Intuitive Eating: How Tuning Your Relationship with Food Can Change Your Life Forever

Excerpted from Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki + Self-Care to Heal Burnout, Anxiety and Stress by Kelsey J. Patel, reprinted with author’s permission. Copyright © 2020 by Kelsey J. Patel.

I’m someone who loves to eat. I will regularly have a pizza with my kids or a dinner out with friends with wine and dessert, but I also know when my body is craving clean, natural food or I need a break from overindulging. Sometimes I can tell I just need to keep things simpler. I’ve learned to do this through intuitive eating. Here’s how you can try this natural way of tuning your relationship with food.


Every time you are ready to eat, sit quietly for a moment before eating even one bite. Remind yourself there is no rush. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Get to a calm space, then gently ask your body: What is the best meal for my body right now?

RELATED: Mealtime Meditation: 15 Minutes for Mindful Eating

Wait for the answer. You might also ask: Will this food nourish me right now? Wait for the answer. Remind yourself that there is no rush. When you have an answer, open your eyes and, maintaining a feeling of inner peace and calm, prepare your meal.

If the answer is that you don’t need food right now, ask your body: What do I really need or want right now? You may feel that your mind wants a distraction from something you’ve been procrastinating about or don’t want to do, you’re seeking some sort of reward, or you are trying to avoid facing or admitting to a feeling. Notice what it feels like beneath that false hunger. If you determine that the cause is something other than real hunger, stay in this place of focus and self-care. Let yourself take time to find an answer. Do you need to feel a feeling instead of pushing it down?

RELATED: The Step-by-Step Guide to Mindful Eating

This is something to work on over time. It might feel difficult at first, but know that whenever you give in to the urge to eat when you aren’t really hungry—but just don’t want to feel your feelings—you will reinforce the message that food is an emotional crutch, rather than the beautiful, vibrant source of physical energy it really is. Instead of eating when you aren’t hungry, turn to any of the practices in this or the next two chapters (or any of the rituals in part 3).

Excerpted from Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki + Self-Care to Heal Burnout, Anxiety and Stress by Kelsey J. Patel, reprinted with author’s permission. Copyright © 2020 by Kelsey J. Patel.


Kelsey Patel is one of LA’s leading wellness and reiki experts, and an expert in burnout. A spiritual coach, Reiki master, and wellness expert, Kelsey has helped thousands struggling with burnout and anxiety. Kelsey worked on Capitol Hill in the U.S. Senate for 4.5 years and as Director of crisis PR for a Fortune 500 company for several years prior to discovering Reiki as a last resort for her stress-induced back pain. Kelsey’s own journey has led her to help many others find balance and burn bright instead of burning out.  Her teachings and practices, along with private client work to some of Hollywood’s biggest names, have been highlighted in various publications such as The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, US Weekly, SELF Magazine, Bustle, Well + Good, Marie Claire, GOOP, the Chalkboard Magazine and more. Her public workshops, corporate seminars and private coaching are all aimed at helping people bring joy, balance, fulfillment and purpose to their daily lives and work.  She is previously the owner of Pure Barre Beverly Hills, where she learned first hand the intricacies of owning and operating a business. She is now the owner of the Magik Vibes product line, and host of the podcast of the same name. She is also the co-host of the podcast Breakup With Your Bullshit, alongside Ryan Weiss. Her first book, Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki + Self-Care to Heal Burnout, Anxiety and Stress, released on April 28, 2020 and is available now. 

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