Intuitive Eating continues to get a lot of “buzz” online, on social media, and even on television. What exactly is all about? When working with individuals, there are mixed feelings that come up around intuitive eating, and these mixed feelings likely are accompanied by misconceptions. Let’s talk about what intuitive eating IS and what intuitive eating is NOT.
Intuitive eating is a self-care framework consistent of 10 principles.
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
6. Feel Your Fullness
7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
8. Respect Your Body
9. Movement-Feel the Difference
10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition
These principles work together to help people trust their inner body wisdom when it comes to food. We were all born intuitive eaters, meaning we were able to eat based on hunger fullness cues and without judgement, such as labeling foods good or bad. However, as we age and develop, a lot of noise from diet culture and the outside world interferes with that ability.
Intuitive eating is NOT just “eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. There are several nuances around food decisions. I like to say, “We are not robots”. If we were, food could be that simple. We all have our own preferences, personalities and lived experiences that help us make food decisions.
Intuitive Eating IS a helpful framework for pursuing eating disorder recovery. Noticing hunger/fullness/and satisfaction cues help us trust our body again. Challenging the food police and rejecting the diet mentality help us challenge eating disorder thoughts. Making peace with food helps to acknowledge that there are emotionally no “good foods” or “bad foods”.
Intuitive Eating is NOT a weight loss tool. Diet culture has co-opted intuitive eating and tries to sell it as a weight loss tool. Promising weight loss interferes with connecting with your body and trusting your body. It interferes with healing body image by indicating that there is something wrong with your body. If you see intuitive eating AND weight loss together. RUN!!!
With all this said, Intuitive eating IS challenging, confusing and maybe even intimidating. That is OK! Intuitive eating is the complete opposite of how we have been taught to think about food. If you are struggling to understand intuitive eating, I recommend buying the book and scheduling an appointment with a certified intuitive eating dietitian.