have, and stop comparing yourself with every other woman you see.
  • 9 Exercise and feel the difference Bring more activity into your life, and relish the feelings it brings. Instead of fixating on how many calories you're burning, think about how great it feels to stretch your limbs, how energized you feel after you've walked, swum or done a few strength training exercises. Let those enjoyable sensations be your motivator...not the drive to lose weight.
  • 10 Honor your health Base your menopause diet on nutritious and healthy foods. Eat a wide range of fresh, unprocessed foods. As you start to eat more of these, you'll find that junk foods are less appealing. You can still eat them, when that's what you really want. Intuitive eating is not about deprivation, but about savouring food and eating it mindfully.

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The greed challenge

"One of the main struggles I've had with intuitive eating is grappling with the challenge of satiety versus greed...

"It is easy to kid yourself that you are not yet full, and therefore want to eat more, because you actually are just being greedy.

But it is hard to accept this less desirable trait in ourselves (and sometimes, for me, easier to blame it on something like 'emotional eating')."

From Andrea Wern's blog, www.chocolateandbeyond.co.uk.


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