Intuitive Eating and the Always Hungry Solution (AH)
Let’s take a look at the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating and how our AH Program approaches each of these. I find that these principles happen to also be guiding principles that form the foundation of a healthy practice and AH Way of Living.
Reject the Diet Mentality
Create a way of living that you love and that supports you. With AH, you use science to EMPOWER your body rather than to shame it.
The oversimplified weight loss mentality of “eating less and moving more” has created a counterproductive culture of restriction, punishment, and stigma. This mentality blames and shames us for our inability to stick to “a diet”. Ultimately, it leaves us hopeless. AH encourages you to reject this path of torturing yourself to lose weight. In fact, we believe that the path to health starts with nourishing your body as you take the focus off the scale.
In addition, the science behind AH shows you that your hunger, cravings, and intuition around food choices are more about your biology than your willpower. This liberates you from shame, blame, and guilt. It means that it’s not your fault that you want to eat that bag of chips or cookies. It helps you reject the idea that you are flawed or lacking. Then you can then begin to understand how to work with your body rather than against it.
When nourished and honored, your body can be a trustworthy ally on the road to metabolic health instead of a foe that you must “whip into shape”.
Honor Your Hunger
The Always Hungry Solution (AH) encourages you to nourish your body to health with luscious, enjoyable foods that fuel your body to function at OPTIMUM capacity. You eat satisfying meals and snacks every day without vilifying carbs or fat. You’ll notice that some days you will need several snacks, other days, you may need none, but you can honor what your body tells you. It is important to eat when you are hungry without guilt or shame.
Once you understand the biological factors that lead to hunger, cravings, and overeating (See Always Hungry? chapters 1-3), you TAKE BACK CONTROL. You retrain your body to be more trustworthy by eating in a way that allows you to fully metabolize the food you eat. Only then can your body be effective at intuitively telling you what it really needs, and then you can:
- Forget calories, focus on quality, and let your body do the rest.
- Move away from the debilitating state of hunger and deprivation.
- Enable your body to give you reliable signals
- Effectively Honor Your Hunger.
- Recognize hunger as a legitimate mechanism of a body trying to protect itself
- Get curious about what is causing your hunger.
Make Peace with Food
Remember Chef Dawn’s AH rule #1: Be Gentle on Yourself and Others.
No need to vilify any foods or food groups. Think of food as a tool in the ongoing experiment to learn what YOUR body needs and realize that those needs can change. In addition, remember that your body is unique and might not have the same needs and reactions as someone else’s body. Stay open and compassionate. Give yourself permission to nourish your body well so that you no longer fall into the trap of uncontrollable cravings, bingeing, and guilt.
Challenge the Food Police
Chef Dawn’s AH Rule #2: No judgment, just learning.
Separate who you are from the food choices you make by letting go of being “good” or “bad”. Whatever you choose to eat, do so with the intention to learn and enjoy rather than to judge. Even with foods you’ve been told “aren’t healthy for you”, eat what you choose and enjoy every bite. If you find it doesn’t support your body, then make a different choice next time.
Shame, blame, and guilt won’t get you to a healthy place. Leave them at the door and reject them when they show up from society or anyone else who wants to impose them on you.
Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Chef Dawn’s AH Rule #3: If it’s not delicious, it’s not worth it.
No matter what you choose to eat, do it with full enjoyment. Love every bite and leave shame, blame, and guilt at the door.
Create a life worth living that incorporates delicious food, robust health, and the freedom of choice. Know that eating in a way that supports your life is an achievable path even if it might not look like the strict, straight line you once thought.
Feed your soul as well as your body. There are so many reasons why we eat. Approach your choices with curiosity, compassion, and full acceptance.
Feel Your Fullness
AH teaches that If you are hungry, then eat! Learn what Japanese concept of “Hara Hachi Bu” – “80% full” feels like and aim for that. If you are still hungry an hour or more later, have a snack.
When your metabolism is working with you rather than against you, then you can trust your hunger and satiety to guide you more effectively. If you want more on the mechanisms that keep your metabolism working with you and your brain out of a state of starvation see Always Hungry? Chapter 3.
Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
First, go back to Chef Dawn’s AH rule #1: Be Gentle on Yourself and Others.
Then you can allow yourself to separate Biological Hunger from Emotional Hunger and work on each separately with compassion.
Are you hungry because your fat cells are hoarding too many calories and not allowing your brain to function? Or are your cravings coming from emotional sources? Yes, emotional eating and disordered eating are real, however, you might be surprised how many of these “cravings” were, in fact, biological responses to a body that was overfed and starving at the same time.
Respect Your Body
The AH Way of Eating encourages you to love your body just as it is! We encourage you to focus on how you FEEL versus how you LOOK.
Eating well is about nourishing your body in a way that supports you to do all the things you love. It’s about honoring this amazing vessel we are given to live in. Metabolic health is the key here and that comes in all shapes and sizes.
Movement—Feel the Difference
The point of exercise is NOT to burn calories or to incur pain. Shift from the concept of Militant Exercise to one of finding movement that you love. Joyful Movement should energize you, enhance your metabolic health, increase your motivation, and make you feel great.
Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition
AH inspires you to Honor Your Long-term Health
This means that how you eat over a period of time is more important than what you eat at a meal or two. Find your direction and realize that the path to health is often a crooked path. Don’t be derailed by a moment in time. Keep your vision on the long game.
Find a way of eating that you love and that is sustainable for YOU!
With AH, you can NOURISH YOUR BODY TO HEALTH by eating delicious, satisfying foods that work with your biology rather than against it.