Find out how Intuitive Eating can allow you to break free from dieting and food restriction, make peace with food, and experience pleasure when you eat.
I went on my first diet when I was a teenager. I read women’s magazines, tore out the meal plans for weight loss, and filed away all the diet tips I came across.
I continued trying diets and meal plans through high school and college. They never lasted long because I always ended up binge eating the foods that were off limits. I always ended up feeling like I had failed.
But I was still convinced that I just hadn’t found the perfect diet to help me lose the weight that I believed was holding me back from being happy.
After college, I joined Weight Watchers. I tracked my points using an online counter, and quickly learned which foods had the least amount of points. However, I was constantly going over my points when I went out with my friends. I felt restricted when I stayed within my points, and would often binge eat pizza, Cheetos, and Ben and Jerry ice cream.
After tracking points off and on for a couple of years, I decided to try counting calories. I used MyFitnessPal to track everything that I ate and track my workouts. The number of calories I allotted myself was pretty arbitrary, but I still ended up feeling like a total failure when I went over those calories. When I ate something high calorie I felt guilty, which would send me into a cycle of binge eating then vowing to start over the following Monday (because you can only start diets on Mondays!).
It took a couple more years, but I finally tired of tracking my meals and was sick of feeling bad about myself for not achieving calorie perfection. That roller coaster of restriction and over eating was also becoming exhausting.
Not tracking felt scary. Tracking my food made me feel in control, and I worried that I would eat everything and anything if I wasn’t tracking.
But something pretty magical happened when I stopped tracking my food. I started to pay closer attention to what my body needed, what I was craving, and how I felt.
I definitely didn’t go straight from tracking and dieting to being totally connected to myself. There were times when I didn’t trust myself and my body, and jumped back into a plan. But those diets were always short lived because they brought me back to feeling deprived and terrible about myself. Letting go of that feeling that I needed to be following a plan felt so freeing.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was beginning to eat intuitively.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating was created by two nutrition therapists, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, and outlined in the book Intuitive Eating: An Anti-Diet Revolutionary Approach that was originally published in 1995.
Intuitive Eating is an approach developed to help people heal from the side effects of chronic dieting. It’s about trusting your inner body wisdom to make choices around food that feel good in your body, without judgment and without influence from diet culture.
“Intuitive Eating is a compassionate, self-care eating framework that treats all bodies with dignity and respect.” – Evelyn Tribole
Intuitive Eating is for everyone, but can be especially beneficial for those who are chronic dieters, have a history of eating disorders or disordered eating, struggle with a negative body image, have experienced weight cycling, have an unhealthy relationship with food, or want to stop focusing on their weight and start focusing on their health and well-being.
There are 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating…
- Reject the Diet Mentality
- Honor Your Hunger
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Feel Your Fullness
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
- Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food
- Respect Your Body
- Exercise – Feel the Difference
- Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition
Intuitive Eating is meant to be a lifelong practice, not a short-term program.
It’s important to know that Intuitive Eating is not focused on weight loss. It actually works along with the Health at Every Size approach.
Once I learned about Intuitive Eating, I wanted to know more. I love the book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I also went through the Body Trust Program through Be Nourished, which is a six-week course on reclaiming trust with your body.
Intuitive Eating has helped me to recognize my own dieting mindset and how diet culture shows up, let go of the “all or nothing” mindset around food, create a more neutral relationship with food, learn how to experience pleasure (without guilt or shame) from food, stop binge eating, and begin to heal my relationship with my body.
After so many years of feeling like my body wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t good enough because I could never achieve body perfection, Intuitive Eating helped me realize that my body is worthy regardless of how it looks.
What does the research say about Intuitive Eating?
There’s a growing body of research on Intuitive Eating that shows how impactful this practice is, especially for those who have been chronic dieters or have struggled with disordered eating.
An eight-year study followed 1,500 adolescents to young adulthood, and measured Intuitive Eating, disordered eating, and psychological health. The study found that Intuitive Eating helps reduce depressive symptoms, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, unhealthy weight control behaviors, extreme weight control behaviors, and binge eating. (source)
A first of its kind study used the Intuitive Eating Workbook as a treatment intervention in a diverse group of college women with disordered eating. The study found that Intuitive Eating reduces disordered eating behaviors. (source)
How do I get started with Intuitive Eating?
Purchase the book, Intuitive Eating: An Anti-Diet Revolutionary Approach.
You may also want to check out the resources in my Virtual Yoga Studio such as my mini workshops – How to Shift Your Focus Away From Weight and Toward Well-Being and Intro to Intuitive Eating or my yoga class – Slow Flow for Self-Compassion.
I’m also opening up a few spots for private health coaching. You can schedule a one-time coaching session or choose a coaching package here.