Intuitive Eating

Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD
Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Fiaedp, FADA

Intuitive eating is an approach allows you to create a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body. It helps you make peace with food and prevents the categorization of “good” and “bad” foods. These 10 principles will help guide you to eating intuitively.

  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.
  2. Honor Your Hunger - Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. 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 re-building trust with yourself and food.
  3. Make Peace with Food - Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. 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.
  4. Challenge the your inner critic - Scream a loud "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.
  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 is your current level of fullness?
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor - 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. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food - Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Food won't fix feelings; if anything, eating for an emotional hunger will make you feel worse.
  8. Respect Your Body - 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 - Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body and how energized you are, rather than the burning calories. If you focus on how you feel, 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 in that moment of time.
  10. Honor Your Health - Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating.