Intuitive eating might sound self-explanatory, right? It sounds like you just follow your body’s cravings and whims to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. And yes, when you intuitively eat, you do those things, but you also do so many other things too.
We’re all born intuitive eaters. Babies are wired to make their needs, including food, heard. Babies also know when they feel full, and they intuitively stop eating when it’s uncomfortable. But somewhere along the lines, that intuition gets disrupted. The disruption can come from several different sources throughout one’s lifetime. For example, as an infant, your parents may have pushed you to finish the bottle, so there wasn’t any waste. Or, they encouraged you to clean your plate because there “were starving children in the world.” And, maybe your parents, siblings, peers, or the media you consumed as a kid pushed you towards dieting behaviors. Some of these types of disruptions come from a well-intentioned place, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t damaging consequences that affect your relationship to food and your body.
Sometimes that disruption doesn’t come from a well-intentioned or positive place. Maybe you had food insecurity growing up or an abusive parent that didn’t feed you with consistency. Whatever it might be, something disrupted our natural intuitive eating behaviors, and suddenly trying to eat intuitively as an adult feels like a foreign concept.
Intuitive eating is the process of shedding external cues and getting in touch with internal cues. It is also about taking care of ourselves and meeting our needs. Nutrition and health are both parts of the intuitive eating process.
But won’t I just end up bingeing on all the foods that may not be good for my health?
Maybe for a time, but with persistence and patience, those desires begin to feel less overwhelming. The body craves variety. Intuitive eating doesn’t feel intuitive to us at first because society (or family, friends, media, etc.) has taught us that we can either focus on nutrition OR pleasure. So we have to make peace first with food, learn about ourselves, and explore how food makes us feel before genuinely understanding how nutrition plays a role in our lives. If we only focus on nutrition in the intuitive eating process, it becomes another set of rules or dieting. By flipping the script and understanding ourselves first, we can approach nutrition in a whole new way.
So, what are the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is an evidence-based framework that is based on 10 principles. Those principles are:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honor your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Feel your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Cope with your feelings without using food
- Respect your body
- Exercise: Feel the difference
- Honor your health: Gentle nutrition
Many people ask if it is necessary to move through them in order. If you want to and it seems to work well for you, that’s great. It’s a pretty logical order, but I do jump around with the 10 different principles with clients a bit depending on where they are in their journey and their pressing needs. My 1-to-1 coaching is all individualized and focuses on YOU as the expert of your body.
I hope you found that to be a good explanation of what is intuitive eating. If that sounds like something you want to explore more, let’s set up a complimentary video call to discuss if my coaching is a good fit for you. You’ll get to share about your struggles, and I’ll be able to answer any questions. We’ll determine if my services and intuitive eating are a good fit for you. You can schedule this free call by going to my coaching page.
If you’re not ready for 1-to-1 coaching and want to explore more on your own, check out my resources page for more.