Health And Wellness

10 Basic Principles Of Intuitive Eating — How To Know If It’s Right For You

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women thinking about intuitive eating

Ever since Evelyn Tribole, the queen of intuitive eating, came out with her book, Intuitive Eating, in 1995, this topic has been hot!

In her book, she goes into depth on how to break away from the diet mentality in order to find freedom and health in your relationship with food.

Never before was there really an alternative to dieting, especially if you wanted to lose weight.

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So, what is intuitive eating, exactly, and how do you know if it's right for you?

In a nutshell, intuitive eating is a healthy attitude towards food and your body. You eat when you’re hungry, and you stop when your content.

This implies knowing your own hunger and fullness. 

In addition, you don't attach your worth to your body, nor shame to your food choices. In other words, there are no "good" or "bad" foods.

To understand intuitive eating, there are 10 basic principles you need to be aware of to know if it's right for you.

1. Reject the diet mentality.

Easier said than done, right? If you've been raised in the U.S., you were probably born with a diet manual in your hand.

Learning to detach from this mindset is difficult and takes time, but it's imperative in order for intuitive eating to be successful.

2. Honor your hunger.

Learning to trust your body and knowing when you’re hungry is so important. You won’t know when to stop eating if you don’t know when to start!

Learning this skill is empowering and helps you trust your body, and therefore, know what your body really needs and wants.

3. Make peace with food.

In other words, remove the shame and guilt from your food choices. You're not good or bad, depending on what you choose to eat.

Food is fuel and doesn't have any value judgment attached to it.

4. Challenge the food police.

As stated before, there's no good or bad food, so the food police need to quiet their critical voices and let you listen to your body.

The food police will tell you low calorie is good and high calorie is bad before hauling you off to food police jail!

5. Discover your satiation.

Knowing when your satisfied is very empowering. Just because food tastes really good, doesn't mean you need to keep eating.

Knowing when you're satisfied is key to honoring and loving your body.

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6. Feel your fullness.

This means you can trust your body to know when you’re done. You're allowed to enjoy what you ate and be comfortable in your body.

7. Cope with emotions in a healthy way.

Using food to numb out or shove your feelings down leads to binge or emotional eating. This mindless way of approaching food leads to weight gain.

Developing healthier options to cope with your feelings and your stressful life will help you feel better, overall.

Treat your feelings with gentleness and kindness — not shame and punishment.

8. Respect your body.

Your body is more than what your size tells you or what the scale screams back at you. Your body serves many purposes and deserves love and respect.

You're a human being. Therefore, treat yourself like you would treat your best friend or a loved one.

9. Shift your exercise mentality.

Stop working out because the goal is to burn a certain number of calories. Exercise because it feels good and your body appreciates it.

Exercise with an awareness of what your body can handle, versus pushing it to do things it may not really want or need to do.

10. Honor your health.

If you want to be around for a while, developing a healthy relationship with food and your body is pretty vital.

Forcing your body to eat less than what it needs and pushing it harder than is productive will only lead to more health challenges. It’s OK to give yourself permission to honor your body and value what it has to say.

Believe it or not, God created your body in a specific and special way.

You get to put yourself first and do what is right and healthy for you, despite what society shoves down your throat.

So, is intuitive eating right for you?

To me, this is a no-brainer, but if you haven't already been in the diet shame cycle, then maybe you’re not ready for intuitive eating just yet.

However, if you've been on all the diets, been part of the 95 percent whose diets don’t work, and you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, then intuitive eating may be the biggest blessing of your life.

The purpose of intuitive eating is not exactly weight loss, but to heal your relationship with food. If you’re ready for that, then intuitive eating is right for you.

If you’re sick and tired of feeling shame or guilt over what you eat, then please dive deeper into this mindset.

If you’d like to find other ways to cope with emotions and stress, as well as be more kind to yourself, then intuitive eating can be a game-changer.

Here is an extensive list of all the benefits of intuitive eating.

  • Decreases emotional eating.
  • Decreases eating on auto-pilot or out of boredom.
  • Decreases restriction and binge cycle.
  • Decreases obsessive thinking about food.
  • Decreases shame around food. You eat without the guilt and perseverating thoughts about what you ate and how many calories it was.
  • Decreases finding your worth in your weight or your body image and learn to love yourself.
  • Increases a gentler and kinder attitude toward yourself.
  • Increases positive body image and self-esteem.
  • Increases weight loss that is sustainable, as opposed to a quick fix.
  • Increases your metabolism.
  • Increases the ability to manage stress.
  • Increases body awareness, trust in your body to know hunger and fullness, as well as what it wants and needs.

So now that you see all the benefits, you can determine if intuitive eating would suit your goals.

This approach to food is not a diet.

Intuitive eating is a lifestyle, which is key if you want to detach from the diet mentality.

Your toxic relationship with food can end with a shifting of your mindset from the diet mentality to intuitive eating.

Knowing who you are on the inside, loving yourself and feeding yourself with kindness is life-giving.

You deserve that, don’t you?

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Lesley Goth, PsyD is a mindset and weight-loss coach. She is about to launch an 11-week sustainable weight-loss course. If you’d like more information, you can contact Lesley at or check out her website.