3 Steps to Intuitive Eating
By Ali Spencer, RD
Mar 31, 2017
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Intuitive eating is a principle that can change the way you think about food — and the way you eat.
Based on a book by Evelyn Tribole, titled The Intuitive Eating Principle, intuitive eating points out the downside of the diet mentality. Instead of counting, weighing, and obsessing, you learn to make peace with food, honor your hunger, and really listen to your innate body cues. This idea of intuitive eating is based on 10 principles, but the first three are where you should start. They are:
The first principle of intuitive eating is to reject the diet mentality. You need to recognize that diets don’t work. Everyone’s been on a diet at some point, right? You’re on a diet for two weeks, it doesn’t work, you give up, then you swing the other way and end up overcompensating. This pattern doesn’t work and it isn’t doing your body any favors. So the first step you should take is to say, “Hey, no more diets.”
The second principle of intuitive eating is to honor your hunger. A lot of times when you’re trying to lose weight, you think, “I shouldn’t eat if I’m hungry.” That’s not the case. You can eat food when you’re hungry and still lose weight. You need to recognize when you’re feeling hungry, and honor that. You just need to eat something that’s healthy and nutritious.
The third principle of intuitive eating is to make peace with food. Everyone can think of foods that are “forbidden.” That is, foods that are off limits, and foods you shouldn’t eat if you’re trying to lose weight. Intuitive eating swings away from that because it doesn’t work. As soon as you make food forbidden, it holds power over you. Maybe you feel out of control around ice cream or chocolate. Making peace with food and saying, “all foods can fit,” is a really good place to start. If it’s not forbidden, then you can make room in your life and your fridge for everything.
When you reject the diet mentality, learn to honor your hunger, and make peace with food, you’re better prepared to practice intuitive eating. Intuitive eating can transform your life and the way you think about food and yourself.