10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Have you ever heard of intuitive eating? This beneficial approach, which encourages you to respect your individual needs, offers several advantages for your health. In this post, Karine Gravel, nutritionist and doctor of nutrition introduces intuitive eating and its 10 basic principles, formulated by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. 

Do you have a healthy relationship with food?

What is intuitive eating? 

Backed by scientific data, intuitive eating is often suggested as an alternative solution to weight-loss diets. Targeting psychological signals linked to hunger and satiety to regulate food intake, its goal is to stabilize your weight in the long term and take emotions related to food into consideration. It also claims that food preferences ensure the quality of what you eat. Intuitive eating invites you to be conscious of what motivates you to eat beyond hunger and wanting to feel satiated, but without judgment. 

The 10 basic principles of this approach

1. Reject the diet mentality

The human body cannot be seen as a simple container for calories, which can be added or eliminated at will, as many weight-loss diets would have you believe. Karine Gravel invites you to reflect: how do you feel when you think about weight-loss diets?

2. Honour your hunger

Hunger is an indication of how much time you can wait before eating, rather than the quantity of food linked to satiety. Ask yourself the following: do you ever eat beyond your needs because of an intense feeling of hunger?

3. Make peace with food

Not allowing yourself to eat certain foods can lead to feeling deprived. This feeling can affect your food choices and/or the quantity of food you desire. Which foods have you been trying to avoid eating?

4. Challenge the food police

Your mind can be occupied by different food-related thoughts. For example, putting yourself down for having eaten a piece of cake is harmful. With this in mind, the nutritionist and doctor of nutrition invites you to reflect on common thoughts linked with certain foods. 

5. Discover the pleasure of eating

Pleasure can be found in food’s different properties, such as taste, smell, and texture, helping us appreciate them with all five senses. How important is eating among all your sources of pleasure?

6. Consider your feeling of fullness

Your feeling of fullness tells you how much food is necessary for your stomach to feel comfortable, but not your head. What usually causes you to stop eating?

7. Cope with your emotions with kindness

Food can be an outlet for unexpressed emotions. Some people eat to reward, comfort, distract, or even punish themselves. Are certain emotions likely to encourage you to eat?

8. Respect your body

Respecting your body involves accepting your natural weight, i.e. the ideal weight for your health. Your natural weight tends to stay quite stable and does not require huge efforts to maintain. Karine invites you to identify which parts of your body you like best, and that serve you well.

9. Movement⁠—Feel the difference 

Exercising just to “burn calories” is usually not an effective way of staying motivated in the long run. Do you take your personal preferences into account when choosing your physical activities?

10. Honour your health⁠—Gentle nutrition

Diet should be considered with an overall view: a single food cannot be responsible for deficiencies, maintaining your health, or causing weight gain. Do you look at your diet from a global perspective?