What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based, mind-body health approach, comprised of 10 Principles and created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995.
The principles work by either cultivating or removing obstacles to body awareness, a process known as interoceptive awareness.
Essentially, Intuitive Eating is a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs.
What is NOT Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is not a diet or food plan. It’s a journey of self-discovery and connection to the needs of your mind and body.
There is nothing to count: this includes no counting of calories, carbs, points, or macros.
Ultimately, you are the expert on your body. Only you know what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feel like. Only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
#1 Reject the Diet Mentality
Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.
If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it might prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
# 2 Honour Your Hunger
Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.
Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant.
Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust with yourself and food.
# 3 Make Peace With Food
Give yourself permission to eat- with NO guilt.
If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing.
When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in overeating, and overwhelming guilt.
# 4 Challenge the Food Police
Say “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.
The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments.
Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
#5 Respect Your Fullness
Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.
Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current fullness level is.
#6 Discover the Satisfaction Factor
We often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience.
When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content.
By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.
#7 Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food
Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food.
Further Reading: How I stopped Emotional Eating, and How You Can, Too
Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement.
Food won’t fix any of these feelings.
It may comfort in the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.
#8 Respect Your Body
Appreciate your genetic blueprint. In Ayurveda, we aim to go back to our ideal, natural, and unique balance of elements, by understanding, accepting, and appreciating our “constitution”.
Respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.
#9 Exercise- Feel the Difference
Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference.
Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as being energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.
If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor at that moment in time.
#10 Honour Your Health
Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well.
Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating.
It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress, not perfection is what counts.
I hope you find this helpful. Let me know below, or DM me any time with questions/concerns.
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Editor’s note: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programme.