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Intuitive Eating 101 + Intuitive Eating PDF [Free Download]

Intuitive Eating is a non-diet framework that works to heal your relationship with food and body by cultivating trust and awareness within your body.

This comprehensive article will cover Intuitive Eating 101: what Intuitive Eating is, how you can start eating intuitively, plus a lot more!

Want to learn how to start implementing Intuitive Eating today? Download my free Intuitive Eating PDF:

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Intuitive Eating 101: What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating was first created in 1995 by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

It’s based on ten principles that work together to either improve or remove obstacles of body awareness, also known as interoceptive awareness.

Intuitive Eating is a non-diet, self-care framework that emphasizes respect and dignity for all bodies. It’s an evidence-based model with a validated assessment scale and about 150 studies to date.

What’s all that mean? A non-diet, weight-neutral approach means that instead of focusing on weight, the focus is on a positive relationship with food and body and sustainable habits that add to your health both physically AND mentally. 

Intuitive Eating is about tuning into and TRUSTING your body’s internal cues to know what, when, and how much to eat rather than relying on external cues like counting calories or manipulating weight. 

Wait!! Don’t stop reading.

I know what you’re thinking, “that sounds great for other people, but if I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, I would just eat ‘junk’ food all day, every day.” Am I right?

I get it! I was skeptical at first too, but research shows that people who give themselves unconditional permission to eat are less likely to overeat and are less likely to feel guilty over it (1). Additionally, Intuitive eating is associated with lower BMI and better psychological health (2). Intuitive eaters, are less preoccupied with food and dieting, have a wider variety of food in their diet, and eat more fruits and vegetables (3, 4, 5).

But why follow Intuitive Eating over other approaches grounded in weight loss? I’m glad you asked! Let’s unpack this.

Why Practice Intuitive Eating?

To understand why there’s been a shift to weight-neutral approaches such as Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size®, it’s essential to look at the traditional model of health. 

 This traditional weight-centered model of health makes the assumptions that:

  • Weight is controlled by lifestyle behaviors and thus is primarily the individual’s responsibility.
  • People classified as “overweight” or “obese” are unhealthy or will have health problems in the future.
    • Weight and health are directly correlated. The heavier someone is, the more likely they are to experience chronic illness.
  • Focusing on weight management will result in better health and thus should be the primary target for preventing and treating illness (6, 7). 

You might read these and think to yourself, “yeah, that sounds legit.” I mean, this is the norm in our weight-obsessed society. But what if I told you these tenets are mainly based on correlational data and aren’t hard and fast rules.

Let’s dig into the weight science.

Intuitive Eating and Weight Science

Before we look at the science, I want to preface this by saying I’m not here to convince you of anything or change your mind. My goal is to present the data so you can make informed decisions for your life and health.  

So, let’s look at the current body of evidence for weight loss, health, and Intuitive Eating.

Do weight-loss diets work?

Short-term weight loss trials have demonstrated successful weight loss outcomes. However, it’s well established that weigh-loss diets are ineffective long-term. Most weight loss trials showing short-term success, do not have long-term follow-up of 2 to 5 years, so they don’t paint the whole picture.

At best, most weight-loss trials show moderate, short-term success. 

Why do you never hear about this? Because there’s money to be made in the weight loss industry, and a lot of it. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing.

Plus, research isn’t typically presented in the media. Instead, we’re just bombarded with advertising from commercial weight loss companies, and these companies prefer to provide anecdotal evidence and exaggerated testimonials.

Unfortunately, no commercial weight loss company has ever published and publicized their long-term success rates. I mean, let’s be real, all they really care about is the money, and long-term data wouldn’t be good for their wallets.

While it’s hard to know the true prevalence of weight regain after weight loss, some weight loss programs have reported a long-term (2- 5 years) success rate at only ~5% (8, 9). However, more optimistic researchers have suggested a long-term (1 year) weight loss success rate closer to 20% (10).

It’s important to note that follow-up rates in weight loss trials tend to be low due to dropouts, so the actual success rate may be even lower than reported.

Not only is the success rate of dieting pretty dismal, some research suggests that people who frequently diet end up GAINING weight (11). 

In a 2007 study, dieting was a consistent predictor of weight gain, and up of 2/3 of people regained more weight than they lost (9).

In a study on twins, dieting predicted weight gain in a dose-response fashion, independent of genetics (12). That means the more frequently they restricted calories, the more likely they were to gain weight, unrelated to genetics.

