Skip to main content

Intuitive Eating Explained

 You may have heard about Intuitive Eating. What exactly is it, and how can it benefit you on your journey to heal your relationship with food and your body? 

I have yet to meet a client who hasn't struggled at some point with their relationship with their body, and most of the time with that comes a difficult relationship with food. And it's no wonder: our culture is entrenched with messages specifically designed to make us loathe the skin we're in. Diet culture exists in capitalism to make us hate our bodies so that we buy products to make ourselves smaller. In 2022, the diet industry raked in $142.6 BILLION in the United States. They are making bank at the cost of our mental health and wellbeing. 

Okay, let's get one thing out in the open: it's hard to love our bodies all the time. Everyone you've ever met, even the most beautiful/sexy/hot/perfect person you can think of, hates their body some days. But the relationship we have with our bodies is the longest and most important relationship we will ever have in our lives. So, it's worth investing in. It's okay to not love your body. It's okay to get hung up on certain features that you dislike about yourself. Intuitive Eating doesn't endorse body positivity, necessarily. It's more about getting to a place of body respect. You don't have to love your body to respect it. And that includes how we talk/think about our bodies, and how we treat our bodies. 

So, if you're curious about how Intuitive Eating can help give you a new perspective on food and body, check out the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, as developed by the developers of Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDS-S, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND. You can read more about these principles and Evelyn and Elyse on their website.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

Intuitive Eating will help you to learn how to let go of fad diets and ideas that you must restrict calories or macronutrients in order to lose weight. You'll learn how to let go of the idea that weight loss is necessary for health or happiness. It's a difficult concept, because it goes against EVERYTHING we've been taught about health. But the research shows that diets do not work. Weight loss achieved through diets eventually comes back, and then some. 

2. Honor Your Hunger

Intuitive Eating helps you to tune into your interoceptive awareness. You'll learn to listen to your body and honor your hunger and fullness. You'll begin to build trust with your body again. 

3. Make Peace with Food

 In this approach, there is no such thing as "good" food and "bad" food. No "healthy" or "unhealthy" foods. Food is food. Intuitive Eating includes the idea of unconditional permission to eat. Research shows that restriction of certain foods only intensifies our cravings, and eventually leads to a binge and restrict cycle that is difficult to escape. Intuitive Eating addresses this by neutralizing food. 

4. Challenge the Food Police

You'll learn how to challenge negative cognitions in your head about what's "good" and "bad" about your eating, exercise, or body image. You'll develop confidence to set boundaries with people in your life who perpetuate diet culture myths and ideas. 

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Intuitive Eating will help you to learn how to enjoy your food again. How to feel satisfied at the end of your meal, instead of deprived or guilty. 

6. Feel Your Fullness

Develop a new relationship with food where you can learn to listen to your body and honor a stopping point for eating that helps you feel satisfied and happy. 

7. Cope with your Emotions with Kindness

For many people, eating is a coping mechanism. Food does have the ability to nurture us and make us feel better. Intuitive Eating helps you to broaden your coping skills and learn how to address your emotions in healthy ways so that you are not using your relationship with food as a tool to cope with your emotions. 

8. Respect Your Body

Learn how to have body neutrality. You don't have to feel positively about your body to respect it. You can let go of expectations of what your body should be and learn to respect it right now, as it is. Your now body is enough.

9. Move Your Body

Intuitive Eating encourages you to engage in exercise and movement that feels good in your body. It's not about burning calories or getting your heartrate up- it's about learning to love movement. 

10. Gentle Nutrition

Learn how to nurture your body with foods that honor your health and make you feel good. You don't have to eat salads and fruit smoothies every day in order to be healthy. You can have a balanced diet that includes foods that you enjoy, while still honoring nutrition in your life. 

Intuitive Eating has been a journey for me, personally. I'm so happy to be completing a certification in Intuitive Eating so that I can share this approach with my clients, as well. If the principles listed above sound like the path you want to go down to address your relationship with food and body, let's talk soon. :) 


Popular posts from this blog

Navigating Romantic Relationships with a Mental Health Diagnosis

Relationships are complicated. Mental health issues are complex. Put the two together, and things can get real, really quick. Since we are nearing Valentine's Day, let's talk about juggling dating and romance--while navigating your own mental health. Mental Health Issues Make Dating More Stressful Dating is stressful for everyone. Having jitters before a first date, or wondering when to text is nerve-racking. For those who suffer with depression and anxiety, you might go into over-thinking mode, wondering if you screwed up, or feeling like you're not good enough. Mental health conditions can turn the volume of dating stress up to 10. Having an arsenal of effective coping tools is key. Finding relaxation and grounding techniques that work for you can help offset anxiety that is worsened by putting yourself out there. Deciding If You're Ready to Date Struggling with mental health issues is no small feat. It can be a daily struggle. Adding intimacy and a relationsh

I'm Turning 34. Here's 34 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago.

 It's my birthday! Happy birthday to me! :)  I love birthdays. I love to pack the whole month of October full of festivities. My family and friends will tell you that I'm a little over the top when it comes to birthdays, but I can't help it! It's a time for celebration and reflection.  Today, I turn 34 years old. I'd like to publicly reflect on a list of 34 things I wish I'd known 10 years ago. Just a few life lessons. I'd like to share these with you because, as a therapist, I know how healing it can be to practice reflections like this, and I want to share a little wisdom that I'd like to impart to my younger self. I hope you find these lessons resonate with you, too.  1. You, in fact, can trust yourself 2. Grounding yourself before you react to something upsetting ensures you remain in control, rather than your emotions.  3. Diets don’t work, and they ruin your relationship with food and your body.  4. Therapy is one of the most useful tools available

Five Things I Most Often Say to My Therapy Clients

I've been working in the mental health field now since 2013. I've finally hit my 10 year mark! "Am I bonafide yet?" I ask my imposter syndrome. Over the last ten years, I've hit some gems that seem to resonate with almost everyone. I find myself repeating these things to clients over and over again- sometimes to the same client! If you've worked with me before, these have probably come up in our sessions. I think there's a reason these things get repeated-- because they are important things we all need to pay attention to.  So, here's my top 5 things I most often say to my clients:  1. Breathe When in doubt, breathe. The more we can tune into our bodies and our breath, the more regulated we become. Our breath is the fastest, most accessible, easiest way to get into our bodies and still our nervous systems. We take breath work for granted so often, but it is such a beautiful skill to learn and practice.  2. Where do you feel that in your body?  I've