Intuitive eating is an approach to food and eating that emphasizes honoring your body’s hunger and fullness cues and making food choices based on your preferences and needs rather than external rules or restrictions. It is a non-diet approach to eating that focuses on developing a healthy relationship with food and your body.
Intuitive eating was developed in the 1990s by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. They wrote the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, considered the “bible” of intuitive eating.
The 10 principles of intuitive eating are:
- Reject the diet mentality. This means letting go of the idea that there is a perfect diet or weight that you need to achieve. It also means resisting the urge to restrict food groups or calories.
- Honor your hunger. This means eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. It also means not letting emotions like boredom, stress, or anger dictate your eating.
- Make peace with food. This means accepting all foods as part of a healthy diet. It also means not labeling foods as “good” or “bad.”
- Challenge the food police. The food police are the voices in your head that tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat. When you hear these voices, challenge them and remind yourself that you control your food choices.
- Respect your body. This means accepting your body for its size, shape, and composition. It also means not using food to punish or reward your body.
- Move your body. This means finding activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good. It doesn’t mean spending hours at the gym or doing high-intensity workouts.
- Honor your feelings. This means allowing yourself to feel all of your positive and negative emotions. It also means not using food to numb your emotions.
- Practice gentle nutrition. This means making food choices that are nourishing and that support your overall health. It also means being flexible and forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes.
- Trust your body. This means listening to your body’s signals and trusting that it will guide you to make healthy choices.
- Be kind to yourself. This means accepting yourself for who you are, flaws and all. It also means forgiving yourself for past mistakes and moving forward with compassion.
Intuitive eating is a lifelong journey, and learning how to eat intuitively takes time and practice. However, it is a worthwhile journey that can lead to a healthier relationship with food and your body.
Here are some of the benefits of intuitive eating:
- Improved body image
- Reduced stress
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved mood
- Improved energy levels
- Improved digestion
- Weight loss or maintenance
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases
- Increased enjoyment of food
If you want to learn more about intuitive eating, many resources are available online and in libraries. You can also find a registered dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating.