Intuitive Eating

Are you a chronic dieter?

Do you find yourself more obsessed with food and your body than ever before?

Have you lost your ability to distinguish between foods you like and the foods you feel like you should eat?

Do you feel trapped in diet culture, but would like a way out?

Are you ready to try a different approach?

Take the Intuitive Eating Assessment to see where you fall in regards to eating intuitively here.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating – and living – framework that honors both physical and mental health. It is a way to normalize and heal your relationship with food and break free from the on-and-off cycle of dieting and learn how to eat mindfully and without guilt.

Eating intuitively is about honoring your health and your body. It is about learning, or relearning to pay attention to the messages of your body to meet your physical and emotional needs. We are born intuitive eaters, but we have come to believe that others – diet gurus, doctors, social media influencers – are the experts when it comes to our bodies. Really YOU are the expert of your own body. Only YOU know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Only YOU know how hungry you are or what food will satisfy you. No diet plan or guru could possibly know these things. By tuning in to our body’s cues and tuning out all of the diet chatter and nonsense we can relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies.

Perhaps food has been a struggle for years. A new diet might have enticed you for a while, but something seems to throw you off course. You know everything there is to know about proper nutrition, but you have trouble staying on track. Dieting has made you more preoccupied with food. Dieting has made food and hunger the enemy. Dieting has made you feel guilty when you’re not eating diet-types of foods. Sound familiar?

Intuitive Eating provides a way of eating that is ultimately struggle-free and healthy for your mind and body. It is a process that unleashes the shackles of dieting (which can only lead to deprivation, rebellion, and rebound weight gain). It means getting back to your roots–trusting your body and its signals.

Through the Intuitive Eating principles we can work together to restore your relationship with food and your body image. I provide private coaching to help you on your journey to restore your inner Intuitive Eater. Sometimes just reading the book and going through the workbook isn’t enough, and extra support will help you in your process.

The following are the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating… 

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at diet culture that promotes weight loss and the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

2. Honor Your Hunger

Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

3. Make Peace with Food

Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

4. Challenge the Food Police

Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loudspeaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

The Japanese have the wisdom to keep pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our compulsion to comply with diet culture, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content.

6. Feel Your Fullness

In order to honor your fullness, you need to trust that you will give yourself the food that you desire. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry and observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is.

7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

First recognize that food restriction, both physically and mentally, can, in and of itself, trigger loss of control, which can feel like emotional eating. Find kind ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you. But food won’t solve the problem. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion.

8. Respect Your Body

Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body size or shape. All bodies deserve dignity

9. Movement—Feel the Difference

Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.

10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or become unhealthy from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

How does my coaching work?

• You will learn tools (not rules) to manage mindless and emotional eating.

• We create strategies to overcome obstacles, triggers, and challenges.

• We set wellness goals focusing on the process more than the outcome.

• We work together in a trusting relationship, in a safe and supportive environment in order to gain awareness and clarity.

• You will develop ways to appreciate and treat your body with respect, gratitude, and kindness.

• You will find enjoyable, non-punitive ways to get the exercise and movement your body needs.

• You will be able to decipher which nutrition guidance is worth listening to and which is unhealthy dieting propaganda.

How can this approach help you?

Intuitive Eating will assist you to take charge of your decisions about eating, physical activity, your health, and self-care.

You will re-discover your inner expert and learn to listen to your body.

You will learn how to enjoy food without dieting and cope with stress and difficult emotions without food.

Based on a review of 24 studies published between 2006-2015 Intuitive Eating is associated with the following benefits:

  • Greater body appreciation and satisfaction
  • Positive emotional functioning
  • Greater life satisfaction
  • Unconditional self-regard and optimism
  • Psychological hardiness
  • Greater motivation to exercise, when focus is on enjoyment rather than guilt or appearance
  • Increase interoceptive awareness – our ability to perceive physical sensations that arise within our bodies – such as hunger and fullness
  • Decrease in disordered eating, dieting, and internalization of the thin ideal

If this approach sounds interesting to you a great place to start is by getting the book, Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, 4th Edition by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

Read it and see if it resonates with you. If it does I would love to help you put it into practice either with one-on-one visits or through my online groups.