Hormone changes during menopause can cause a lot of different physical and emotional symptoms. Many women focus on “dieting” to lose weight or to deal with their symptoms.
However, intuitive eating is a more whole-person approach that can help women feel more in charge and in control during this time of change.
Instead of following strict or yo-yo diets, intuitive eating is a way to feed your body that focuses on listening to and trusting your body’s signals. It is a flexible and caring way to help women deal with their menopause symptoms and improve their overall health and well-being.
Let’s take a look at several ways intuitive eating empowers women during menopause and how you can start implementing this approach in your life today.
What’s Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a way of thinking about food and eating while listening to your body and meeting its needs. It means giving up rules and restrictions about food that come from the outside and focusing instead on internal signals like hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.
The approach is based on the idea that our bodies are smart enough to know what to eat and how much, and that we should trust and listen to those signals.
Studies have shown that intuitive eaters have a better view of their bodies, a lower rate of eating disorders, and better mental health. Similarly, intuitive eating has been linked to less inflammation and a better metabolism.
People can develop a healthier and more positive relationship with food and their bodies by letting go of external rules and restrictions and instead focusing on what their bodies are telling them.
But is intuitive eating right for menopausal women?
For women going through menopause, intuitive eating can help them recover from years of dieting, deal with possible changes in their bodies, and take a broader, more holistic view of health.
People at this age find it hard to stay in touch with their bodies for a number of reasons. But if you know how menopause causes weight gain, you’ll know why intuitive eating can help you during this time.
Intuitive eating can help you manage menopausal symptoms by focusing on what you can add to or change on your plate rather than what you should avoid or remove. In this case, putting limits on things usually does more harm than good. The best way to help with menopause is to eat in a balanced way overall.
We miss many health opportunities by focusing on weight. We forget that when we take care of ourselves, eat healthy, exercise, and pay attention to all aspects of our lives, we can lose weight.
Menopause is not the time to start calorie restrictions. As you age, your digestion suffers, so you need more nutrients! This means you need to get along well with food and not fight with it. Don’t think of food as something that is either good or bad. Think of it as something you enjoy that gives you energy, and keeps you healthy. This will help ease all of the menopause symptoms that are making your life so hard right now.
READ ALSO: 20 Foods to Eat (or Avoid) During Menopause
How Intuitive Eating Empowers Women During Menopause
1. Helps manage weight
Weight gain is a common symptom of menopause, and many women struggle with their changing bodies during this time. Women can control their weight with intuitive eating because it helps them have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.
Instead of following strict diets and counting calories, women who eat intuitively can tune into their hunger and fullness signals and eat in a way that feels good and healthy.
Focusing on nourishing your body and listening to what it needs can help you deal with the hormonal changes and fluctuations that happen during this time.
2. Reduces stress and emotional eating
Due to hormone changes and other changes in their lives, women may feel more stressed and eat more when they are upset. With intuitive eating, you are encouraged to notice and acknowledge your feelings without using food as a way to cope.
When you practice intuitive eating, you can easily identify emotional triggers. Mindfulness and emotional awareness can also help you recognize emotional eating triggers and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
Similarly, instead of comforting yourself with food, intuitive eating suggests journaling, talking to a friend, or relaxing with yoga or meditation.
With intuitive eating, you focus on being kind and compassionate to yourself. You can cope with menopause and reduce your food dependence by being kind to yourself.
3. Improves body image
During menopause, women may feel less confident about their bodies because their weight and shape may change. Intuitive eating can help women feel better about their bodies by encouraging them to think positively and accept themselves as they are.
Women over 50 can start to love their bodies for what they are and focus on their health and well-being when they give up the idea that there is a “perfect” body or weight.
When you practice intuitive eating during menopause, you can focus on the things you like about your body instead of the things you don’t. This can help you change your mind and feel better about your body.
Instead of focusing on how they look, intuitive eating tells women to celebrate their bodies for what they can do, like get them through the day or let them do fun things.
READ ALSO: Ways To Deal With Menopause Weight Gain
4. Boosts self-esteem
During menopause, women may also feel less attractive or capable than they used to. This can cause their self-esteem to drop. Intuitive eating can help boost self-esteem by giving you a sense of power and self-trust.
Women can feel more confident in their ability to take care of themselves if they listen to their bodies and choose foods that make them feel good and are good for them.
5. Nourishes your body with a balanced diet
Intuitive eating encourages women to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods without labeling them “good” or “bad.” Women can maintain a healthy weight and get the nutrients they need during menopause with this approach.
Listening to your body’s needs is easy with intuitive eating. You can eat to meet your body’s energy and nutrient needs by listening to your hunger and fullness cues.
It lets you enjoy all foods and helps you build a healthy, balanced diet without feeling deprived. You can improve your health and menopause symptoms by eating foods that make you feel good and support your health.
6. Helps you stay active
Physical activity is important for easing the symptoms of menopause and keeping your health in general in good shape. Intuitive eating encourages women to exercise to feel good and support their bodies rather than to lose weight.
When you practice intuitive eating, you’re more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you enjoy it. You will be able to pay attention to your body’s signals and adjust your activity level to avoid overexertion or injury.
Then, you’ll try walking during lunch or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get more exercise.
The Principles of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is a way of thinking about food and eating that focuses on listening to your body’s internal cues, like hunger and fullness, and meeting your body’s needs.
Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch came up with the principles of intuitive eating, which are explained in their book “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works.”
Here are the ten main principles of intuitive eating:
- Reject the diet mentality: There is no “perfect” diet or meal plan that will solve all your problems. Instead, listen to your body and its needs.
- Honor your hunger: Pay attention to the cues your body sends you. Eat when you feel the need to do so.
- Make peace with food: Don’t judge what you eat as “good” or “bad.” Instead, give yourself permission to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
- Challenge the food police: Reject the inner and outer critics who make you feel guilty for eating what you like.
- Respect your fullness: Recognize your body’s signs of fullness. Stop eating when you’ve had enough food to satisfy your hunger without feeling stuffed.
- Discover the satisfaction factor. Think about how the food makes you feel and how it affects your mood and overall health as you eat it.
- Honor your feelings without using food: Master the art of coping with your emotions without turning to food for solace.
- Respect your body: You owe it to yourself to respect your body, to accept it just the way it is, and to express gratitude for everything it does for you.
- Exercise to feel good:
- Do physical activity because it makes you happy and is good for both your body and your mind, not because you want to lose weight.
- Honor your health by eating in a gentle way: Choose foods that improve your mood. Don’t worry about being perfect or adhering to any rules you set for yourself.
Intuitive eating is an empowering way to deal with menopause symptoms and improve your health and well-being as a whole. You can confidently handle menopause by following intuitive eating principles and nourishing your bodies and minds.
During this transitional period, you can deal with menopausal symptoms by promoting a healthy relationship with food and your bodies.
If you want to learn more about intuitive eating, consult a registered dietitian or therapist. They can help you create an intuitive eating plan and support you during this life transition.