Intuitive eating is a philosophy of mindfully eating that makes you the expert on your body cues and its hunger signals.
Essentially, it’s the opposite of a traditional strict diet. It doesn’t impose any strict guidelines about what to avoid and what or when to eat, etc. Instead, intuitive eating teaches that you are the best person — the only person — to make those choices.
This article is a detailed beginner’s guide to intuitive eating, and in this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about intuitive eating.
Related: How to Plan Meals to Lose Weight?
Table of Contents
A Quick Guide to Intuitive eating
Intuitive eating is an approach that focuses on listening to your body and making decisions based on how you feel rather than on external factors. It’s a way to learn to trust yourself and your feelings instead of relying on food for comfort.
What Is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a type of eating behaviour that emphasizes self-awareness and acceptance of one’s hunger and fullness cues. Rather than following strict rules about what foods to eat and when to eat them, intuitive eaters rely on their bodies natural signals to guide them through the day.
Why Do You Need to Eat Intuitively?
There are several reasons why people choose to follow an intuitive eating approach. One reason is that it helps people feel more connected with themselves and their bodies. Another reason is that it allows people to make healthier food choices without feeling guilty. And finally, intuitive eating can help people lose weight by helping them learn how to listen to their body’s needs.
The Benefits of Intuitive Eating
If you’re looking for ways to eat intuitively, here are some benefits of following an intuitive eating approach:
1. You will feel better when you eat intuitively because you won’t feel deprived.
2. You will enjoy eating more because you will be able to connect with yourself and your body.
3. You will be less likely to overeat because you will be able to recognize hunger cues.
Tips for Successful Intuitive Eating
To begin, let’s define what intuitive eating means. It is a type of eating where you listen to your body and eat only when hungry. This differs from traditional dieting, where people often restrict themselves to lose weight.
Note: If you’re looking to improve your relationship with food, then intuitive eating might be right for you. You will learn how to identify hunger cues and stop eating before you feel full.
10 key principles of Intuitive Eating
In this guide, we’ll explore the 10 basic key principles of the philosophy (Intuitive Eating).
1. Reject the diet mentality
The diet mentality is the idea that there’s a diet out there that will work for you. Intuitive eating is the anti-diet.
2. Honor your hunger
Hunger is not your enemy. Respond to your early signs of hunger by feeding your body. If you let yourself get excessively hungry, then you are likely to overeat.
3. Make peace with food
Call a truce in the war with food. Get rid of ideas about what you should or shouldn’t eat.
4. Challenge the food police
Food is not good or bad, and you are not good or bad for what you eat or don’t eat. Challenge thoughts that tell you otherwise.
5. Respect your fullness
Just as your body tells you when it’s hungry, it also tells you when it’s full. Listen for the signals of comfortable fullness, when you feel you have had enough. As you’re eating, check in with yourself to see how the food tastes and how hungry or full you are feeling.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor
Make your eating experience enjoyable. Have a meal that tastes good to you. Sit down to eat it. When you make eating a pleasurable experience, you may find it takes less food to satisfy you.
7. Honor your feelings without using food
Emotional eating is a strategy for coping with feelings. Find ways that are unrelated to food to deal with your feelings, such as taking a walk, meditating, journaling, or calling a friend. Become aware of the times when a feeling that you might call hunger is based on emotion.
8. Respect your body
Rather than criticizing your body for how it looks and what you perceive is wrong with it, recognize it as capable and beautiful just as it is.
9. Exercise — feel the difference
Find ways to move your body that you enjoy. Shift the focus from losing weight to feeling energized, strong, and alive.
10. Honor your health — gentle nutrition
The food you eat should taste good and make you feel good. Remember that it’s your overall food patterns that shape your health. One meal or snack isn’t going to make or break your health.
Note: There are 10 basic principles outlined in the “Intuitive Eating” book. They include accepting your body and honouring your feelings of hunger and fullness.
5 Steps to Successful Intuitive Eating
Follow these five steps to successful intuitive eating.
5 Steps to Successful Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating means that you listen to your body’s hunger signals instead of relying on food for comfort. It also means that you pay attention to how much you’re eating, rather than just counting calories.
Understand what intuitive eating is.
Intuitive eating isn’t dieting. Instead, it’s about listening to your body’s natural cues to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. This approach helps people feel more satisfied with their diets while still losing weight.
Know why it works.
Intuitive eating is based on the idea that we should listen to our bodies hunger and satiety signals instead of relying on external rules. It also means learning how to recognize those signals so you can make better food choices.
Learn how to use food as fuel.
