Goodness knows you’ve read about dozens of diets over the years, all of which claim they’ll change your life and eating behaviors forever. The newest of these diets separates itself from the pack by not being a “diet” at all-intuitive eating is endorsed by dietitians as a non-restrictive approach to food. It’s becoming more and more popular as major influencers pick it up (of course!). Here’s what you need to know about the method.
What is intuitive eating?
According to Alissa Rumsey, RD (who just so happens to be the woman behind #WomenEatingFood), intuitive eating is “a non-diet approach to health and wellness that helps you tune into your body signals, break the cycle of chronic dieting and heal your relationship with food.”
Rather than looking at certain foods as “good” or “bad” and eating based off that mentality, the approach focuses on your behaviors and staying in tune with your body as the pillars for what should drive your food choices. Basically, intuitive eating recommends you eat whenever you’re hungry and stop whenever you’re full. That’s it!
Where did it come from?
The Atlantic reports intuitive eating was the 1995 brainchild of California registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. They’d watched clients gain weight and lose weight over and over again, all while feeling helpless because people’s behaviors wouldn’t change and they’d begin disordered and emotionally fraught eating habits in the process. Et voila: intuitive eating.
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faaaaam. can you even handle this sight?! i. cant. even. it’s too good for me not to share – which is why we doin’ a @tonnino.tuna GIVEAWAY, y’all! i came home from a workout this morning and knew i wanted to refuel with allll the goods. @tonnino.tuna has been my protein of choice lately – it’s wild-caught, 100% yellowfin, dolphin safe, and Non-GMO project verified! no better way to refuel. #temptyourtaste you gotta try it – seriously👇🏽 1) follow @tonnino.tuna 2) enter by tagging your lunch buddy 3) BONUS: tell me the last song you listened to! TWO winners will receive four jars of Tonnino Tuna and a reusable net grocery bag. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and closes on 7/14. GOOD LUCK. make this sammie, i promise you won’t regret it: 2oz @tonnino.tuna – jalapeno 1-2 spoonfuls plain Icelandic skyr 1T cilantro 2 slices organic sourdough bread 1-2T garlic ghee 2 slices organic rawn sharp cheddar cheese 1 small avocado salt/pepper to taste :: mix @tonnino.tuna (jalapeno flavor for an extra kick!) with yogurt, cilantro, s/p. slap some garlic ghee onto all four sides of bread. add tuna mixture to two slices and lay cheese slices on top. broil all 4 pieces separately on baking tray @ 500 degrees for about 8 minutes. mash avocado, add s/p. add avo mash to toast and put together sandwiches! tuna melt bae inspired by @nourishedbykale
A post shared by Olivia, M.S., CF-SLP (@olive.eeeats) on Jul 10, 2019 at 8:33am PDT
What are the actual tenets of intuitive eating?
So glad you asked! There are 10 of them. Per IntuitiveEating.Org, those principles are:
Reject the diet mentality: Stop adhering to anything you’ve read or heard that discourages you from eating a certain way.
Honor your hunger: Hunger is normal and healthy. It’s not something to achieve or be ashamed of.
Make peace with food: Reject the notion that any food is “good” or “bad” or something you “shouldn’t” or “can’t” eat. Love all the foods you love!
Challenge the food police: When you find yourself categorizing foods as any of the above, don’t let those thoughts overwhelm you or sway your food decision-making.
Feel your fullness: Your body will tell you when it’s full. Be cognizant of that!
Discover the satisfaction factor: If you’re not satisfied with what you ate, you’ll likely just continue eating. Eat what you want and you will be happy!
Cope with your emotions without using any food: When you’re sad, cope without food. When you’re anxious, cope without food, when you’re-you get it.
Respect your body: It’s hard to not be critical of how you look, but there are so many things about your appearance you can’t control. Don’t even try!
Exercise and feel the difference: Self-explanatory.
Honor your health with gentle nutrition: Again, don’t categorize foods in any kind of way. Just be sure to take note of how certain foods make you feel and eat what feels good.
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Throwback to this delicious breakfast on a random Monday in January 😍 Chocolate chip pancakes, fruit and a delicious Skyr smoothie 👌🏻 You’d better believe I enjoyed every bite! When you make peace with food and allow all foods into your life, eating becomes a lot more enjoyable. If you tell yourself you can’t have or shouldn’t have a certain food, you will eventually feel deprived, which builds into uncontrollable cravings and overeating. This overeating triggers guilt, which starts the cycle all over again: deprivation or restriction 👉🏻 cravings and overeating 👉🏻 feelings of guilt. We don’t need to do this to ourselves! The goal of eating should be to nourish ourselves and feel satisfied. I must admit, there was a time in my life when I was way too strict with my eating. I didn’t have dessert or any sweets for 6 months and avoided other foods that I didn’t think were “healthy” (like chocolate chip pancakes). Did this make me more healthy? Nope! It just made feel deprived and overwhelmed with thoughts of food. If your relationship with food is stressful or complicated, I encourage you to reach out to a dietitian who practices intuitive eating. Intuitive eating helps you tune into your body signals, break the cycle of chronic dieting and heal your relationship with food. Have a happy Thursday! ☀️
A post shared by Dietitian | Keswick & Uxbridge (@tasteofjulia) on Jul 11, 2019 at 7:31am PDT
Does it work?
There is some literature to prove it does. This study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found intuitive eating to be “positively associated with various psychological health indicators, and possibly positively associated with improved dietary intake and/or eating behaviors.” That said, it also found it was “not associated with higher levels of physical activity” and that it’s “negatively associated with BMI.”
Who is actually doing it?
The Instagrammers, you guys! Olive.eeeats, theflexiblefoodie, the_bananadiaries, and shuangys_kitchensink are among some of the most prominent influencers doing it, but there are tons more. Check out the 1+ million posts with the hashtag #intuitiveeating.
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