Intentional Living

Say Goodbye to Dieting: How Intuitive Eating Can Set You Free


Intuitive eating has gained popularity as a refreshing approach to nutrition and wellness. Unlike restrictive diets that focus on rules and measurements, intuitive eating encourages individuals to trust their bodies and make food choices based on internal cues. In this post, we’ll explore five key reasons why intuitive eating is not a diet, but rather a sustainable lifestyle change that can lead to improved overall health and well-being.

Intuitive Eating


What is of Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to eating that was developed by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in the mid-1990’s. It encourages individuals to listen to and trust their body’s internal hunger and fullness cues when it comes to food and eating. It also promotes a healthy attitude towards food and body image.

Here are the core principles that are generally associated with intuitive eating:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality – This principle encourages individuals to steer clear of dieting, as it often leads to a cycle of restriction and binging.
  2. Honor Your Hunger – This principle emphasizes listening to your body’s hunger cues and eating when you feel hungry, rather than adhering to a rigid eating schedule.
  3. Make Peace with Food – This principle is about giving yourself permission to eat any food without labeling them as “good” or “bad”. This can help avoid feelings of deprivation that can lead to binge eating.
  4. Challenge the Food Police – This means rejecting internal and external judgments about food choices and instead focusing on what feels right for your body.
  5. Respect Your Fullness – Just as you’re encouraged to eat when you’re hungry, this principle emphasizes stopping eating when you feel full, by paying attention to the signals your body sends.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor – This encourages individuals to find joy and satisfaction in eating, which can help prevent overeating.
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food – Suggests finding ways to cope with emotions without using food, as it is common to use food as a way to deal with emotions.
  8. Respect Your Body – This means accepting and respecting your body as it is, rather than striving to change it through dieting or other means.
  9. Exercise – Feel the Difference – This encourages individuals to engage in physical activity for the joy of movement, rather than as a way to lose weight or change their body.
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition – This principle suggests making food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. It emphasizes that you don’t need to eat perfectly to be healthy.

The intuitive eating approach encourages individuals to develop a more harmonious relationship with food and their bodies, focusing on internal cues rather than external rules or societal pressures. It is a holistic approach that considers both physical and mental well-being.

How Intuitive Eating Differs From a Diet

Unlike diets, which often involve strict rules and restrictions, intuitive eating is a flexible approach that allows for all foods to be included in moderation. It is not a weight loss plan, but rather a way of promoting overall health and well-being.

Intuitive eaters focus on nourishing their bodies with a variety of foods, rather than depriving themselves or feeling guilty for indulging in certain foods.

no more diets

In fact, studies have shown that intuitive eating may have numerous health benefits, including improved body image, decreased risk of eating disorders, and improved metabolic health.

Incorporating eating intuitively into your life may take time and practice, but it can lead to a more positive relationship with food and a healthier, happier you.

Intuitive Eating is a Lifestyle Change

Intuitive Eating has become a buzzword in the health and wellness industry, but it’s not just another fad diet. It’s a mindset and lifestyle change that promotes a healthy relationship with food and your body.

Here are two reasons why intuitive eating is a lifestyle change:

Promotes a Healthy Relationship with Food

One of the main principles of intuitive eating is to reject the diet mentality. Instead of focusing on calorie counting or strict food rules, intuitive eating encourages you to listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. This approach helps you develop a healthier relationship with food by removing guilt and shame from eating and allowing you to enjoy food without feeling like you’re cheating or being “bad”.

Healthy Relationship with Food

Intuitive eating also encourages you to pay attention to your cravings food tastes, and preferences, and to honor them without judgment. This helps you tune in to your body’s signals and learn to trust yourself around food. You’ll start to notice that you naturally crave a variety of foods, including those that are nourishing and satisfying.

Focuses on Physical and Emotional Health

Another key principle of intuitive eating is making peace with your body. Instead of striving for a certain weight or body shape, intuitive eating encourages you to focus on your overall health and well-being. This means prioritizing physical health by nourishing your body with a variety of foods and engaging in enjoyable physical activity. It also means focusing on emotional health by practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and managing stress.

practice self-care

Intuitive eating can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with disordered eating or a negative body image. By learning to trust and honor your body’s needs, you can break free from the cycle of both food restriction and binging and start to feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin.

Intuitive Eating is Not a Quick Fix Solution

Intuitive eating is often misunderstood as a diet, but it is actually a lifestyle change that can benefit your overall health. One of the key differences between intuitive eating and diets is that intuitive eating is not a quick fix solution. It takes time, effort, and self-awareness to develop a healthy relationship with food.

Time and Effort

Intuitive eating is a process that requires patience and persistence. It takes time to unlearn old habits and develop new ones. You need to be willing to put in the effort to learn how to listen to your body and respond to its needs. This means taking the time to plan your meals, shop for healthy food, and prepare your food in a way that is nourishing and satisfying.

Self-Awareness and Mindfulness

Intuitive eating is all about being present in the moment and listening to your body. This requires a high level of self-awareness and mindfulness. You need to be able to identify your physical hunger cues and differentiate them from emotional or environmental triggers. You also need to be able to tune into your body’s signals of fullness and satisfaction.

By taking the time and effort to practice intuitive eating and develop self-awareness and mindfulness, you can establish a healthy relationship with food that lasts a lifetime. It’s a process, but the benefits are worth it.