If you’re trying to lose weight, eat less than you burn off. This is called calorie restriction. You’ll need to cut calories by 500 per day to lose one pound of body fat each week. To do this, you’ll need to reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories.
Eat when you’re hungry, stop before you’re full.
It’s easy to overeat because we often eat when we’re not physically hungry. Research shows that people who eat more frequently tend to consume more calories. So, instead of eating until you feel stuffed, try stopping when you’re still comfortably satisfied.
Be patient with yourself.
If you’ve been struggling with weight loss, it might help to take things slowly. You don’t need to lose 20 pounds in one week. Instead, focus on making small changes every day. This will help you build healthy habits that last.
The Intuitive Eating Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Intuitive eating is a diet plan based on the idea that food should be enjoyed as much as possible while still being healthy. It focuses on treating yourself kindly and learning to enjoy food without guilt or shame.
The Intuitive Eating Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that emphasizes pleasure over restriction. The goal is to learn how to eat in a way that feels good for both body and mind.
Tip #1: Be aware of what’s going into your mouth.
If you’re trying to lose weight, intuitive eating might not seem like the right choice. After all, restricting calories seems like the only way to lose weight. However, there are other ways to lose weight besides calorie counting. One of these methods is called intuitive eating. This method encourages people to focus on enjoying foods instead of obsessing over them.
Tip #2: Enjoy every bite.
You can eat intuitively by focusing on how you feel after each meal. Instead of thinking about what you ate, think about how you felt afterwards. If you feel satisfied and energized, then you’ve eaten well. If you feel bloated or sluggish, then you probably didn’t eat enough.
Tip #3: Don’t eat anything after 7 pm.
Another thing to keep in mind when following an intuitive eating diet is not to eat anything after 7 p.m. This helps you avoid overeating at night because you’re tired and less likely to notice hunger cues.
Tip #4: Don’t eat too little or too much.
If you follow an intuitive eating diet, you’ll need to learn how to recognize hunger and fullness cues, so you can make good choices about what and how much to eat. You might also find it helpful to use a journal to track your meals and snacks.
Tip #5: Eat More Slowly.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is eating too fast. This leads to overeating because you’re not able to stop before feeling satisfied. Instead, try slowing down by taking smaller bites and chewing each bite at least 30 times.
Intuitive Eating FAQs
What is meant by intuitive eating? / Intuitive eating / Intuitive eating definition / Intuitive eating dietitian
Intuitive eating is an approach to healthy living that focuses on listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues rather than relying on calorie counting or rigid food rules.
Why Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is based on the idea that our bodies are designed to respond to hunger and satiety signals to maintain energy balance. It encourages people to listen to their internal hunger and fullness cues instead of following strict diets or counting calories.
Discover what foods work best for you.
There are many different approaches to intuitive eating, but one common theme is that it involves learning how to eat when hungry and stop when satisfied. This means that you should avoid skipping meals and eating too much at once. You also need to learn how to recognize when you are truly hungry and when you are just bored or stressed out.
Understand how to make it part of your lifestyle.
If you follow these tips, you will find yourself naturally eating more mindfully and intuitively. It’s easy to fall into bad habits when you rely on external cues such as calories or portion sizes. Instead, focus on what your body needs and listen to its signals.
Learn about the science behind intuitive eating.
There are several reasons why intuitive eating works so well.
- First, it helps people eat less by making them aware of how much they are consuming.
- Second, it encourages people to pay attention to their bodies natural hunger and satiety cues.
- Third, it teaches people to trust their instincts instead of following strict rules.
- Finally, it allows people to enjoy foods without worrying about whether they are “good” or “bad.”
Learn how to listen to your body’s signals.
To learn how to listen to your internal cues, you must first understand what those cues mean. Hunger is one of the most common signs that we need to eat. It tells us when our energy levels are low and when we should refuel. Fullness is another sign that we need to stop eating. This means that we are getting enough nutrients and calories to fuel our bodies. If we ignore these messages, we will likely overeat later.
Eat intuitively by following your hunger and satiety cues.
There are several reasons why people choose to follow an intuitive eating approach.
- First, it helps them feel more satisfied with their meals.
- Second, it allows them to enjoy food without feeling guilty.
- Third, it gives them control over their eating habits.
- Fourth, it encourages them to make healthier choices.
- Fifth, it makes them less stressed out because they aren’t trying to count every bite.
- Sixth, it reduces cravings.
- Seventh, it improves their relationships with others.
- And eighth, it promotes weight loss.
What do intuitive eaters eat?
