Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Intuitive Eating is a non-diet, evidence based framework for health and well-being. It was developed by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch with the purpose of cultivating a healthy relationship between food, mind and body while breaking free from external dieting rules that confuse us and do more harm. It brings pleasure back to eating, while improving physical and psychological wellness.
Intuitive eating uses ten principles to guide you through breaking free from chronic dieting and focuses on health promoting behaviors rooted in self-care, rather than numbers on a scale. This is because the scale is an external tool that may lead to shame and disordered eating behaviors, or cause people to abandon health promoting behaviors if they feel defeated by their weight not budging. In reality our bodies have natural set point weights where they are their healthiest, but it may not be the weight you have in your mind.
When learning to eat intuitively people may lose weight, gain weight or stay the same. No one can tell you what your body will do or look like when it’s listening to what it needs. This can be scary for people who are petrified of gaining weight, but if this is what's holding you back, then I must point out dieting is a significant predictor of weight gain. I'm not saying that gaining weight is bad, just that it is the opposite of weight loss. If you're someone who has been restricting food for an extended period of time, your body may need to gain weight in order to be functioning at its best. If you're someone who feels that they consistently eat past fullness, for emotional reasons or as a result of shame, then making peace with food may lead to weight loss. However, focusing on weight loss with intuitive eating can sabotage the process since ultimately it takes our decision making to an external place rather than internal.
The process of intuitive eating has been shown to bring the self-esteem, body confidence and satisfaction with life that you falsely believed dieting and weight loss would bring. Diet culture has broken trust with ourselves, which intuitive eating fixes. It helps you learn that you know exactly what to eat, when to eat, and what you need without relying on rules.
There are over 120 evidence based studies on intuitive eating. Some of the findings include associations between intuitive eating and:
▪️Higher self esteem
▪️Higher satisfaction with life
▪️Better body image
▪️Decreased rates of disordered eating
▪️Decreased rates of emotional and binge eating
▪️Higher HDL cholesterol
▪️Lower body mass indexes
▪️Improved glucose in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes
▪️Greater motivation to exercise when focus is on enjoyment rather than guilt or appearance
So, if dieting has left you feeling preoccupied with food and negatively impacting your life, then what do you have to lose with giving something new a try? Diving into intuitive eating on your own can be scary, so working with a therapist of registered dietitian trained in intuitive eating can give you the support you need.
Reach out for a complimentary phone consultation with me if you'd like to get started!