Benefits of Intuitive Eating

Improves Mental Health

Intuitive eating is not just about eating what you want, when you want it. It’s also about learning to listen to your body and understanding what it needs. When you eat intuitively, you develop a better relationship with food, which can improve your mental health. You no longer see food as the enemy or something to be feared. Instead, you see it as a source of nourishment and pleasure. This can help reduce stress and anxiety around food and eating.

healthy relationship with food

Research has also shown that intuitive eating can improve body image and self-esteem, which are crucial aspects of mental health. By focusing on how your body feels rather than how it looks, you can develop a more positive body image and learn to appreciate your body for what it can do.

Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Intuitive eating is not a diet, but it can have a positive impact on your physical health. By listening to your body and giving it what it needs, you can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

For example, intuitive eating can help you maintain a healthy weight without the negative effects of yo-yo dieting. It can also improve your blood sugar control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, intuitive eating can lead to a more varied and balanced diet, which can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Incorporating intuitive eating into your lifestyle can have numerous benefits for both your mental and physical health. By learning to listen to your body and trusting yourself, you can develop a healthier relationship with food and improve your overall well-being.

How Intuitive Eating Differs From Mindful Eating

Intuitive eating and mindful eating, although overlapping in many aspects, have distinct features and focuses:

Intuitive Eating

  1. Holistic Approach – Intuitive eating encompasses a broader approach to eating and lifestyle, addressing not only the act of eating itself but also the attitudes towards food and body image.
  2. Rejecting Diet Culture – One of the core principles of intuitive eating is rejecting the diet mentality and the notion of “good” or “bad” foods, aiming to heal the relationship between food and body.
  3. Body Acceptance – It encourages individuals to respect and accept their bodies, no matter their shape or size, and to reject societal pressures regarding body appearance.
  4. Hunger and Fullness Cues – Intuitive eating teaches individuals to respond to their internal hunger and fullness cues, encouraging eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied.

Mindful Eating

  1. Focus on the Present Moment: Mindful eating centers on being fully present during the eating experience, paying close attention to the textures, flavors, and smells of the food.
  2. Mindful Choices: It encourages individuals to make conscious food choices, considering both the pleasure of eating and the nourishing aspects of food.
  3. Response to Food: It teaches individuals to respond to food, rather than react impulsively, by being aware of physical hunger and satiety cues.
  4. Non-Judgmental Awareness: Mindful eating promotes a non-judgmental awareness of the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. It aims to foster a deeper connection with the food.
mindful eating

Differences Between the Two

  1. Scope – Intuitive eating covers a wider scope, addressing lifestyle and behavioral aspects, whereas mindful eating is more about the act of eating itself, focusing on the present moment during meals.
  2. Diet Culture & Body Image – Intuitive eating explicitly addresses the rejection of diet culture and encourages body acceptance, whereas mindful eating doesn’t necessarily delve deeply into these topics.
  3. Emotional Responses – While both address emotional responses to food, intuitive eating tends to explore this more in depth, offering guidance on how to manage emotional eating.
  4. Physical Activity – Intuitive eating includes principles related to physical activity and finding joy in movement, which is not a central theme in mindful eating.

In essence, while both intuitive eating and mindful eating encourage a healthier and more attuned relationship with food, intuitive eating is more comprehensive, incorporating aspects of mindful eating while also addressing broader issues of diet culture and body image.

Mindful eating, on the other hand, focuses more narrowly on the actual process of eating and bringing full awareness to the eating experience. For more on Mindful Eating, read our post here.

Intuitive Eating is Sustainable

One of the most significant advantages of intuitive eating is that it can be maintained long-term. Unlike diets that often involve strict rules and restrictions, intuitive eating is a lifestyle change that allows for flexibility and enjoyment. This means that you can eat what you want, when you want, without feeling guilty or deprived.

Intuitive Eating Can be Maintained Long-Term

Intuitive eating is not a quick fix solution. Instead, it is a gradual process that involves learning to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, understanding your emotions and how they affect your eating habits, and making peace with food. Once you have developed these skills, they become a part of your daily routine, making intuitive eating a sustainable way of life.

unfinished dinner

By listening to your body and eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, you will naturally choose foods that are nourishing and satisfying. This means that you won’t feel the need to restrict or binge, and you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight without the stress of counting calories or following strict meal plans.

Allows for Flexibility and Enjoyment

Intuitive eating also allows for flexibility and enjoyment. Unlike diets that often prohibit certain foods or food groups, intuitive eating style encourages you to eat what you want, when you want. This means that if you’re craving a slice of pizza or a piece of cake, you can have it without feeling guilty or ashamed.

woman eating a slice of pizza

Intuitive eating is all about balance. It’s about eating foods that make you feel good and nourish your body, while also enjoying the foods you love. By allowing yourself to eat what you want, you’ll be less likely to binge or overeat, and you’ll be able to maintain a healthy relationship with food.

Overall, intuitive eating is a sustainable way of life that allows you to maintain a healthy weight, while also enjoying the foods you love. By learning to listen to your body and making peace with food, you can develop a healthy relationship with food that will last a lifetime.

Get Started on Your Intuitive Eating Journey

Intuitive eating stands out as a sustainable lifestyle change, unlike the temporary nature of diets. Embracing this approach allows individuals to nurture a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. By focusing on internal cues and personal satisfaction, unnecessary restrictions and guilt are left behind.

intuitive eating can lead to a healthy lifestyle

This lifestyle change fosters improved mental and physical health. With intuitive eating, weight management becomes a natural byproduct of self-awareness and self-care. The absence of strict rules and guidelines enables individuals to develop long-lasting habits that benefit their overall well-being.

In a world filled with quick-fix solutions, intuitive eating offers a refreshing and empowering alternative. Adopting this mindset paves the way for a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.