It means that you make peace with all types of food. Unlike traditional diets that restrict or ban certain foods, intuitive eating requires you to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad.” Instead, you listen to your body and eat what feels right for you.
Intuitive eating doesn’t mean you always need to eat dessert, either, or eat breakfast first thing in the morning. But if you do, it means being okay with it. It doesn’t mean that you always need to eat three meals and two snacks every day.
Does intuitive eating work?
“Intuitive Eating is not a weight-loss tool or diet. It is not intended for this use. Rather, it’s a tool to improve health behaviours and to focus on the things you can control, letting weight settle in its natural and healthy place for you.”
Research shows that intuitive eaters have less food preoccupation, lower rates of disordered and emotional eating, reduced stress, higher levels of self-esteem and contentment, and better body image. Studies have also shown intuitive eaters have improved cholesterol levels and improved metabolism.
Is intuitive eating for weight loss? / Intuitive eating for weight loss / Intuitive eating weight loss / Losing weight with intuitive eating / Intuitive eating to lose weight / Intuitive eating and weight loss / How to eat intuitively and lose weight
Intuitive eating is a simple idea. It means that you make peace with all types of food. Unlike traditional diets that restrict or ban certain foods, intuitive eating requires you to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad.” Instead, you listen to your body and eat what feels right for you.
Intuitive eating principles
- Reject the diet mentality
- Recognise your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the “food police”
- Feel your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Cope with your feelings without using food
- Respect your body
- Exercise and feel the difference
- Honour your health
Intuitive eating book
Intuitive eating certification
Here’s your guide to becoming a certified Intuitive Eating Certified trainer/coach. Read Here
Intuitive eating therapist
Please refer to this guide. Read Here.
Intuitive eating audiobook
Intuitive eating resources
Intuitive Eating: An Anti-Diet Revolutionary Approach by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RD
Originally published in 1995, the forthcoming 4th edition includes updated philosophies by the authors and thoughtful changes to the language used in the book. The newest edition comes out in June, but if you want to jump in now, there’s The Intuitive Eating Workbook by the same authors that covers 10 principles for a healthy relationship with food.
Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David
I read this book years ago, and it helped me shift my mindset toward food and diets and how I think about nutrition and my body.
The Headspace Diet by Andy Puddicombe
This book masquerades as another book called Mindful Eating, but they are the same. Authored by the guy who created the meditation app Headspace, it helps you find effective habits to help you change your relationship with food. This one came recommended by many on our Instagram LIVE session.
Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD
Lazy Genius and registered dietician Caitlin Weiss says this book is a great entry point to intuitive eating, and she recommends reading this one first to understand the history of diet culture, the damage it has done to all of us, and how to break out it.
The Psychology of Eating
Marc David, the author of Nourishing Wisdom, interviews all kinds of experts on body science, nutrition, and movement to break down how we think about eating. The most impactful moment of this series for me was when he asked what people would do once they had their ideal body type/circumstances. Most responded with things like, “I would play with my kids!” or “I would go to the beach more.” His response: Nothing is stopping you from doing those things right now.
Food Psych with Christy Harrison, MPH, RD
The author of Anti Diet started this weekly podcast to help people make peace with food and break free from diet culture. There are tons of episodes of this podcast, so Christy created a helpful Get Started guide to this podcast.
Love, Food with Julie Duffy Dillon
A podcast about exploring and healing your relationship with food.
Evelyn Tribole on Ten Percent Happier
Dan Harris talks with Evelyn Tribole about diet culture and making peace with food.
Accounts in italics offer information on feeding kids:
Our friend Caitlin highlighted some important posts and articles here but says all of these blogs/authors are worth following regularly. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Health at Every Size Manifesto by Lindo Bacon
- Thinness, Happiness, and the Problem of Unchecked Thin Privilege by Linda Gerhardt
- Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift by Lindo Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
- Weight Stigma 101 by Carolynne White
- Can We Create a World Where ALL Bodies Are Worthy? by Melissa Toler
- Smash the Wellness Industry by Jessica Knoll
- The Diet Culture Litmus Test by B. Wheeler
- How to Avoid Falling for the Wellness Diet by Christy Harrison
- Pursuing Weight Loss is Not a Way to “Take Care of Yourself” by Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD
- Please Don’t Teach my Kids to Diet: 5 Resources to Give Teachers and Schools by Sunny Side Up Nutrition
Intuitive eating support group
Join the Intuitive Eating Support Group: HERE.
Intuitive eating for binge eating disorder
Please refer to this guide to learn more. Here
Also Read: The Only Way from Rock Bottom Is Up