What is Intuitive Eating? And How You Can Add It To Your Lifestyle

what is intuitive eating?

I wouldn’t doubt that you’ve heard the phrase intuitive eating before. The majority of our clients have too, but despite hearing about it, they still carry around one common thread, and that is the internal, invasive noise in their head about eating and weight loss

Past failed dieting attempts have left our clients feeling afraid to go off their meal plan, unable to trust themselves with certain foods, obsessed with calories and macros, and overwhelmed and confused about what to even eat anymore. They desire emotional freedom from this lifelong tug of war with food and weight loss, but have lost so much trust in themselves they don’t DARE try to tap into intuitive eating on their own. 

We use cutting edge strategies such as Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition (to name a few) to help our clients find their way back to eating being a  nurturing, natural process, and we also incorporate this anti-dieting approach known as Intuitive Eating.

what is intuitive eating

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based mind-body health approach, comprised of 10 Principles created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. With over 90 studies to date, these principles result in a dynamic (re)integration between mind and body via a self-care eating framework that teaches how to incorporate instinct, emotion, and rational thought back into your eating decisions so you don’t have to rely on just nutrition information or diet rules alone.

In layman’s terms, Intuitive Eating helps you move from body distrust to body trust, ultimately becoming your own nutrition expert surrounding why, when, what, and how much to eat without counting one more damn calorie. 

Top 10 Intuitive Eating Principles:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect Your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  7. Honor Your Feelings without Using Food
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Exercise—Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

These principles are naturally integrated strategically in ALL of our coaching services, ensuring there is a natural progression and building upon each of them. 

These Principles Work In Two Ways:

  1. By helping you cultivate attunement to the physical sensations that arise from within your body to get both your biological and psychological needs met and
  2. Removing the obstacles and disruptors to attunement, which usually come from the mind in the form of rules, beliefs, and thoughts.
what is intuitive eating

Ultimately, you are the expert of your body. You were actually born with all the wisdom you need to be able to eat with trust, but the problem is simply that you have become disconnected from this wisdom. 

Think about how children eat. They aren’t walking around logging their food in MyFitnesspal to help them decide how much to eat. They eat when they’re hungry, they’re honest (sometimes too honest!) about what they like to eat and don’t like, and when they’ve had enough to eat, they stop eating and go play. 

All of us were born with these same eating instincts. 

Intuitive eating therefore is a personal process. Only you know what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feels like.  Only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  Intuitive Eating gives you an empowering framework to help you cultivate or revive the inner tools that you were born with so you can step into a world of emotional freedom from food!

What's the Difference Between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating?

Although based on different principles, both mindful eating and intuitive eating promote self-compassion, self-trust, and an improved relationship with food.

While intuitive eating is a broader philosophical eating framework, mindful eating is a process of paying attention (on purpose), to your actual eating experience, without judgment. 

In other words, mindful eating is paying attention to the sensations in our body and the thoughts/emotions that arise during a meal, snack or eating experience. Rather than coming into a meal with pre-conceived ideas on how we should feel about this food (e.g. guilty for enjoying something we love or proud for sticking to a diet rule), we come into the eating experience curious and ready to listen/connect with our bodies.

This allows us to tune into the tastes, textures, nourishing aspects of the food, as well as identify what we like about it, how it makes us feel, and how much we would like to eat to feel comfortably satisfied. Every eating experience is unique and there is no right or wrong sensations or feelings.

Mindful eating principles are also naturally interwoven into all of coaching programs due to it’s psycho-physiological importance to digestion, cravings, and satiety. 

intuitive eating weight loss

Can Intuitive Eating Promote Weight Loss?

Intuitive eating can absolutely result in a bi-product of weight loss, HOWEVER, intuitive eating is not promoted as a weight loss plan or program. In fact, if you hyper-focus too much on weight loss as your goal with intuitive eating, it can absolutely interrupt the inner work you need to do when it comes to putting the food drama to rest and re-establishing trust and connection again with your body. Use intuitive eating to feel trust and ease around food again.

Some individuals don’t lose weight as they embrace intuitive eating for various reasons. Their body and metabolism may just need more time to heal after decades of dieting, there may be more exploration needed in the gentle nutrition principals such as eating rhythm and macronutrient balance, or improvement yet with their emotional health areas such as stress management. Working with a professional like one of our Certified Mind Body Eating coaches can help pinpoint these areas with you. 

Working with a professional is also important because sometimes with a long history of dieting, one’s cues or ability to tune in to their body becomes a bit skewed. There may be a need for gentle appetite to be rebuilt or assistance with getting the Food Police out of your head. I mean, if it were easy to just tell all those voices in your head to be quiet, I would not be doing what I’m doing. The process overall will be profoundly more enjoyable and successful when you are guided through learning intuitive eating vs on your own.

How Do I Switch To Intuitive Eating?

The first step is to start to educate yourself on why dieting actually does NOT work. Here is an intro blog with top reasons why diets fail. 

We also have a very helpful mindful eating blog that pulls in some intuitive eating components to help you take some baby steps in the right direction, you can find that here

Lastly, get guided via one of our coaching services! Our popular Diet Freedom membership provides you a start to finish self-paced training on how to ditch the diet mentality and adopt intuitive eating and a healthy relationship with food, body, and self. PLUS you get access to coaches, workshops, and more! 

If you’re ready to make peace with food, rediscover the pleasures of eating, and free yourself from chronic dieting forever, we got you!  You’re so much closer than you think from stepping into that beautiful world free from food and body struggles!