• Emma Green

The 10 principles of intuitive eating

It’s a common misconception that intuitive eating means ‘eating whatever you want whenever you want.’ ⠀ There are actually 10 principles of intuitive eating, as proposed by Evelyn Tribole and Else Resch. These cover your mindset towards food, exercise and your body.

1. Reject the diet mentality: You cannot practice intuitive eating whilst trying to lose fat. You have the right to do whatever you want with your body if you want to get into intuitive eating, you’ll have to at put stop (or at least pause) on your fat loss goals. 2. Recognise your hunger: When you have been counting calories, tracking macros or following a specific meal plan for a long time, you can end up being quite out of touch with our hunger cues. Intuitive eating is about getting in touch with this sensation and responding appropriately. ⠀ 3. Make peace with food: Intuitive eating means getting rid of the idea of good and bad foods. It means making all foods neutral and avoiding labelling them in any way. This doesn’t mean you have to eat all foods but that your choices should be your own, not those based on rules or restrictions. 4. Challenge the food police: There will always be people advocating for the idea of certain foods being better than others, cutting out certain foods or food groups or encouraging some other form of restriction. You may also still have your own ‘police’ in the form of your thoughts. Intuitive eating means saying no to all of this. 5. Feel your fullness: Just like hunger, fullness is also something that you can feel completely out of touch with. You often stop eating when you think we should, when others have stopped or because you are finishing what it is front of you. Intuitive eating means basing our decision to stop eating based on your own cues instead.

6. Discover the satisfaction factor: When you focus on calories, macronutrients and micronutrients, you can lose the enjoyment for food. Intuitive eating means acknowledging that food is so much more than fuel and should be satisfying, physically and mentally. 7. Honour your feelings without using food: I don’t think it’s a problem to sometimes eat something to boost your mood. However, it is good to have a range of tools to deal with emotions, rather than only using food, so that you have lots of options. Intuitive eating means finding a range of things you can use to make yourself feel better. 8. Respect your body: Your body is the only one you’ll ever have and it deserves to be treated well, regardless of your feelings about how it looks. You don’t have to love your body but if you can get to a place of acceptance and an ability to be grateful for all the awesome stuff it can do, that’s a huge win. 9. Exercise- feel the difference: There are so many ways to be physically active so I firmly believe that you can find something you enjoy. Focus on how an exercise feels, mentally and physically, rather than on how many calories you’re burning and it will be a lot more fun. 10. Honour your health: Nutrition is important and intuitive eating doesn’t pretend otherwise. However, this approach allows you to eat your needs in a flexible way, rather than being based on rules and restrictions. If you focus on how you feel, you’ll find you naturally get a good balance of different foods, you don’t have to overthink it.

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