What is Intuitive Eating?

We are born with a unique ability to regulate our hunger and fullness states. As babies, we were able to recognize our basic body need to be fed and communicate it to our environment, knowing that this need will be respected and attended to.

Later in life, however, there are many factors that may interfere with this instinctive regulating ability, hindering the trust in our inner mechanism, that helps us survive and thrive. One of the biggest impeding factors is dieting.

Diets dictate us what, when and how much to eat, weakening the natural attunement to our body needs. The more diets we try, the weaker this connection becomes. Diet culture is actively supported and propagandized by a diet industry, which has been religiously spreading the idea, that we all should strive to squeeze our bodies into a certain size, regardless of our genetic predisposition and unique characteristics. As a result, the weight loss market continues to profit from making people feel their bodies are wrong and have to be fixed. In endless attempts to attain the unattainable size our body may never meant to be at, we lose the skill of feeding ourselves intuitively.

As opposed to chronic dieting, telling us to conform to external rules, disregarding our internal body messages, the Intuitive Eating approach teaches to reconnect to our body, learning to trust its cues and respect its needs. This philosophy has emerged a few decades ago, systematized and popularized by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Ten basic principles of intuitive eating are intended to help transform the mindset from a diet mentality to body trust-oriented one. This approach is not about food rules or diet plans, and each individual journey to become an intuitive eater is unique. This method aims to address chaotic, disordered eating habits and to set you free from diets, breaking the vicious diet-binge cycle. It helps to normalize one’s relationship with food and liberalize from the weight obsession.

It is also important to note, that intuitive eating is not another weight loss tool. While some people following this approach may lose weight as a result of normalizing their eating behaviors and reducing overeating episodes, slimming down is not the purpose of this philosophy. Moreover, focusing on weight loss would usually present a significant barrier to become an intuitive eater. Therefore, shifting one’s weight loss-oriented goals towards body trust and respect, is a necessary step in re-learning to eat intuitively.