Although these are primarily observational studies, they do showcase that dieting is not a solution.

Even on the higher end, a 20% long-term success rate is still pretty bleak. Would you buy into anything else with such a low success rate OR that had the risk of achieving the OPPOSITE effect? Imagine if that were medication or a car? 

Although diet success rates are often researched, knowing the correct statistic isn’t as important as reflecting on your own story: 

  • What has your experience been with weight loss?
  • Have you been able to lose weight AND keep it off?
  • Was dieting an enjoyable experience? Was it miserable? 

Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s important to reflect on these questions for yourself.

Summary: While it’s hard to determine the actual weight loss success rate, 5-20% of people who lose weight are able to maintain it for at least one year. Most people regain some, all, or even more weight than initially lost.

Is there any harm in trying to lose weight?

You may be thinking, “If there’s some success, there’s no harm in trying, right?”

Not necessarily. There are potential biological and psychological risks involved with restrictive diets.

Weight Cycling

Weight cycling, also referred to as yo-yo dieting, is the weight loss and weight gain experienced from multiple bouts of dieting. However, there is no one set definition in the literature. 

Weight cycling amongst dieters is common. Although the exact prevalence is difficult to pinpoint, values range from 20-55% in women and 20-35% in men (13).

Apart from causing body composition changes (a decrease in muscle mass and increase in body fat and abdominal fat), weight cycling also increases the risk of disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and many adverse health effects.  

Research has found weight cycling may be associated with depressive symptoms, cardiovascular disease, endometrial cancer, diabetes, gallstones, and all-cause mortality 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

While the exact mechanism for the association between weight cycling and adverse health effects isn’t known, some theories exist. Researchers are investigating this correlation, but the potential for risk is clear. 

Weight Stigma

Weight stigma is discrimination and oppression based on weight and body size.

Unfortunately, weight stigma is prevalent around the world, starting as young as childhood. Despite the many consequences of weight stigma, it remains widespread in the media, education systems, and even healthcare (20).

There has been a long-held belief that anti-obesity messages motivate people to lose weight. However, research doesn’t support this. In fact, weight stigma is associated with poorer health behaviors and an increased likelihood of mortality, independent of BMI and other potential confounding variables (21, 22).

When weight stigma becomes internalized (meaning the person that experiences weight stigma believes the stereotypes to be true and negative), it’s associated with binge eating, depression and anxiety, cardiometabolic risk, and lower overall health and quality of life (23).

In short, there is no benefit to weight stigma, only harm. 

Disordered Eating and Dieting

We cannot have a discussion about weight loss without talking about disordered eating. Dieting for the goal of weight loss often leads to disordered eating (24).

In fact, one study found that dieting was the most important predictor of developing an eating disorder in teens. Teens who dieted moderately were 5x more likely to develop an eating disorder while people who dieted extremely were 18X more likely to develop an eating disorder compared to non-dieters (25).

One of the most significant environmental contributors to the development of disordered eating is the internalization of the unrealistic Western beauty ideal of thinness. This often leads to dieting for weight loss in hopes of achieving a thin appearance (26).

What is disordered eating?

Although there is no agreed-upon clinical definition in research, it’s often described as abnormal eating behaviors that negatively impact a one’s physical, psychological, or social wellbeing. It occurs on a spectrum ranging from normal eating to an eating disorder. 

Some of these behaviors include:

  • Food preoccupation
  • Skipping meals or intentional fasting to change body size 
  • Food restriction
  • Avoiding eating when hungry
  • Feelings of guilt and shame that arise from eating
  • Loss of control around food
  • Eliminating certain foods or food groups 
  • Use of laxatives or diuretics
  • Exercise as a way of burning calories or punishment for eating
  • Obsessive calorie or macro counting 
  • Methods of appetite suppression 

While a person who engages in these behaviors might not meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, it doesn’t mean that the behavior is any less stressful to the person experiencing them.

It’s also important to note that not everyone who engages in these behaviors has disordered eating. The behavior becomes disordered if it has a negative impact on an aspect of the person’s life or causes distress. However, due to the normalization of disordered eating, most people don’t acknowledge or even recognize the harm.

Disordered Eating Prevalence

So, how common is disordered eating?

A 2008 survey found that 75% of American women between 25 and 45 years old have experienced disordered eating or an eating disorder. That means 3 out of 4 women in America have an unhealthy relationship with food and body image and engage in disordered eating behaviors that lead to mental and physical distress! 

