Published on August 31st, 2021 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.0
By Stefanie Michele
Intuitive Eating is a concept rising in popularity among nutrition communities. But did you know that it’s more than just terminology? It is an evidence-based framework with ten guiding principles developed by two registered dieticians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. The principles include things like “Reject the Diet Mentality” and “Challenge the Food Police,” to name a few.
Unfortunately, many critics have come to understand Intuitive Eating as an excuse to “eat whatever you want” and ignore basic nutrition. Without reading the book, it’s easy to see why the mainstream narrative of this movement has created skepticism. Advocating for things like “listening to your body” brings up objections like, “if I listened to my body, I’d eat junk food all day long!”
Let’s take a closer look. Intuitive Eating does not deny the basic tenets of nutritional wisdom, but asks us to instead consider attuning to our body’s natural cues in the pursuit of that wisdom. How many of us have learned to suppress our hunger and food inclinations in favor of diet rules and nutritional lifestyle restrictions? When the opportunity to eat restricted foods presents itself, we naturally feel compelled to “get it all in now!” because the body learns that it will likely be suppressed again in the future. This is not evidence that we cannot trust ourselves, but that our body has learned it cannot trust us. In the same way that we would gasp for air if our breath was held for too long, our cravings steer us toward pleasurable foods when it feels a lack of access.
After a period of time allowing ourselves to eat “fun” foods without restriction, the urgency around them diminishes. Over time, foods become less charged under “good” and “bad” categories and our bodies feel more free to make choices that feel nourishing. Without the demonization and fear of certain foods or food groups, the body can relax and move towards a more holistic version of health, which includes nutrition but also eating for reasons like joy, tradition, and community.
If you are interested in learning more about Intuitive Eating, start by reading the book by Tribole & Resch. Search hashtags like #intuitiveeatingofficial on social media. Experiment with the principles on your own or find support from a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor or Health Coach who is trained to help you navigate this path without falling into some of the common pitfalls and misconceptions usually associated with IE.
I work with women in group and 1:1 coaching programs with an Intuitive Eating approach. If you need support, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.iamstefaniemichele.com for more information.