As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, people frequently ask me, "So what's Intuitive Eating?" I understand this question. I didn't become familiar with Intuitive Eating until shortly after I became a Registered Dietitian and read the book, Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, CEDRD, FADA. It was this powerful book that helped me realize that I needed to develop a healthier relationship with food and my body.
While I did not develop an eating disorder, I disliked my body from the time I was in the eighth grade through parts of my twenties and thirties - unless I had just finished losing some weight. And then I liked my body's appearance. Yep. I had bought into diet culture. And it was total nonsense.
If I could go back in time I would have respected my body for its ability to move me forward in life, hug my friends and family, and explore different parts of the world. And I would have dedicated more time to creating joyful moments with my loved ones. Fortunately, Intuitive Eating has enabled me to stop fighting my body – and instead – work with it. When I move my body, it is to promote my overall health and joy. No food is off limits. My days of counting calories and using a scale are over. And it's freaking liberating.
So what is Intuitive Eating? It is not a diet. It was not created to promote weight loss. It is a flexible approach to eating that revolves around tuning into your inner biological cues - such as hunger and fullness -in addition to experiencing true pleasure from eating. It teaches you how to make peace with food, your mind, and body. A more scientific way to describe Intuitive Eating can be found in Evelyn Tribole's article, "Intuitive Eating: Research Update," in SCAN'S Pulse, in which she states, "Intuitive Eating, an evidence-based model, is a dynamic integration between mind and body via 10 principles that work by either cultivating or removing obstacles to body awareness, known as interoceptive awareness." Intuitive Eating is essentially how many of us ate as children – before food rules were introduced into our lives.
Some people think that practicing Intuitive Eating is equivalent to no longer caring about your health. How could you possibly care about your health when you are taking such a flexible approach to eating? Science says otherwise. A growing amount of scientific research shows that Intuitive Eating is regularly associated with enhanced mental health, and may be associated with improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additional research further indicates that Intuitive Eating is linked to enhanced body satisfaction, in addition to a decrease in disordered eating and dieting in females.
Below are the ten core principles in Intuitive Eating, which you can read about in greater detail on the official Intuitive Eating website.
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Respect Your Fullness
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
8. Respect Your Body
9. Exercise - Feel the Difference
10. Honor Your Health - Gentle Nutrition
To summarize, Intuitive Eating has brought incredible balance to my relationship with food and my body. And I want to share it with anyone I can. As time goes by, I will post more articles that dig deeper into these Intuitive Eating principles.
Are you ready to develop a healthier relationship with food and your body? If your answer is, "Yes," you can read more about the one-on-one sessions that I'm offering to help people make peace with food and their bodies by clicking here. It would be an honor to partner with you on your wellness journey!