Intuitive Eating: A Gentle Nutritional Approach
We are all born intuitive eaters. Just observe a toddler: they eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based approach to mind and body. It has over one hundred studies to date, demonstrated its long-term effectiveness.
It was created by dietitians: Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. It’s a weight-neutral approach that does not take weight as an indicator of health.
We are all born intuitive eaters. Just observe a toddler: children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.
What is Not Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is not a diet or meal plan. There are no rules or guidelines. There is no one way to get it right or fail. It is also not a way to lose weight.
Intuitive eating is a process of self-knowledge and connection with the body and mind. On this path, the body's weight finds a healthy range, and that is not always the "ideal" according to the BMI (Body Mass Index). It is important to consider that BMI is obsolete since it ignores important factors such as genetics, habits, health status, age, etc.
There are no studies to show dieting or restricting foods is sustainable for long-term weight loss. There are even studies showing dietary restrictions to lose weight can lead to an increase in weight and other negative effects such as body dissatisfaction, weight stigma, discrimination, weight cycling, etc.
The most important thought about this approach is that each person is the expert of their own body. Intuitive eating is an approach with tools that empower people to make decisions regarding their diet and their bodies.
Benefits of Intuitive Eating:
- Increased body appreciation and body confidence
- Pleasure in eating
- Awareness of body signals
- Lower risk of eating disorders
- Weight stability
- Variety in food consumption
The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honour your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the “food police”
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Feel your fullness
- Cope with your emotions with kindness
- Respect your body
- Movement – Feel the difference
- Honour your health with gentle nutrition
How can I get started with Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is a path of self-knowledge, where patience and self-compassion are key.
Although there is no specific formula for how to go through this process, some basic points are:
- Obtaining information from reliable sources, for example, the official Intuitive Eating book “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
- Creating safe spaces and social networks can be a good place to start.
- Deleting or unfollowing accounts that promote restrictive diets and/or disconnect you from your body.
- Observing your experience and how your relationship with food and your body is right now.
- Questioning the beliefs and messages you have received about health and nutrition.
- Last but not least, to seek support from health professionals focused on Intuitive Eating.
By integrating external recommendations with internal experiences and cues, this approach can be an excellent alternative for people seeking holistic health.
Remember, eating based on blame and punishment is not sustainable in the long term, and it is not healthy. Intuitive Eating is an approach that allows us to reconnect with our body to make decisions based on self-care and compassion.
BLOG POST CREATED BY VANESSA KEANE, DIETITIAN