10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

August 22, 2008

One of my favorite books is “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch (both dietitians).  When I work with clients who are struggling with eating, I guide them by using these 10 Intuitive Eating principles:

 1. Reject the Diet Mentality- Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.

2. Honor Your Hunger- Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

3. Make Peace with Food -Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If 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.

4. Challenge the Food Police-Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating under 1000 calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.

5. Respect Your Fullness- Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor- When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food -Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

8. Respect Your Body- Accept your genetic blueprint. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

9. Exercise-Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise.

10. Honor Your Health -Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well.

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