When you were born, you had a lot of learning to do. Years lay ahead of you, full of lessons to be learned purposely, and lessons to be learned passively. Years of language development, years of navigating social constructs, and of proofs in geometry class and reports in English. But you started, right out of the gate, with certain knowledge. You knew when you were hungry, thirsty, cold or hot, and in need of comfort.
Of all of the things we have learned from birth up until this point, we find ourselves in a position of needing to un-learn. We are bombarded with “nutrition” everywhere we look. The messages are subversive and all-encompassing. Social media, magazines, and TV, as well as comments from friends, family members, and strangers in the parking lot call into question every bite that goes into your mouth.
We never doubt the need to use the restroom. If we are thirsty, we drink. If we are tired, we sleep. So why do we spend so much time questioning, avoiding, and tricking our hunger?
So what does it mean to eat intuitively? It means making a conscious decision to shut down all of the static and get back in touch with your body and the signals that your body sends. Un-learn the message that your body can’t effectively determine your nutrition needs. Ditch the diet and the unhealthy pursuit of a fictitious body ideal.
Can you live your whole life intuitively? Definitely not. There are aspects of life that do need appropriate boundaries: rules of the road for safety, grades to encourage learning, and culture-specific parameters for comfortable social interaction, and of course, the Torah to guide us to know right from wrong. But when we complicate the natural signals invested in us from birth, we encounter a futile battle.