What is intuitive eating? Principles and tips to practice it – Insider – INSIDER

Posted: January 27, 2021 at 12:53 pm


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Intuitive eating is a great way to change your relationship with food, without needing to count calories or cut out specific foods from your diet. Intuitive eating is all about listening to your body and eating according to your body's needs. The focus of intuitive eating is not on weight loss, but on mindfulness.

Here's what you need to know about intuitive eating as well as how to do it.

Intuitive eating involves eating when you are physically hungry and stopping when you feel full. Essentially, it encourages you to listen to your body to guide your eating habits, says Erin Holley, RD, registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

"The principles of intuitive eating will help you reconnect with that innate ability to eat without other messages clouding what, when, and how much to eat," says Holley.

The practice of intuitive eating comes from a book called Intuitive Eating written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Originally published in 1995, the book is now in its fourth edition, and the practice of intuitive eating is still recommended by dietitians and nutritionists.

There are 10 principles of intuitive eating, according to the book.

Unlike a traditional diet, nothing is specifically off-limits with intuitive eating. There is no limiting of specific foods or counting of calories.

"This isn't a diet. It's really about changing your relationship with food and having more awareness and attunement with your own body and eating in response to that," says Holley.

Additionally, intuitive eating focuses on a more holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle.

"The overall idea of those principles is that complicated and restrictive diets tend to fail and the most important goal is to focus on a healthy diet and lifestyle," says Artur Viana, MD, clinical director of the Metabolic Health & Weight Loss Program at Yale Medicine.

For example, Viana says intuitive eating allows you to appreciate food that you enjoy that you might not be "permitted" to eat when you're on pre-packaged or fad diets.

Plus, Viana says intuitive eating is really based on listening to your own body, particularly the cues it gives you related to hunger and fullness, as well as how you respond to emotions, and the role of food in your life.

A 2014 meta-analysis of 26 studies concluded that intuitive eating is a great way to maintain weight and possibly improve health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Additionally, Viana says intuitive eating is related to better body image and is also used to treat and prevent eating disorders such as binge eating.

Another 2014 review of 20 studies found that intuitive eating was associated with positive psychological benefits including better self-esteem and quality of life, and less depression and anxiety.

Important: Intuitive eating does not promise weight loss, Holley says. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as a way to lose weight, she says they are probably promoting a diet alongside it, which goes against the principles of intuitive eating.

There are several actionable ways that you can practice intuitive eating. Some tips include:

Intuitive eating may not be for everybody. "Intuitive eating is just another framework to think about lifestyle, and not necessarily the only or best approach to food," says Viana.

If you aren't sure if intuitive eating is the best approach for you, be sure to talk to your doctor to determine if intuitive eating would be a good fit.

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January 27th, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Nutrition