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In the first in a aeries of nutrition blogs, Sasha Watkins of The Food Coach examines why how we eat is as important as what we eat.

In this busy world we often focus on what we eat and forget that how we eat is also important. We should aim to getting a better relationship with food and one way to do this is called intuitive eating; listening to our bodies, eating when we are hungry but listening for signs when we have had enough.

Here are 5 tips on intuitive eating

1. Stop dieting - there are so many fad diets around and we often just put the weight back on after we have tried them. This makes us feel worse and we try it all over again with another diet that is destined to fail. Yo Yo dieting, as it is called, is not great for our health, our relationship with food or one's self esteem.

2. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry, find pleasure when you are eating and stop when you are satisfied.

- Trust yourself. Your body has lots of inbuilt mechanisms to tell you when to eat and when to stop. We have just forgotten how to listen.

- Honour your hunger feelings as ignoring them may eventually drive you to over eat.

- Make a truce with food. Stop classing foods as good and bad as there is room for less nutritious foods as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Taking pleasure in the food you eat is linked with satisfaction. The more satisfying a meal, the less food you need to feel like you've had 'enough'.

- Listen for the signs of satisfaction. Pause in the middle of the meal, think about how the food tastes and what is your current fullness level is. Aim to be satisfied and not full!  

3. Don't link feelings with food. Find other ways to honour your feelings that aren't just about food and eating doesn't fix things! Boredom, anxiety, stress and depression are some of the feelings that may trigger us to eat but we would be better off dealing with the source of the emotion instead. 

4. Take pleasure in moving your body. Don't seek out 'exercise', just try to get active and enjoy how you feel afterwards. It doesn't have to be a gym workout for your body to feel better. A dance, a brisk walk, or gardening are all things that can energize us and make us reconnect with our bodies!

5. Make peace with your weight. Stop being critical about your body weight as this often drives us to diet or to over eat in the first place. We all come in a range of different shapes and sizes and learning to love ourselves is an important step in building a better relationship with food.

Movers & Shapers offers a choice of a personalised online nutrition programme or 1-2-1 consultations in studio. For details on how Movers & Shapers can help you with your diet and nutrition, click here.

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