Graphic of the statistic 3 out of every 4 women in America have experienced disordered eating or an eating disorder

Disordered eating can happen to anyone, no matter age, gender, race, sex, or body size. It’s not just thin women.

In fact, men account for 25% of people with disordered eating (27). However, this number may be underestimated because men are less likely to seek treatment for an eating disorder and are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

Other Consequences of Dieting 

If weight cycling, weight stigma, and disordered eating weren’t enough, other potential consequences of dieting for weight loss include:

  • Adaptive thermogenesis
  • Thinning hair
  • Decreased immune system functioning
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Poor sleep
  • Decreased athletic performance
  • Menstrual cycle disturbances
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overvaluation of body weight and shape
  • Fatigue
  • Body composition changes
  • Weight gain
  • Social isolation
  • Micronutrient deficiencies 

Starting to understand why a paradigm shift is needed now?

Benefits of Weight Loss

Are you thinking, “but aren’t there known benefits of losing weight?”

Potentially. But weight science is a lot more complex and nuanced than diet culture would have you believe as well.

Plus, as we’ve seen above, weight loss is not guaranteed in most people, and restrictive diets can lead to harm.

When the focus is purely on weight loss, people may also go to unhealthy weight extremes such as:

  • extremely low-calorie diets
  • eliminating foods or food groups unnecessarily
  • purging, diuretics, or laxatives
  • smoking
  • use of weight loss supplements or weight loss medications
  • over-exercising
  • skipping meals or fasting

All of these things can lead to worse health outcomes. So, to prioritize weight as the main determinant of health would be remiss. 

There’s also evidence of improved health regardless of weight with behaviors such as adequate sleep, eating fruits and vegetables, regular physical activity, stress management, limiting alcohol use, and not smoking cigarettes (28, 29)

So given that weight loss is not guaranteed in most people, dieting has the potential for harm, and certain behaviors lead to improved health regardless of weight, you can see why there’s a need for this weight-neutral paradigm shift.

But is Intuitive Eating better than a weight-centric approach? Let’s take a look at Intuitive Eating now. 

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

As healthcare practitioners, dietitians take an oath to abide by a code of ethics that states we will do no harm, and clearly there is the potential for harm following a weight-centric approach.

Intuitive Eating, on the other hand, has not shown any adverse health effects. On the contrary, there have been many benefits associated with intuitive eating (4, 5, 30, 31). Such as:

  • Lower triglycerides
  • Higher HDL cholesterol
  • Decreased cardiovascular risk
  • Lower binge eating and emotional eating
  • Less dietary restraint
  • Higher body satisfaction
  • Less anxiety and depression
  • Lower BMI
  • Higher self esteem and self compassion
  • Less food preoccupation
  • Less body shame

More long-term studies and randomized controlled trials with diverse populations are needed, but the research on Intuitive Eating is promising.

Now, let’s take a look at what Intuitive Eating actually is (and is not!).

Intuitive Eating 101: The Principles of Intuitive Eating

There are 10 principles of Intuitive Eating. It’s important to note that these principles are simply guidelines, NOT rules with a right and wrong way to practice.

Graphic of the 10 Principle of Intuitive Eating

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality 

As mentioned above, most weight loss diets fail long-term. Yes, there may be a small percentage of people who find “success”, and it can be tempting to grasp on to that. But, what has been YOUR experience with dieting? 

  • Did you lose weight at first but then gain it back? 
  • Were you constantly hungry and tired? 
  • Did you have food cravings? 
  • Did you feel out of control around food?
  • Did you miss out on social occasions, holidays, or family dinners? 
  • Did you spend money on expensive products or services that didn’t work? 

I’m guessing your experience has been negative and that’s why you’re here reading this. If it has been, it’s not your fault. You don’t lack willpower or motivation. You were literally working against your body’s physiology and psychology.

The first principle of Intuitive Eating is to reject the diet mentality because it sets people up for failure.  Let go of finding the next fad diet or quick fix. Clinging on to the hope of weight loss will impede your effort at becoming an Intuitive Eater.

Principle 2: Honor your Hunger

Our bodies function best when adequately fed. Think back to your last strict diet. Did under-fueling make you tired and moody? 

Ignoring your hunger too long triggers the drive to overeat and makes it hard to be intentional and mindful with eating. This type of hunger doesn’t feel good. 

