Intuitive eating is based on 10 principles to help you find freedom from food and reject the diet mentality. Ultimately, the goal is to make peace with your food and your body and in by doing so, find so much more joy and freedom. Some of the principles include rejecting diet mentality, honoring your hunger, respect your fullness, discover satisfaction, honoring your feelings without food, respecting your body and moving for joy instead of exercise to burn calories or earn your calories.
This is a concept I completely believe in. I’ve seen it work for myself, my clients, and other professionals regardless of your age, gender, lifestyle, cultural practices, or medical diagnosis. In fact, I find when something like intuitive eating is coupled with the stress of managing diabetes, eating to enhance performance for runners, or even dealing with the stress of a changing body in pregnancy, it can be a marriage made in heaven. Intuitive eating gives people more tools and approaches life with more ease – and couldn’t we all use a little more of that? I think so.
However, just because I believe in intuitive eating, doesn’t mean…
I don’t understand the importance of nutrition.
There’s a misconception that intuitive eating is a no holds bar – eat whatever you want, whenever you want. While we talk about flexibility and freedom, one of the principles involves honoring your health. Part of that includes nutrition absolutely, but it’s important to come to gentle nutrition through the intuitive eating lens. Why? This approach helps you meet your body with the respect and love it deserves – it’s a way of working with your body not against it.
I don’t understand why some diets may be tempting.
Diets like Whole30, Keto, and general low carb are incredibly convincing. Throw that into the ring with diet culture promoting weight loss candies, pills, and shakes, and it’s next to near impossible to get away from! So I totally get how they are tempting. Heck, my own husband tried low carb to trim down for my sister’s wedding despite ALL my lectures. And even in college I was a total sucker for light and fat free products because heaven forbid if you have a little fat. Am I right?? Trust me on this one y’all, you do not need a diet and if anything it will create a lot more despair and negative emotions in your world.
I don’t understand why you want to lose weight.
Oh, but I do. Your doctor told you that you needed to lose weight. Your pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit like the used to. Part of your identity is wrapped up in an image of yourself or that goal. And here’s the thing, bodies are designed to change and evolve and if you think you’ll have the same body forever, buckle up for a wild ride because you’ll be resisting that one until the day you die.
But what if…what if you weren’t preoccupied with weight loss? What would you be doing? What would you be thinking about? What would you be creating? My guess is that whatever your answer is felt a lot more like ease. That’s my goal too help you find freedom from food and your body.
I don’t meet you where you are.
I work with runners who are focused on eating to improve times in their race. I work with breastfeeding mommas learning to nourish and make sense of their bodies. I work with busy professionals who have limited time and just want to know what to eat to help fuel their bodies.
After 10+ years of being a dietitian, I’ve worked with a lot of folks on so many different levels of health and nutrition and we all have different health goals. It’s important to dig into those goals but it’s also important to unpack the beliefs surrounding food. For example, if you came to me as a runner wanting meal and snack ideas for marathon training, we would certainly discuss options but if you mentioned that you didn’t eat nuts or nut butters often because you thought they were “fattening,” we would discuss the health benefits of nuts and how including seeds and nuts can help increase satiety and satisfaction. I’m not saying, “You have to eat nuts everyday” but rather clearing up the mixed messaging and meeting you where you’re at.
I don’t care about your health.
This is a biggie. As a yoga teacher and dietitian, I’ve long been a proponent of whole well being – mind, body, spirit, environment, etc. If we only focused on your nutrition (and the nitty gritty nutrients I’ve spent so much time learning about), it’s only focusing on one part of the equation. This is especially true with food and nutrition when food is so much more than fuel. Food affects and is involved in holiday celebrations, weekend get togethers, work potlucks, romantic dates, and so much more. By integrating intuitive eating, we can dive deeper into your overall well being in a way that creates true change and joy (which I have found is the ultimate to health).
I hope that gives you more insight into intuitive eating….and not just from the 10 intuitive eating principles but rather practical intuitive eating for this wild world. If you have questions about intuitive eating, I’m here for you (comment below) and if you want to find freedom from food and your body, let’s work together.