Intuitive eating is exactly as it sounds. It has been described as ‘an empowerment tool’ to help ‘liberate yourself from the prison of diet culture and weight obsession,’ by Evelyn Tribole, a US-based dietician and one of the two experts behind this ‘revolutionary program that works.’ It was first featured in the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works by the authors Evelyn and nutrition therapist Elyse Resch in 1995. Intuitive Eating requires ‘body awareness’ and essentially ‘honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs.’
This is similar to mindful eating which is listening to your body about what it wants to eat and much it wants to eat. This means that unlike a lot of other diets including ketogenic diet, Intuitive Eating doesn’t believe in skipping a whole category of foods (like carbohydrates in keto diet). The experts insist that Intuitive Eating shouldn’t be looked upon as a diet or food plan but rather as a ‘journey of self-discovery and connection to the needs of your mind and body.’ It doesn’t believe in counting calories, carbs, points, or macros, simply because these kind of weight loss diets are not known to be sustainable and could, in fact, lead to more weight gain, according to various studies. Evelyn writes in her blog on www.intuitiveeating.org, ‘Ultimately, you are the expert of your body. Only you know what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feel like. Only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.’
Some of the principles that Intuitive Eating experts extol include:
Keep your feelings in mind while eating: Take the time to assess your satisfaction levels during your meals: do you feel comfortably full? Should you eat more?
Don’t feel guilty about eating a group of food: When your restrict consumption of a particular group of food, it leads to more yearning for that food. This deprivation could lead to overeating and weight gain.
Don’t give into emotional or stress eating: Any eating that’s associated with feelings can never be god for your body. A heartbreak is no excuse to indulge in that whole tub of ice cream. This will not make you feel better; it will only make you gain more weight.
Don’t exercise with weight loss in mind: Instead, keep in mind how good your body feels after a run or a workout and let that be a motivation for you to exercise every day.