Being healthy without being restrictive
The 10th principle of intuitive eating as outlined in the book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch is gentle nutrition. There is a huge misconception that intuitive eating is anti-health and that just isn’t the case. Foods have different nutritional properties but rather than spending lots of time and energy ensuring that you eat ‘healthy foods’ and restrict ‘non-healthy foods’, you can be driven by how you feel. Nobody feels great eating loads of one food for an extended period. Food is self-limiting. The key is giving yourself permission and remembering that it is the big picture that counts. Health is not a binary decision between a doughnut and an apple. It’s complex, nuanced and influenced by a huge number of factors, most of which are unrelated to nutrition and often out of our conscious control. Variety is always beneficial. When you don’t have rules around food and aren’t worried about trying to shoehorn things into your macros, you have a lot more freedom to explore different foods. This is not only a really enjoyable way to eat because you get to experience a lot of different flavours and textures but is also a great way of ensuring you’re meeting your micronutrient needs without obsessing about it. Flexibility is key. Intuitive eating allows you to choose how, what and when you eat for yourself, rather than this being dictated by an external source. This will look different for everyone and might change day to day, depending on a host of different factors. It also allows you to be spontaneous, like having a piece of cake if you fancy it, without judgement, anxiety or guilt.