What Intuitive Eating Is and How to Do It

2 min read
What Intuitive Eating Is and How to Do It
2023 Nov 25Mind

In a world inundated with diet culture and conflicting nutrition advice, intuitive eating emerges as a refreshing approach that encourages a harmonious relationship with food. It's a philosophy that replaces strict dietary rules with a more instinctual, mindful approach to eating. This comprehensive guide delves into what intuitive eating means and how you can incorporate it into your life.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is an eating style that promotes a healthy attitude toward food and body image. The idea is to eat based on your physiological hunger and fullness cues rather than external dietary rules or regimes. It’s about trusting your body’s natural ability to regulate food intake.

Understanding the Essence of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is underpinned by the concept that your body inherently knows what it needs. It’s a return to your roots — eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and considering the nutritional needs of your body without being overly restrictive.

What Does Intuitive Eating Mean?

Intuitive eating means breaking free from the cycle of chronic dieting and listening to your body’s hunger signals. It’s about making peace with food and giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. This approach is characterized by a keen awareness of the body’s hunger and satiety signals, and a mindful recognition of how food affects your emotions and physical well-being.

The Principles of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is based on several key principles:

  • Reject the Diet Mentality: This means letting go of the idea of dieting as a solution to health or body image issues.
  • Honor Your Hunger: Keeping your body biologically fed with adequate energy and nutrients.
  • Make Peace with Food: Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what your body desires.
  • Challenge the Food Police: Saying 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.
  • Respect Your Fullness: Listening to the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.
  • Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Finding the pleasure and satisfaction in the eating experience.
  • Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food: Finding ways to cope with stress and emotional issues without using food as a comfort.
  • Respect Your Body: Accepting your genetic blueprint and not expecting your body to be a size it’s not meant to be.
  • Exercise—Feel the Difference: Focusing on how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise.
  • Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition: Making food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good.

How to Practice Intuitive Eating

Start by Tuning into Your Body: Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues throughout the day. Are you eating out of hunger, boredom, or emotions?

  • Eat Mindfully: Be present with your food. Savor the taste, texture, and aroma of what you eat.
  • Learn to Differentiate Between Physical and Emotional Hunger: Physical hunger builds gradually and can be satisfied with any food, whereas emotional hunger comes suddenly and craves specific foods.
  • Give Yourself Permission to Eat All Foods: This can help reduce cravings and feelings of deprivation that often lead to binge eating.
  • Stay Away from the Scale: Focus on how you feel rather than what you weigh.

What is Intuitive Eating and How Do You Do It?

To do intuitive eating:

  • Ditch the Diet Books and Magazine Articles: They often offer conflicting advice and can perpetuate the diet mentality.
  • Check-in with Your Emotions Before Eating: Are you really hungry, or are you eating to satisfy an emotional need?
  • Find Joy in Movement: Focus on how exercise makes you feel rather than its impact on your weight.
  • Seek Professional Guidance if Needed: A dietitian trained in intuitive eating can help guide you through the process.


"Eating by Instinct: A Comprehensive Guide to What Intuitive Eating Is and How to Do It" offers a deep dive into the world of intuitive eating, a practice that encourages a balanced and peaceful relationship with food. By embracing the principles of intuitive eating, we can learn to trust our bodies, enjoy our meals without guilt or restriction, and find a sustainable path to health and well-being.

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