Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Intuitive Eating

This blog is my summary and comments on the book, Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

I love the way these two ladies think! In this world where many of us obsess about how much we eat, what we eat, how many calories we burned, or ate, or did not burn or did not eat, this book challenges us to a healthy way of thinking about food.  I personally believe that good nutrition (NEWAY of course!) should be part of your life before you embark on this challenging new way of doing things, or it might backfire on you.  … The Intuitive Eater marches to his/her inner hunger signals and eats whatever he chooses without experiencing guilt or ethical dilemma.  Interestingly enough, studies show that if you let toddlers eat spontaneously, they will eat what they need when given free access to food.

Here are 3 main keys for eating intuitively:

  1. Understand your own hunger signals
  2. Know that food is always available
  3. Trust yourself

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

Learn to reject diet mentality

Diets deprive you of certain foods and therefore cause you to be preoccupied with food, afraid that you won’t have enough, and make you prone to overeat when you get a chance à last supper before a diet, because you really think it’s the last time you will ever eat that food, or binges that don’t stop because you really think that tomorrow you will be “good” again and you have to pack it all in right now.

Diets actually increase binge eating, decrease metabolic rate, increase your preoccupation with food, your feelings of depravation and your sense of failure, and decrease your sense of willpower.

Undereating usually triggers overeating!  So get rid of the diet books and articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily and permanently.  Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all the weight! Protect your food boundaries by refusing to allow others to tell you what to eat, when to eat or how much to eat!

~Learn to honor your hunger

Lowering body weight by food restriction and dieting makes no sense metabolically or to our brain chemistry.  It is actually counter-productive.  The biological chemicals that regulate appetite also directly affect moods and state or mind.  The more you deny your true hunger and fight your natural biology, the stronger and more intense food cravings and obsessions are.  The body needs to know that it will always have access to food.  It is much easier for your body to stop eating if (1) it is not starving, and (2) it knows it can eat again when it is hungry again. So, keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates, otherwise you might trigger a primal drive to overeat. You have to learn to honor the biological signals so that you can rebuild trust with yourself and food.  Listen for your hunger and do not deny it!

~Make peace with food

Depriving yourself of something you want actually heightens your desire for it.  The mere perception that food might become banned can trigger overeating.  Give yourself permission to eat what you really want without guilt, and you will find yourself not overeating any longer ~ within the NEWAY guidelines, because we don’t want to poison ourselves.  Your % will probably come back to normal within a few days.

 ~Challenge the food police

We are a nation filled with guilt about how we eat, and food is often described in moralistic terms with the food police taking you on a guilt trip with each “bad” bite of food.  Learn to identify your distorted food, dieting and eating thoughts and myths.  Challenge their power, throw them out and replace them with truth! Watch out for negative self-talk.

  ~Feel your fullness

When you diet, you can only eat so much and at certain times, so that sets you up for “cleaning your plate.”  When we learn to respect our fullness level, calories wouldn’t be an issue.  Big point to remember: food is always available later!  Don’t go on autopilot, but become mindful of your eating experience.

Pay attention to your fullness signals, be sure to honor your hunger, discard the notion that you must finish everything on your plate, increase your consciousness in order to help you identify satiety.

~Discover the satisfaction factor

When you promote pleasure as part of your eating, you find that it takes less food to decide that you have had enough.  Overeating often happens because satisfaction has been denied, so we keep eating, chasing phantom food, trying to fill a void creating by denying the satisfaction of the food we really want.  Give yourself permission to seek pleasure in your eating!  Don’t settle—eliminate the unenjoyable.

 ~Cope with your emotions without using food

Each difficult emotion has its own trigger and appeasement; food won’t fix any of these feelings, even though it might comfort and distract for a short while; if anything, it makes you feel worse in the long run.

 ~Respect your body

Accept your genetic blueprint.  Just as a person with a shoe size of 8 would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size 6, it is equally as futile to have the same expectation for body size.  Respect your body so you can feel better about who you are.  Work against being unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

Appreciate the parts of your body you like, quit comparing you to everybody else, stop body bashing, buy clothes that fit…

~Exercise—feel the difference

Get active and enjoy! Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body!  Get active in daily living and make exercise fun while making it a nonnegotiable priority.

~Honor your health—gentle nutrition

Variety, moderation and balance!  Feed your metabolism, concentrate on fiber, and lots of water!  Eat good fats, spread your protein throughout your day…

Sounds like NEWAY, doesn’t it?


Comments on: "Intuitive Eating" (4)

  1. I have used Evelyn Tribole’s cookbooks for years. They are “Healthy Homestyle Cooking” and “More Healthy Homestyle Cooking”. When I saw the “Intuitive Eating” book on one of your posts, I bought it for my Kindle and read it right away. I have been following the principles for the past couple of months. I am not doing it perfectly, but I have lost weight and feel so much better with freedom from the guilt of constant dieting. In my life, I have lost and gained 150+ pounds. Obviously. dieting does not work for me! The freedom to choose what to eat is great. Because of my strong relationship with dieting, I am often able to make a sensible choice of what to eat. I printed out the principles you list above (from the back of the book) from Evelyn’s website and keep them handy. I am still struggling with the bedtime binges, but I think that I am improving. I would recommend these principles anyone who is interested – give it a try.

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