Women smiling while eating with fruits and vegetables in the background.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a science-backed non-diet approach to eating created by registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Intuitive eating revolves around 10 principles that help people re-develop their mind and body connection. In order to develop our mind-body connection, we have to remove barriers created by cultural, societal, age, and gender norms. 

We were all once intuitive eaters as babies and young children until many of us were taught to stop listening to our bodies. 

Intuitive eaters listen carefully to their bodies’ physical and psychological needs without judgment or restriction in order to fully honor their health. Intuitive eaters don’t experience guilt or feelings of being “out of control” around food choices.

Is Intuitive Eating a Hunger-Fullness Diet?

No. Intuitive eating does rely on internal hunger and fullness cues but also focuses on rejecting food rules and honoring our health as a whole. Those who can eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full are not necessarily intuitive eaters.

But, What if I Lose Control?

This is a common concern for intuitive eating. The answer is what if you do? What will be the result? One does not become an intuitive eater overnight. Instead, it’s a long and windy journey. On that journey you might “lose control” at times, or be fearful of truly listening to your body’s needs. However, as you continue to make peace with food and truly listen to your body, the out-of-control feelings will diminish.

The Principles of Intuitive Eating in a Nutshell

1. Reject the Diet Mentality Say no to the diet mindset by rejecting the thoughts and feelings that the next diet will be the “one”. 

2. Honor Your Hunger – Our bodies need energy and nutrients to function. Restrictive diets keep our bodies from being fed the way they need. Food restriction leads to extreme hunger and food obsession causing episodes of overeating and oftentimes feelings of guilt. Honoring hunger helps heal this vicious cycle.

3. Make Peace with Food – Food is not your enemy! The more that we tell ourselves that we can’t have something, the more we want it. When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat, there are no more out of control cravings or feelings of guilt and deprivation. 

4. Challenge the Food Police – Tell your inner policeman to “get out”. Don’t let food rules ruin your life by telling you what you are “allowed” to eat. 

5. Respect Your Fullness – Your body is constantly telling you things, so it’s time to listen up. Listen to and respect your body’s fullness cues.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor – This might be a shocker, but our food should be satisfying! When we eat foods that satisfy us, food turns into a more enjoyable experience that not only enriches our lives but helps us feel content. 

7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness – Humans learn early on that eating is a source of comfort and pleasure. As we age and begin to deal with more difficult emotions, some learn to use food as a way to cope. Unfortunately though, food isn’t always the right answer to negative emotions and sometimes it ends up making us feel worse. Learning when and how to soothe negative emotions with kind coping mechanisms is one way that “out of control” feeling around food can be reduced.

8. Respect Your Body- Give up on unrealistic expectations. Respect all the things that your body allows you to do and be. Stop saying hateful things about your body. You wouldn’t talk to your loved ones that way, so it’s time to stop talking to yourself that way too. 

9. Movement – Feel the Difference – No more dragging yourself to the gym because you “have to”. Instead, discover the movement that you actually enjoy! Focus on how your body feels during and after exercise and use non-weight-based goals to keep you motivated. 

10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition – Honor your health with gentle nutrition. Without the structure of rigid food rules, you have the choice to choose foods that make you feel good and keep your body healthy in the long run. All foods can fit into a diet where you honor your health. 

You can learn more about intuitive eating on Evelyn’s blog here

If you are ready to stop dieting and start your journey towards becoming an intuitive eater, we are here to help you. Book a free discovery call with us here