Start to pay attention to your internal hunger cues and allow yourself to eat at the first sign. Pay attention to how this feels versus ignoring your hunger until you’re starving. Take note of which foods keep you satiated and how much food you need to fuel you through different activities. 

Learning to tune into your hunger cues helps rebuild trust with your body, which is key to becoming an Intuitive Eater.

Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat ALL foods.

Telling yourself you can’t eat a particular food can lead to stronger cravings, feeling out of control around food, and feelings of guilt when eating. Labeling food as “off-limits” or “bad”, isn’t helpful.

Yes, we all know that broccoli has more micronutrients and fewer calories than a cookie, but that doesn’t mean that eating cookies will ruin your health or make you gain weight. Nutrition is A LOT more complex than that. 

Allow yourself to eat all foods, even the forbidden ones. Eat mindfully and notice in a non-judgmental way how different foods make you feel.

This might feel really exciting at first, but after a while some foods may lose their excitement. You may even notice that you don’t even like a food that you once thought you couldn’t trust yourself around.

Principle 4: Challenge the Food Police

The food police are the thoughts and rules you have for eating that you’ve learned over the years. These are the thoughts that tell you you’re “good” when you’ve had a salad and a protein shake but “bad” when you’ve eaten a donut. 

By challenging the food police, you take the morality out of eating and replace harsh judgmental thoughts with neutral observational thoughts rooted in self-care.

Principle 5: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Eating isn’t just about the nutrients and energy derived from food. Eating should be enjoyed.

Eating a wide variety of nutritious foods enhances physical health.

Eating satisfying food and connecting with friends, family, and culture through food enhances mental and social health.

All aspects of overall health are as important as physical health, but often get overlooked in the throes of diet culture.  

Let’s play a round of ‘choose your adventure.’ 

This afternoon, you plan on eating a snack of cucumbers and hummus. Your sister calls last minute and invites you out for ice cream. Which experience is going to be most satisfying:

  1. Eating the cucumbers and skipping out on family time because you don’t trust yourself around ice cream.
  2. Eating the cucumbers then going with your sister but skipping the ice cream under the guise of health. Then watching her eat ice cream and feeling distracted and disconnected because you’re too focused on missing out.
  3. Saving the cucumbers for another day, savoring a small dish of ice cream with your sister, being fully present in the moment, and soaking up all the memories and laughs with no food guilt.

Principle 6: Feel your Fullness

Take notice of when you reach the point of comfortable fullness; not overly stuffed and not just barely satisfied.

Note: this may be hard to do if you haven’t made peace with food yet and you’re telling yourself you need to quit eating. Feelings of deprivation make it hard to tune into your internal cues. 

Try eating a meal without distraction, slow down, pause in the middle, and assess your hunger. Without judgment, notice how it feels when you eat too little or too much.

It’s also okay to eat past comfortable fullness from time to time. Experiences will happen that will lead you to overshoot, whether intentional or not. That’s completely normal and nothing to feel guilty about. 

Principle 7: Cope with your Emotions with Kindness

Emotional eating is eating in response to emotions like boredom, anger, sadness, or loneliness.

It’s okay to turn to food to comfort emotions from time to time. It’s a normal human response.

Think about baking your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies and the nostalgia that comforts in the moment as the aroma of cookies fills your kitchen.

Or think about how the stress of the day eases while grabbing happy hour apps with your co-workers after a hard day at work. 

However, food won’t solve the deeper root of any of these feelings. It’ll only provide short-term comfort or a temporary distraction. Sometimes, it may even make you feel worse if eating is associated with feelings of loss of control, guilt, or shame.

That’s why it’s important to find a variety of coping skills to help with uncomfortable emotions. 

Principle 8: Respect your Body

Everyone’s body size and shape are different, just like how people have different heights and shoe sizes. Unfortunately, our society idealizes thin bodies, which are unrealistic for most to achieve.

Intuitive Eating focuses on behaviors instead of weight.

When you’re eating a wide variety of nutritious food in an amount that satisfies and energizes your body, participating in regular movement, and prioritizing sleep and stress management, your body will settle in at a comfortable and healthy weight. 

This may be hard to hear, but if you reach a weight or body fat level and you’re always hungry, have intense cravings, and constantly feel tired, that weight is too low for you. 

Your body deserves respect no matter what your genetic blueprint is. You don’t always have to love the way your body looks to respect it and care for it. 

Principle 9: Movement – Feel the Difference

How many times have you started an exercise regimen when you started a diet with the sole purpose of burning calories to help you lose weight? Did the exercise feel like a chore or just another item on your long to-do list?

