Intuitive Eating changes your relationship with food, eating, and body image by teaching you to listen to your own body to tell you how to eat.
The 10-principle model was created by two Registered Dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, to help their clients work with their bodies instead of against them. It’s a process of unlearning much of what you’ve learned about food, eating, and weight and listening to your own unique body to tell you what, when, and how much to eat and move.
To learn more about Intuitive Eating, join me at one of my upcoming Free Chat with an Intuitive Eating Pro calls.
The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
- Reject the Diet Mentality: Stop all diets and dieting behaviors, including the hope for a better diet in the future. Recognize that diets have failed you, not the other way around.
- Honor Your Hunger: Pay attention to your biological hunger and feed your body with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Not responding to hunger can trigger a primal drive to overeat. This is the first step in learning to trust your body.
- Make Peace with Food: Stop fighting with food and give yourself unconditional permission to eat. Beliefs about foods being good or bad and what you should or shouldn’t eat can lead to intense feelings of deprivation, uncontrollable cravings, and binges.
- Challenge the Food Police: Reject the idea that you are good or bad depending on what and how much you eat. This includes setting aside all the “helpful” nutrition knowledge to get back in touch with your individual body.
- Respect Your Fullness: Pay attention to the subtle signals that indicate you are no longer hungry. Stay connected to the body (taste, texture, temperature, pleasure) while eating and learn to stop when you are comfortably full.
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Create an environment that allows eating to be pleasurable and allow yourself to eat what you want. You’ll likely find that it takes much less food to feel you’ve had “enough.”
- Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food: Learn to identify what you are feeling in the moment, whether it is physical or emotional hunger, and find ways to meet emotional needs without food.
- Respect Your Body: Accept that your body size and shape are products of genetics and environment. Try to stop comparing your body with that of other people (including yourself 10 years ago).
- Exercise – Feel the Difference: Find ways of being active that are pleasurable to you. Focus on how it feels to move your body rather than how many calories you are burning. Connect with how movement makes your body feel, both in the short term and the longer term (HINT: losing weight isn’t a great motivator as it turns out).
- Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition: Choose foods that you enjoy and that make you feel supported and sustained. Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect in order for your body to be healthy. What you eat consistently over time matters more than one snack, one meal, or even one day of eating.
I am a firm believer that a meditation and mindfulness practice can further complement Intuitive Eating by helping you to:
- Slow down and focus your attention on what’s happening in your body
- Become less reactive and more skillfully responsive to triggers
- Become a non-judgmental observer of what’s happening in your body and mind from moment to moment
- Connect with the body through the physical signs of hunger and fullness, as well as physical manifestations of emotions
- Recognize the different types of hunger you experience: eye, nose, mouth, stomach, cellular, mind, heart
- Tolerate and accept strong emotions, boredom, and discomfort and learn coping skills that don’t involve food