Diets are all about restriction. Someone hands you a meal or a diet book that lays out a specific plan of what you can eat, when you can eat it, how much you should eat and how long you should follow this set of “rules” in order to reach your goal . The problem with this is once the diet is “over”, the weight has a tendency to come back, because there is no longer a road map to follow.

You may have read or hear the terms “intuitive eating” and “mindful eating”. These terms are often used interchangeably and while they are related, they are also different. Both however are key to finally getting off the diet roller coaster.

Intuitive eating is eating based on your physiological hunger and satiety signals and not based on situations and emotions. Mindful eating is about paying attention to the act of eating, without judgment. It is an important step on your journey to becoming an intuitive eater. When you eat mindfully, you are more aware of your eating habits, the sensations you experience when you eat, the taste, texture, and aroma of the food, and the thoughts and emotions that you have about food. It is more about how you eat than what you eat.

Many of the issues that dieters face come from a lack of tuning into certain feelings and cues while eating. Then they punish themselves for overeating and move on to another diet with a new set of restrictions.

There are 3 crucial steps that you need to take in order to become an intuitive eater. First, you need to develop a non-diet mindset; second, you need caring support and third, you need to honor your body. No form of dieting is going to work for you to lose the weight and keep it off. These three steps are critical in order to be freed of dieting forever.

Step one: Shifting into a non-diet mindset is all about rejecting the diet mentality. You likely have a list of “good” and “bad”, or “legal” or “Illegal” foods that you can or can not eat. This sets you up for feelings of deprivation and occasional overeating on those foods you have driven yourself of. Throwing out those lists and the diets you have in your home will set your commitment to a diet-free way of life.

Step two: Building a strong support network is important to help cheer you along. Equally important, if not more important, is the aspect of self-care. You must take care of your basic needs if you expect to be able to tune into your inner signs. Take time for yourself, get enough sleep, and schedule play time into your busy day.

Step three: Honoring your body by tuning into your thoughts, feelings and signals. This means really listen for your hunger signals and your fullness signals and let those signals guide your eating at each and every meal.

The process of learning to become an intuitive and mindful eater is a journey. It is about taking steps towards becoming someone you love inside and out. It will end your search for the next diet miracle because it is through intuitive and mindful eating that you will find your destination: a body you love and that you can maintain forever without dieting.