If you can relate, it’s probably a good idea to change how you view exercise.

Besides, exercise isn’t the best tool for burning extra calories anyway. The body regulates with such complexity and flexibility that just moving more doesn’t always equal more calories burned due to appetite changes and adaptive reductions in non-exercise activity thermogenesis (32). 

So, instead of focusing on the calorie burn or the step count, focus on the benefits, how it feels, and what you enjoy doing.

For example:

  • Did your morning run wake you up and give you more mental clarity for the day?
  • Did your evening lift provide some stress relief a the end of a long day?
  • Do you get more restful sleep on the days you workout?
  • Did you socialize and have fun at that yoga class with your girl friend?

These questions matter so much more than “How many calories did I burn?”

Principle 10: Honor your Health with Gentle Nutrition 

A common misconception about Intuitive Eating is that you just eat whatever you want, whenever you want. However, nutrition is a principle of Intuitive Eating. It was created by registered dietitians after all.

There’s no one-size-fits-all in nutrition. We all have different genetics, health conditions, preferences, goals, activity levels etc., and Intuitive Eating honors these differences.

There’s a lot of unknown still in the field of nutrition science. It’s incredibly complex. However, we know that one meal or one day of eating will not make or break your health. Your overall pattern of eating matters more.

We also know that mental health is just as important as physical health. That means enjoying food for the social connection, nostalgia, cultural ties, experience, and satisfaction. Not just for the nutrients. 

Why Intuitive Eating Doesn’t Work

As Intuitive Eating grows in popularity, more people tend to criticize and debate it. Much of the criticism comes from people who don’t understand it or are confused by it. 

Further compounding the confusion, companies like Noom and WW have co-opted Intuitive Eating language to sell a traditional restrictive diet with a trendy new “non-diet” spin on the marketing. 

Everyone seems to have an opinion, but do any of the criticisms have truth to them? Does Intuitive Eating work for everyone? Check out my full blog post on why Intuitive Eating doesn’t work to learn my expert opinion on this topic, and some helpful Intuitive Eating troubleshooting if you’ve tried it out and struggled. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Intuitive Eating

Can you lose weight with Intuitive Eating?

Weight loss is not the purpose of Intuitive Eating. Anyone promoting intuitive eating as a weight loss tool either doesn’t understand what it is or is exploiting it to make money since it’s growing in popularity.

Intuitive eating is about focusing on health-promoting behaviors, eating in a way that’s nourishing and satisfying, and healing your relationship with food and body image. If the focus is on weight, there will still be restriction and rules which can impede the goals of intuitive eating. 

Does that mean it’s wrong to want weight loss? Absolutely not. In our thin-obsessed culture, it’s hard NOT to want to weight loss.

However, my guess is that if you’re seeking out Intuitive Eating, you’ve tried the weight loss diets and now you want to heal your relationship with food.

If you still desire weight loss but want to try Intuitive Eating, my suggestion is to work with an Intuitive Eating dietitian to help you explore and understand this desire.

What about pursuing weight loss, is it wrong to continue dieting? As an Intuitive Eating counselor, for ethical reasons, I’m never going to promote weight loss. Does that mean I’m going to turn you away if you want to pursue weight loss? This might be controversial, but no.

It’s also okay if you’re not ready for Intuitive Eating and want to pursue a weight loss diet. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you want to try to lose weight.

I believe in body autonomy and informed consent.

If you know the risks and reality of dieting and would still like to try, a registered dietitian is best equipped to help you in the safest and most evidence-based way. You have no moral obligation to give up dieting. It’s a personal choice, and I will never judge that.

However, know that pursing weight loss is NOT Intuitive Eating and they cannot be done simultaneously. 

What will happen to my weight when I begin Intuitive Eating?

There is no way to predict what will happen to your weight. You might lose weight, stay the same weight, or gain weight. All outcomes are okay. 

Your body will settle in at it’s natural and comfortable weight.

For example, if you’re currently snacking all day out of boredom or binge eating at night, you could lose weight as you begin practicing Intuitive Eating and healing your relationship with food.

On the other hand, if you’ve been chronically under eating, you may gain weight.

The focus is not on weight. I know that can be so hard, especially at first. It can help to find a support group or an Intuitive Eating dietitian to help you through it.

Is Intuitive Eating Evidence-Based?

