Intuitive Eating: Basic FAQs

The 10 principles of intuitive eating:

The original intuitive eating pros are Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND. They developed the ten principles of intuitive eating, which are:

Principle One: Reject the Diet Mentality

Principle Two: Honor Your Hunger

Principle Three: Make Peace with Food

Principle Four: Challenge the Food Police

Principle Five: Feel the Fullness

Principle Six: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Principle Seven: Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food

Principle Eight: Respect Your Body

Principle Nine: Exercise – Feel the Difference

Principle Ten: Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

I’m so far removed from the principles of intuitive eating. Where should I start? 

You’re not alone! Most of us have been indoctrinated with the diet mentality for a really long time. Notice the messages about body image and diet culture that you are inundated with every single day. A good starting place is to build awareness. 

Think about everything you’ve done to attain an idealized version of physical perfection in your lifetime. How did those efforts work out for you? Did you not lose any weight but instead struggle with your self-esteem, ability to feel full, enjoyment of food, and self-respect due to your efforts? Did you suffer physical problems, such as gallbladder problems from crash dieting, anemia from food restriction, or musculoskeletal issues from overexercising? 

Should I still track my food and exercise? 

Probably not, with one exception. In the beginning, it can be helpful to keep a log of what you eat and how you feel emotionally and physically after each meal or snack. If you eat because you are angry and tense, what could you do instead of eating to relieve those feelings? How are your food choices serving you? How are your guilt and shame impacting what you eat and how you feel about yourself? 

I don’t enjoy my food. Most of the time, I don’t even taste it. How do I learn to enjoy my food? 

Eating shouldn’t be a side thought or something to get through to get on with your life. Relax, pay attention to what you’re eating, and enjoy this break in your day. Eat whatever food you think will feel good emotionally and physically. Eat as much of that food as you want. You don’t need a permission slip; you’re a grown-up. 

How does mindful eating differ from intuitive eating? 

The goal of mindful eating is to lose weight. Have you ever chewed your food twenty times before swallowing it or set your fork down between bites? Those are common principles of mindful eating, which aims to raise awareness of the food that you’re eating. Unlike intuitive eating, mindful eating doesn’t take body acceptance, the influence of emotions on our food choices, or the importance of seeing physical movement as a source of joy into consideration. In other words, mindful eating can be one step of many on the path to intuitive eating. 

Intuitive Eating Resources

The Atlantic. The latest diet trend is not dieting.

The New York Times. Savor, celebrate, and pay attention: 8 lessons from the Eat Well Challenge.

The Original Intuitive Eating Pros. 10 principles of intuitive eating.

The Original Intuitive Eating Pros. Intuitive eating brief assessment.