Intuitive eating

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Today, society has formatted us to respect dietary rules, to follow all kinds of diets to lose weight… So much so that we are not at all attentive to our needs. bodily. We will thus sweep away daily preconceived ideas and see how intuitive eating can help us.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

The “Set point”

THE ” Set point » or balance weight corresponds to the weight for which we are genetically programmed. It can vary by more or less a few kilos depending on our lifestyle, but also depending on the diets we follow. In fact, the more you diet, the more your balance weight increases. We must therefore understand that we do not choose our weight and that our balance weight unfortunately does not always correspond to our expectations. We must then accept this weight for which we are predestined. Trying to get below that break-even weight would be a daily struggle.

How to reach your “set point”? We must trust our regulatory mechanisms by opting for a intuitive eating.

What is “intuitive eating”?

Intuitive eating corresponds to listening to our hunger and satiety signals but also to listening to our desires. This will allow the body to reach its balance weight gradually and sustainably.

  • What is hunger ? Hunger is manifested by bodily signals such as hollowness in the stomach or gurgling sounds, indicating a need for energy. Whatever we eat when we are hungry will not make us gain weight if we stop until we are full. We must therefore not flee hunger, it is our ally! Not to be confused with the desire to eat which has a psychological and not a physiological aspect.
  • What is specific appetite ? Listening to your desires to eat when you are hungry is very important since this will allow us to best meet our nutritional needs. Indeed, we will then be attracted to foods containing nutrients that our body needs. This is called “specific appetite”. This means that we may no longer be hungry for one type of food but instead be hungry for another food.
  • What is satiety ? It corresponds to the moment when hunger disappears, that is to say when you have given your body what it needs. At that moment we feel good and we no longer want anything. In order to be able to observe satiety, I invite you to take the time to taste and chew your meal well. In fact, the feeling of satiety arrives after 20 minutes on average. Eating too quickly often leads to eating more than we need. If you feel heavy after a meal, it means you ate too much. So don’t force yourself to finish your plate, stop when the pleasure is no longer there.

Eating without hunger or exceeding the threshold of satiation too often can lead to weight gain.

If you are above your “set point” the feeling of hunger will not be very intense and satiety will arrive quickly. By listening to your eating sensations you will eat less and gradually reach your balanced weight.

Conversely, if you are below your “set point”, the feeling of hunger will be more significant and regular because your body wants to increase your weight to the balance weight.

family brunch

Our society: “preceived ideas”

So you can see things differently, here are some persistent food beliefs:

  • You should not skip meals »: As I explained to you above, eating above your needs can cause you to gain weight. Eating a meal when you are not hungry is therefore not functional since the body does not need energy at that time. It is precisely the fact of eating all your meals without paying attention to the feeling of hunger that can make you gain weight. So if you are not hungry at a meal it is wiser not to eat and wait until you are hungry.
  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day »: Many people force themselves to eat breakfast in the morning. But in reality is it really necessary? Well no, if you’re not hungry in the morning, there’s no need to eat.
  • You should not eat between meals »: If you are hungry why not eat? On the contrary, if you try to fight against hunger, it risks being too great when the meal arrives, pushing you to eat very quickly and often in too large quantities. Conversely, if you are not hungry but really want to eat something (to calm an emotion for example), I advise you to respond to your desire. Eating will relieve you and you will adapt the next meal according to your hunger. All without frustration or weight gain!
  • You need to drink water to stave off hunger between meals. »: Hunger is a signal that indicates an energy need. Drinking water to to satisfy one’s hunger has no interest since the organization did not get what it wanted. The risk is therefore to be frustrated and to be too hungry at the next meal.
  • Fats make you gain weight and vegetables make you lose weight” or “You should not eat starchy foods in the evening »: Each food group has a role in our body, no group should be deleted. No food is more fattening than another as long as it is eaten out of hunger. Which means that eating a salad or soup when you’re not hungry can cause you to gain weight. Conversely, a pizza eaten out of hunger and stopped when full will not make you gain weight.

All these preconceived ideas make us miss our real needs. Favoring intuitive eating will allow you to regulate your weight. However, we must not forget the notion of pleasure! Weight is not regulated over a single meal but over a week.