Intuitive Eating Quick Start Guide
Updated: Nov 5, 2021
Diets are everywhere. The information is overwhelming, confusing, contradictory, and often just plain inaccurate.
Paleo! Low Carb! Low fat! The Zone Diet! Intermittent fasting!
Yes, you’ll lose weight on these diets. Yes, you’ll probably gain it back and then some.
We need a different approach.
Stop dieting for good.
Eat a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats, and even carbohydrates (gasp!) without avoiding any one single food group.
Be the expert of your body and what it needs to feel satiated - not overly full or hungry.
You decide what, when, and how much to eat.
The main purpose of this style of eating is to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, your mind, and your body.
Intuitive eating does not promise an easy way to lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks - we know those diets never work in the long run. There is no magic cure or pill to drop excess weight.
Intuitive eating is the opposite of a traditional diet. There are no guidelines about foods to avoid, and what or even when to eat.
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. There is no guilt.
This should be an intuitive process, but for most of us, it’s not.
We were born intuitive eaters. Just watch babies and children stop eating when they’re full. They don’t force themselves to clean their plates or eat themselves into a food coma.
We have lost touch with ourselves. We trust diet books and ‘experts’ to tell us what, when, and how to eat. This draws us away from trusting our own instincts and intuition.
Intuitive Eating teaches that you are the best person — the only person — to make those choices.
10 Key Principles of Intuitive Eating
Reject the diet mentality: Focus on being and feeling well instead of changing your body. This is a huge hurdle for most of us, take it one step at a time.
Honor your hunger: Keep your body fed, don’t ignore your hunger cues!
Make peace with food: Restriction often leads to overeating. Allow yourself to eat all foods - yes, even carbs ;)
Challenge the food police: Foods are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, nor is your worth tied to the foods you eat.
Respect your fullness: This is a big one! Listen for your body’s cues that you are comfortably full, not over-stuffed. The Hunger Scale below will help.
Discover the satisfaction factor: Food can bring happiness, satisfaction, and nourishment if you let it!
Honor your feelings without using food: Recognize when you are craving food to deal with feelings. You can also comfort yourself with a call to a friend, taking a warm bath, or doing a yoga class.
Respect your body: You only get this one body. Work towards creating a better relationship with it. Your worth does not increase as your body gets smaller, nor does it decrease if it gets bigger.
Exercise — feel the difference: There are a million different ways to move your body and be active; enjoy the movement. Doesn’t need to be a hardcore workout session at the gym, start with a walk around the block in the fresh air.
Honor your health: Incorporate nutritious foods that make your body amazing, and allow space for indulgences without the guilt!
Three Easy Steps to Get Started!
Step 1: This is KEY! Use the Intuitive Eating & Activity Journal for at least one day, better to do 3 days and even better a whole week!
The more data you have, the more clearly you can understand - and adjust as needed - your urges, habits, hunger, and responses.
You don’t need to measure your food, or even record every single thing you eat.
If you miss recording a meal or two, no problem. Just record what you remember and move on.
*Pause during the meal to see how you feel* This check-in is so important. We are often so quick to rush through our meals, that we don’t slow down to notice that we’re already full!
Step 2: Note if you are experiencing physical or emotional hunger. If you are physically hungry, rank your hunger/fullness level from 1–10 (very hungry to stuffed). Use the Hunger Scale below - it’s also pasted right on the journal so you have easy access.
Step 3: See how it feels to eat at different levels of hunger. What feels best in your body - is it eating around a 4 or maybe a 5 on the Hunger Scale. Is it stopping at a 6 or a 9? No judgment, just information. Get curious. And then practice actually listening to what your body is telling you.
Take at least a week to try this approach. The longer the better.
I know it’s challenging.
I know you have weight goals you feel you are putting off by eating this way.
Try something different this time.
Take this opportunity to listen to - and then respond - to your body. Notice what happens when you do.
You will move forward with a newfound awareness and skill set that will carry you through the rest of your life.
No judgment. No guilt. No shame. No mistakes. If you overeat one day (or many days), learn from it and move on.
This could change everything.
For More Information:
Intuitive Eating; (A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach): The Intuitive Eating philosophy is based on this book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
The Four Eating Personalities: Which one are you?