Fundamentals of Intuitive Eating

person enjoying eating their food

What is intuitive eating, and can I just eat whatever I want when I practice? Dr. Goelz discusses how to start intuitive eating, and the many benefits of slowing down and enjoying.  

What is Intuitive Eating? 

Intuitive eating is a way of being mindful while you eat. We often get so caught up in our busy modern lives that mealtime becomes more of an afterthought than a priority. We eat in the car, scarf down a meal before rushing the kids to soccer, pick at some leftovers while working to meet a deadline, or skip meals entirely. Sometimes we open a bag of chips intending only to eat a few handfuls and suddenly realize we’re at the bottom of the bag! Or we demonize certain foods as “bad” and feel shame, guilt, and even fear when we “cheat” and eat these foods.   

Intuitive eating aims to eliminate this negativity around food and eating and instead promotes listening to, trusting, and appreciating your body. Through a series of steps based on the ten principles of intuitive eating, you learn to listen to your body as it tells you what it really wants to eat and how much. This allows you to enjoy eating again without restriction and fear. It also supports body positivity and helps you accept your body as it is, with less judgment and criticism.2

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Below are the 10 Principles of Intuitive eating from the Original Intuitive Eating Pros. These principles are a great starting point to decision making and how to create a better relationship with what you eat.

 1. Reject the diet mentality. 2. Honor your hunger. 3. Make peace with food. 4. Challenge the food police 5. Respect your fullness. 6. Discover the satisfaction factor. 7. Honor your feelings without using food. 8. Respect your body. 9. Exercise - feel the difference. 10. Honor your health.

Can I Just Eat Whatever I Want Then? 

Intuitive eating promotes unconditional permission to eat in order to help free yourself from fear, restriction, and unhealthy yoyo dieting. But this does not mean eating unlimited amounts of unhealthy junk food. Enjoying a diet that fulfills your nutritional requirements and promotes health at every size is the goal of intuitive eating. You will work with your naturopathic doctor to learn how different foods make you feel and how to make choices based on what you discover. 

Who Can Benefit From Intuitive Eating?1 

Everyone! Intuitive eating is a great way to improve your relationship with food and with your body. It is particularly helpful for anyone who: 

  • Is sick of being caught in the dieting cycle  
  • Wants a better relationship with their body  
  • Is overcoming disordered eating  
  • Wants to get rid of fear and restriction  
  • Wants to enjoy food again 
  • Wants to set a good example for their children around food  

How Can I Start Intuitive Eating Now? 

  • Take time to cook a meal for yourself  
  • Enjoy every bite of your meal 
  • Chew slowly 
  • Turn off the TV 
  • Pause before each meal and think of something that makes you grateful 

Next Steps towards a Healthy Relationship with Food

A naturopathic doctor can provide you with an individualized treatment plan to help you establish a healthy relationship with food. 

Call Bastyr University Clinic at (858) 246-9730 or Bastyr Center for Natural Health at (206) 834-4100 to schedule your appointment today!  

Linna Goelz is a licensed naturopathic physician practicing at Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego, CA. She believes the body has an innate ability to heal itself when given the proper tools and environment. Her clinical interests include anxiety, depression, trauma recovery, insomnia, women’s health, hormonal imbalance, and gastrointestinal concerns. 

References 

  1. Wilson, R. E., Marshall, R. D., Murakami, J. M., & Latner, J. D. (2020). Brief non-dieting intervention increases intuitive eating and reduces dieting intention, body image dissatisfaction, and anti-fat attitudes: A randomized controlled trial. Appetite, 148, 104556. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104556 

  1. Wolfram, T. (2018). 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. Retrieved from https://www.taylorwolfram.com/6-common-questions-intuitive-eating/ 

 

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