Intuition is one of the most underutilised and underestimated tools you have.
Everyone has access to it, no exceptions.
From a research point of view, intuition is broken down into three different types: Implicit Knowledge, Energetical Sensitivity, and Non-local Intuition.
Implicit knowledge links to anything we have done so many times that it becomes second nature and a subconscious process. Energetical sensitivity comes into play when we are sensitive to the energy or environment around us, which helps to pick up on subtle shifts and changes, e.g. a change in weather or an earthquake coming.
But you really have the most fun with the non-local intuition. As the Heart Math Institute describes it, non-local intuition comes from ‘out of space and time’. That is what I call and refer to when I talk about intuition. That is THE intuition.
Intuition is widely-researched and utilised these days, often in business settings. You can learn more about intuition in my Free Guide to Intuition & Intuitive Eating. (Get it here).
But not many of us are familiar with the concept of using it to guide our food choices.
So how can intuition affect cravings?
Well, cravings and body needs are often confused and tied together. While they are two completely different things, we often give in to the craving and ignore our body actual needs!
So before you can jump into intuitive eating, you have to understand what cravings are.
To simplify, cravings can come from two places. One is when you have an unhealthy craving and the second type is when your body needs something, you will crave it. Ever been pregnant and eaten tonnes of oranges? Well, that’s your body stocking up on Vitamin C. Ever craved steak or liver? There is a big chance your body needs some extra iron.
But what happens when you crave chocolate, sweets, pizza and/or ice cream?
Does that mean your body needs it as well?
That is very unlikely. There are a few options here, and ideally, each should be analysed or assessed intuitively on a separate basis. But since you don’t have all the time in the world to read it, I oversimplify to avoid boring you to death.
Three Types of Cravings
First and most often the case with cravings, especially with sweets and plain carbs, will be that you have an addiction to sugar, a gut microbiome imbalance, a need for energy or all of them together.
The other option is the fact that you are not actually hungry, you are eating because of habit, boredom or eating to fulfil emotional needs, which food cannot truly fill!
Are you an emotional eater? Do you open your fridge or treats cupboard when you really need a hug or chat with someone?
The third situation regarding cravings arises as a side effect of consuming non-food items. Because in reality, most of the heavily-processed ‘foods’ are not foods at all. They are food-like products. Did you know that drinking diet soft drinks will make you feel more thirsty, and mess up your body receptors, making you overeat?
So yes, when you are reaching for diet cola to pick the ‘healthier’ version, you are actually exposing your body to sweeteners and chemicals which mess with your body’s natural ability to regulate satiety. And that, in turn, makes you overeat. That's just one effect of these types of food-like products. Just saying, don’t blame the messenger.
Does that mean that you have to stop everything you are doing and regiment your foods and lifestyle? Not really, but recognising the difference between a craving and a body need is crucial.
That’s why employing your intuition to help can make your life much easier.
What is Intuitive Eating?
In simple words, intuitive eating is the use of intuition to guide your food choices.
Because as your bio-individuality, seasons, energy expenditure and practically everything in your life constantly changes, so do your body needs.
That’s why diets don’t really work and why we cannot always learn and analyse every single option. It's just too much.
Using intuition cuts through the noise and gets you to what you really need to know or choose at a given moment.
Intuition will always have your best interests at heart. It will guide you to what your body needs to be nourished and support your best health and well-being.
Intuition is never wrong, we simply don’t hear it sometimes, ignore it or don’t quite know how to differentiate it from thoughts.
Because let me be clear, while our mind is amazing, intuition never comes from the mind. It comes from a much deeper, purer place.
If you want to learn more about intuition, check out my ‘Intuition Explained | What is Intuition? | Science, Benefits and Practice’ Video on YouTube.
Intuition is like any other muscle. We are born with it, but it has to be practised to get stronger. We have to learn to hear it.
If you have not used your intuition for a while, you may need to start lightly and with some simple questions.
I highly recommend avoiding emotionally-loaded questions to start with, as that will bring up emotions, emotional baggage, fear or limiting beliefs. With all that it will be harder to hear your true intuition.
To learn to eat intuitively, you have to connect with your intuition first. To make intuitive eating easy it needs to become second nature to you. It can happen faster than you think.
An Intuitive Eating Practice
Pick a question you want to get an intuitive answer to, e.g. should I have meat or fish for today’s dinner? Or should I have a green salad or warm earthy salad for my lunch?
Take a deep breath through your nose, deep into your stomach.
Drop your attention into your heart space.
Think about your question.
Should I choose ‘option one’ or ‘option two’?
What is coming up? Which option feels quiet and light?
Which feels loud and restrictive?
Intuition will often be quiet. Always light, open, like a breath of fresh air.
Play with it, introduce different questions, keep practising.
After some time the images, ideas and feelings about what will best nourish you will come automatically, without you even having to ask.
If you prefer guided meditation, check out my YouTube video ‘Intuition Meditation (short) | Improve Intuition | Guided Practice To Connect With Your Intuition.
Trust Your Intuition. Trust Yourself.
About the Author:
Holistic Health & Intuition Coach
Check out my scheduling page for workshops on Intuitive Eating and more.