Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating: A term you have probably heard by now, coined by two Registered Dieticians in 1995 by the names of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Intuitive eating, according to Tribole and Resch, is, “a self-care eating framework, which integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought…”.

After listening to several podcasts, including The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos and Just Eat Normally: Eating Disorder Recovery hosted and created by Rachel Evans, I learned that intuitive eating is meant to reject diet culture, diet thoughts and disordered thinking and eating. 

Intuitive eating, summarized by the professionals listed above, is a form of eating where people end the restrict and binge cycle by treating themselves with compassion and trusting their bodies. This idea is foreign to many because society is always saying, “Be thinner, move more, eat less, eat this, eat that,” and never ceases. 

Constantly hearing that you are not good enough can take a hit on your self-esteem, body image and your relationship with exercise and food. Intuitive eating’s goal is to rebuild the connection with peoples’ bodies and their ability to sustain themselves without overeating, undereating, or constantly worrying about how they are fueling their bodies.

As Dr. Santos puts it, “Feed yourself like you’d feed someone you love.” This means not overfeeding yourself to the point of being miserable, but not restricting yourself to the point of suffering. This concept also follows the 10 steps outlined by Tribole and Resch to successful intuitive eating. These steps include respecting your body, your fullness and honoring your hunger–something diets do the opposite of. 

Diets, in many peoples’ opinions, are meant to change peoples’ bodies by ignoring fullness and hunger cues, and instead restricting food intake and increasing exercise to change their body–which also means they usually do not respect your body in the first place. Therefore, intuitive eating is an anti-diet mindset. 

Hundreds of studies have been done on intuitive eating, so people can look for the proof themselves. However, a study I found interesting was written by Alyssa Pike, a Registered Dietician. After performing several different types of experiments, Pike and fellow researchers found that intuitive eating results in improved body image, psychological well-being, weight and ability to eat based on hunger cues. 

If you have grown tired of the constant diet-mentality, then I strongly suggest looking into intuitive eating or mindsets similar. Even if your mind is saying, “No, this is mambo-jumbo, non-science based ideas to make people who need to lose weight choose the easy way out,” I suggest you start with investigating what each of the 10 rules for intuitive eating mean to you.

  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 with Gentle Nutrition

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