An Introduction to Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating has been around since the 1990's but is projected to be 2020's hottest food and wellness trend. A trend perhaps, but not a fad, like so many others. Read on to find out what intuitive eating is, and what it is not.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is an evidence based approach to food and eating, created by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. It was created by two dietitians who were completely disheartened from using the traditional weight loss model with their clients, where studies show that 80% of weight is often regained within 5 years after being lost through a diet. Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to health and wellbeing that helps you tune into your body signals, break the cycle of chronic dieting (if it is present) and heal your relationship with food. It focuses on food freedom rather than food fear and is a powerful tool that helps to achieve health and wellbeing without the obsession. This approach gives you your power back over food. It puts you in the drivers seat of your own life and empowers you to know that you, and you alone, have control over your own body and what makes you feel at your best. It focuses on internal, rather than external cues. It reconnects you with yourself and your needs. In short, it helps you unlock your inner wisdom. As a Nutritionist, I was drawn towards practicing this framework as it provides nutrition interventions that are behaviour focused rather than restriction or rule focused.

Sounds great - what about the science?

There are over 100 studies on intuitive eating and the evidence in support of this model is compelling. These studies show that intuitive eating has many positive health outcomes, and that intuitive eaters eat a more diverse diet without turning to junk food, take more pleasure in eating and eat a healthier diet than those who do not eat intuitively. Other benefits include:

- Better body image

- Decreased rates of disordered eating (restriction and bingeing) and emotional eating

- Improved cholesterol levels

- Reduced stress levels

- Higher self-esteem

- Improved metabolism

- Increased life satisfaction

The 10 Principles

Intuitive eating is a personal and dynamic process that includes 10 principles.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

2. Honor Your Hunger

3. Make Peace with Food

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Feel Your Fullness

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

7. Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food

8. Respect Your Body

9. Exercise - Feel the Difference

10. Honor Your Health With Gentle Nutrition

What Intuitive Eating is Not...

As intuitive eating continues to gain momentum, it is important to recognize that as a result, there may be many misrepresentations, misapplications and misappropriations of the approach portrayed in the media; particularly social media. Here is a list of what intuitive eating is not, so you know what's what and what's not and can spot when the true intuitive eating approach is not being used. Intuitive eating:

- Does not promote counting calories, macros or points as a means to control weight

- Does not involve any sort of rules or restrictions around food or exercise

- Does not include failures, or missed targets/goals

- Is not aimed towards one particular type of body

- Is not "letting yourself go"

- Is not anti-weight loss but is also not a weight loss model

- Is not anti-health

Moving through the intuitive eating process can be a powerful journey of self-discovery that helps you look after yourself in the best way possible that works for you.

#intuitiveeating #HAES