If you’re like me, you can’t stand the thought of trying another fad diet. How many are there?! I heard about intuitive eating and thought, “Oh no, another one.” But I looked into it anyway, and intuitive eating is the opposite of a diet. It’s entirely focused on getting in touch with your body. Sounds pretty cool, right?
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a relatively new concept. It originated in 1995, formed by registered dieticians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. It brings you back to the roots of infancy and early childhood, based on the belief that everyone is born an intuitive eater.
What this means is that you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. No more, no less. It’s believed that inherently, everyone eats this way as a baby. However, as we get older, we develop habits such as overindulging or restricting food consumption in an attempt to lose weight.
Intuitive eating teaches people how to revert back to the method of eating just the right amount by listening and responding to their body’s needs.
Learning to Eat Intuitively
Ever find yourself sitting at your desk starving, but you don’t pause to eat lunch? You aren’t listening to your body’s intuition telling you that it needs food. The same goes for overindulgence. It’s hard to pass up dessert when you’re out to eat, you’re stuffed, but you order that chocolate cake anyway. You aren’t listening to your body’s intuition then, either.
To learn how to eat intuitively effectively requires keen attention to the clues your body provides regarding what it needs. Feeling dizzy when you get up? It’s time to grab a snack. Feeling sluggish throughout the day? It might be time to consume more vitamin B.
The most significant part, and often the most difficult, is that intuitive eating is designed to help you break away from dieting and develop a healthy relationship with food. Don’t count carbs, don’t count calories, and don’t avoid certain foods.
Listen to your body. If you’re craving something sweet, it’s okay to have some sugar. As long as you listen to your body and know when you’ve overeaten.
The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating has 10 core principles to use as a guideline.
- Break the idea of having to diet.
- Learn to recognize the first signs of hunger.
- Don’t deem certain foods off-limits.
- Don’t tell yourself you’re “good” or “bad” for eating something.
- Recognize when you’re full.
- Find pleasure in eating.
- Don’t use food to address your emotions.
- Develop healthy and realistic body expectations.
- Put your overall health above all else.
Is Intuitive Eating Healthy?
Intuitive eating is considered healthy, both physically and psychologically. It’s often recommended for those in recovery from eating disorders, as it encourages having a healthy relationship with food.
Of course, if your doctor has told you to stay away from dairy because you’re lactose intolerant, you shouldn’t drink a huge glass of milk. Or load up on gluten if you have celiac disease. Learning healthy eating routines to meet your health needs is all a part of intuitive eating.
Can you break the fad diet mentality?