Intuitive eating is characterised by eating based on physiological hunger and satiety cues rather than situational and emotional cues.
The evidence for the benefits of intuitive eating continue to grow, including how it is associated with psychological well-being. Intuitive eating is a non-diet, self-care approach to eating and nourishing our bodies.
Intuitive eating was a method pioneered by two dietitians in the US; Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Retch who wrote the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach (linked below) (Now in it's 4th edition!)
Although there were similar constructs before this. Tribole and Resch could see how damaging dieting can be to people, and so they developed some core principles to help people rediscover their innate ability to eat intuitively again, similar to how we eat when we are toddlers. their book ‘intuitive eating’ was first published in 1995! That’s 26 amazing years of challenging diet culture and creating a movement to support people heal their relationship with food. This framework of eating behaviour consists 10 guiding principles.
I am honoured that I am able to share these principles as well as learned experience in my dietetic practice and can truly see the difference it can make in a person's life. It is worth noting that eating intuitively is not just about how hungry or full you are - it is about nourishing your body with a variety of foods and from a place of love and respect.
The 10 principles of intuitive eating are:
Reject the Diet Mentality: Let go of the belief that there is a "perfect" body or a certain way to eat that will lead to happiness or success.
Honour Your Hunger: Pay attention to your body's hunger signals and eat when you are physically hungry, rather than trying to restrict your food intake or eat according to a certain schedule.
Make Peace with Food: Allow yourself to eat any food you desire, without judgment or guilt.
Challenge the Food Police: Don't let negative thoughts or judgments about food or your body dictate your eating choices.
Respect Your Fullness: Pay attention to your body's fullness signals and stop eating when you are comfortably satisfied, rather than stuffed.
Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Find joy and satisfaction in eating, rather than focusing solely on the nutritional content of food.
Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food: Find ways to cope with emotional challenges that don't involve food, such as talking to a friend or therapist, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in a favourite hobby.
Respect Your Body: Accept and appreciate your body as it is, rather than trying to change it to fit a certain ideal.
Exercise: Find physical activities that you enjoy and that feel good in your body, rather than using exercise as a way to punish yourself or control your weight.
Honour Your Health: Make food choices that honour your health and well-being, rather than using food as a way to punish or reward yourself.
Overall, the goal of intuitive eating is to create a healthy, positive relationship with food and your body. It can take time and practice to learn how to listen to your body's natural cues and make choices that are in line with your personal values and goals.
To read more about intuitive eating, I would highly recommend the Intuitive Eating book by Tribole and Resch - See if your local library has a copy or alternatively if you choose to buy online, Hive is a company that donates a proportion of it's profits to local book stores: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Evelyn-Tribole/Intuitive-Eating-4th-Edition--A-Revolutionary-Anti-Diet-Approach/24903493
p.s. If you're struggling with your relationship with food and you need help now, book a free , no-pressure discovery call to see how I can help you..
Tribole, E., Resch, E.(2012).Intuitive eating; A revolutionary program that works (3rd ed.).New York, NY: St.