Yes, Intuitive Eating is evidence-based. To date, there are roughly 150 studies on Intuitive Eating with a validated assessment tool. The benefits of intuitive eating are unequivocal.  While the studies on Intuitive Eating are encouraging, we do need more randomized controlled trials in more diverse populations.

How to Start Intuitive Eating?

To get started with Intuitive Eating, I recommend reading the 4th edition of the book, Intuitive Eating A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach. There are a lot of misconceptions and nuances with Intuitive Eating and the best way to learn is straight from the source.

Next, let go of the urge to diet. Intuitive Eating does not work if you’re following diet rules or pursuing intentional weight loss still.  Throw out the diet books, unfollow social media accounts that actively promote weight loss or one type of “healthy diet”, and unsubscribe from all content that promote only one standard of beauty. 

If you read the book and understand the principles, but are struggling to put it into practice, get help! It’s not easy to go it alone. I work with clients virtually from all over the world, so if you’re looking for help implementing intuitive eating, check out my nutrition services.

Want to learn easy ways to start practicing Intuitive Eating today? Download my free Intuitive Eating PDF!

How do I find an Intuitive Eating Dietitian or Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor?

To find an Intuitive Eating Dietitian or a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, check out the Intuitive Eating Counselor Directory. The health professionals in this directory have gone through a standardized training and certification process by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. 

Intuitive Eating Counselors can be registered dietitians, psychologists, or other allied health professionals. Each counselor will abide by the scope of practice for their profession. For example, if you’re looking for nutrition therapy, you’d want to choose a registered dietitian. If you’re looking for fitness planning, you’d want to choose a personal trainer. 

Some counselors also have specialties, such as gastrointestinal disorders, eating disorders, or diabetes treatment, if you’re looking for something more specialized.

Use the directory to find a counselor, reach out to the person, check out their website, follow them on social media, and see if you vibe with them before making your decision! Everyone practices a little differently.

Is Intuitive Eating healthy? 

Yes! Intuitive Eating is associated with many positive health outcomes. There have not been any harmful effects associated with Intuitive Eating in any study to date.

The same cannot be said for restrictive weight-loss diets.

Who is Intuitive Eating NOT for? 

Anyone and everyone can practice and benefit from Intuitive Eating!

However, some of the principles may not be appropriate or may be harder to implement for certain people. BUT that’s the great thing about Intuitive Eating, there’s no right or wrong way to practice.

The principles are guidelines that can be adapted to fit your individual needs, they are not rules. 

Graphic of a quote that says "There is on right or wrong way to practice intuitive eating. The principles are guidelines that can be adapted to fit your individual needs, not rules"

For example, if someone has a medical condition that interferes with hunger and fullness cues, then ‘honor your hunger’ and ‘feel your fullness’ principles wouldn’t be for them, but the other 8 principles could be.

Intuitive Eating is not just about hunger and fullness, it’s about respecting your body and approaching nutrition from a place of self-care and respect versus restriction, shame, and guilt. 

For someone just starting, it’s probably won’t be feasible to implement all principles at once.  That’s okay! It takes time, practice, and a lot of support.

For example, on social media we often see Intuitive Eating portrayed as eating what you want and when you want. There’s all sorts of pictures of donuts and cookies, because let’s be real, that principle of Intuitive Eating is more exciting than Gentle Nutrition. 

If someone is new to Intuitive Eating and tries to emulate what they see on social media after severe restriction and dieting, their eating may feel out of control and scary. That doesn’t mean that they failed or Intuitive Eating “doesn’t work” for them.

This is why I recommend working with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, especially if you’re new to the practice.

What’s the difference between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating?

In short, Mindful Eating is a part of Intuitive Eating but Intuitive Eating encompasses a lot more such as rejecting the diet mentality, body kindness, and intuitive movement.

Final Thoughts

Intuitive Eating is a weight-neutral, self-care framework that uses your internal wisdom to decide what, when, and how much to eat.

Weight-centric approaches have limitations. Weight loss is unattainable for most people and can even lead to weight gain. Dieting is associated with adverse health effects such as disordered eating, weight cycling, and weight stigma.

Intuitive Eating on the other hand, has only shown positive outcomes.

Additionally, certain behaviors lead to improved health regardless of weight. Intuitive Eating focuses on these controllable health-promoting behaviors instead of weight.

Intuitive Eating is practiced from a place of self-care and self-compassion instead of restriction, rules, and guilt.

Intuitive Eating PDF

To get started with Intuitive Eating today? Download my free Intuitive Eating PDF:

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