book now

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

articles Mar 27, 2024

#1. Reject the Diet Mentality

It's time to start rejecting any type of diet that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. These are the diets that have got you to this place of exhaustion and frustration so get angry at diet culture and pushback at any luring avenues that promote weight loss. Remember, it's mostly lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure each 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 or food plan might be the answer, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.


#2. Honour your Hunger

Do you know what it feels like to be truly, physically hungry? Can you pick up on these cues?

You need to keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat (which is inbuilt for survival). Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to recognise and honour this innate signal helps you to  rebuild trust in yourself and in food.


#3. Make Peace with Food

It's time to give up the food fight and begin to give yourself unconditional permission to eat. No food is off limits and it's all about finding peace in having all foods around you.

When 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. Then when you do eat these forbidden foods, the experience is so intense it can trigger a 'Last Supper' effect and trigger feelings of overwhelming guilt.


#4. Stop the Food Police

Do you have those voices in your head, declaring you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake? That's known as the food police and they monitor the unreasonable rules that diet culture has created.

The food police can also be heard in the people around you love, however the main police station is housed deep in your psyche, and can throw negative comments, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking thoughts that will drag you down. Telling the food police to P.Off 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 the pursuit for thinness in diet culture, its easy to 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. And you'll be surprised at how often, that's all it takes to know when you've had 'enough'.


#6. Feel your Fullness

Just like hunger, what does your feeling of content fullness look like? You need to trust that you will give yourself the foods that you desire for then, you will be able to listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.

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.

​Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. You can find kind ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues as 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

All bodies are meant to be different from an evolutionary point of view. Beginning to accept your genetic blueprint will also help you to move towards a place of body respect for what it can and does do for you every day.

It would seem ludicrous that someone with a shoe size of eight would expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, so why do we do this with our body size? It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical of your body size or shape so giving your body the dignity it deserves also helps you to move towards a place where you can feel better about who you are.


#9. Movement - Feel the Difference

Forget the calorie-burning effect of pushing yourself to exhaustion just to know you've 'exercised'. Movement should be just about that - moving in any way to feels good for you.

Taking away the expectation of what exercise should or needs to be, and focusing more on how you feel (refreshed energized, calm) it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm.

#10. Feed your Body with Gentle Nutrition

Focusing on food comes last once you've discovered how to intuitively listen to your body. This may seem strange but it's only now that you can make food choices that truly resonate with your health and taste buds and make you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. You will not suddenly become unwell, sick or nutrient deficient 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. 


Framework from The Original Intuitive Eating Pros - Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

*Content included on this site is prepared as general information only. It is not advice and should not be substituted for personal advice which takes into account your individual health, financial or other circumstances.