What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is making headlines as a non-diet approach to health. But what does this really mean? As a non-diet approach, you won’t see calorie counts, food restrictions, or weigh-ins (sigh of relief). Instead, intuitive eating guides you back to internal cues around hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and food preference.
Introduction to Intuitive Eating
Intuitive Eating is an integrative mind-body approach to honor your health. It is comprised of 10 principles that help you listen to your body, develop body respect, and implement nutrition for the right reasons. Emphasis is placed on the cultivation of health-promoting behaviors versus weight control.
The 10 Principles
- Ditch the Diet Mentality
- Honor Your Hunger
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Feel Your Fullness
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
- Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food
- Respect Your Body
- Exercise–Feel the Difference
- Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition
Intuitive Eating encompasses a wide breadth of health-promoting behaviors. It’s not just about food. It’s also about honoring your emotions, cultivating self-compassion, finding joyful forms of movement, and making peace with your natural body. Learn more here.
Intuitive Eating Research
The book was first published in 1995 by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Since then, multiple research studies have supported the benefits of Intuitive Eating on physical and emotional health.
Positive biological health indicators (1):
- reduced body mass index
- lower triglycerides
- improved HDL (good cholesterol)
- reduced overall risk for heart disease
Positive emotional health indicators (2):
- increased body satisfaction
- higher self-esteem
- better optimism
- strengthened awareness
Traditional weight loss programs are unsustainable over the long-term and weight regain is common. Diets based on deprivation promote psychological distress and unhealthy eating behaviors (3).
Conversely, Intuitive Eating programs have higher completion rates and are sustainable over the long-term. (3)
Intuitive Eating FAQs
Who is it for?
In short, this framework is beneficial for anyone. It’s inclusive of every body shape and size. This framework is particularly powerful for people who have been hopping from diet to diet without resolve. However, you don’t have to have a history of dieting to benefit from it. If you’re curious about nourishing your body, connecting to your intuition, and furthering your self-growth and discovery, intuitive eating is for you.
What will I learn from the framework?
Exploring your health through the lens of intuitive eating will teach you so much about yourself! The possibilities are endless, but you may learn more about:
- Why diets don’t work and how to break up with the sneaky diet messages
- Listening to your hunger and fullness cues
- The why behind your food choices and voices driving eating behaviors
- Building meals and snacks without sacrificing taste, flavor, and satisfaction
- Non-scale measures of health and monitoring progress versus perfection
- How to shift self-talk to positive and treat your body with respect
- Enjoying foods without guilt, shame, or deprivation
- Discovering joyful forms of movement/exercise
What if I’m not ready to take the plunge into the 10 principles?
Honor where you are now. It’s okay to feel a little nervous to lean into intuitive eating and you’re not alone! We’re all bombarded with advertisements that sell dieting and tell us what, when, and how to eat the “right” way. Choosing an alternative viewpoint than the one you’ve been exposed to may feel scary at first. But over time, you’ll discover that the intuitive eater has always existed inside you. Take it one step at a time. Just by reading this article you are taking a step!
Looking for More Support?
Download your free 5-Step Guide to Eat Intuitively!