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Intuitive Eating - What is it? 10 Guiding Principles

Intuitive Eating is a mind-body approach that allows you to be the expert of your own body without dieting, meal plans, or willpower. It puts you back in the driver's seat, teaching you how to make peace with food by allowing your intuition to guide you.

Here's an overview of Intuitive Eating and its 10 guiding principles.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based, mind-body health approach comprised of 10 principles and created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, in 1995. They developed a framework that focuses on behavior rather than the restrictions or rules based on their work with clients.

Essentially, Intuitive Eating is the complete opposite of a traditional diet. While strengthening the mind-body connection, Intuitive Eating allows you to break the cycle of chronic dieting and heal your relationship with food.

With 10 principles, you work to either cultivate or remove any barriers in becoming aware of your body-otherwise known as interoceptive awareness. By listening and responding to your body's signals, you meet your physical and psychological needs.

10 Guiding Principles

Tribole and Resch layout 10 basic principles of the Intuitive Eating philosophy:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality. Decide to reject the toxic 20 billion dollar industry of dieting that only offers false hope. Get outraged at the myths that lead you to feel like a failure every time a new diet stopped working.

2. Honor Your Hunger. Learn to honor this natural signal, as it sets the stage for strengthening your trust within food and yourself. Keep your body nourished with sufficient energy and carbs-so your primal drive to overeat isn't triggered.

3. Make Peace with Food. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. The restriction only leads to deprivation, intense cravings, and even bingeing. The intense feeling of giving in to forbidden foods usually results in overeating and guilt.

4. Challenge the Food Police. The diet culture comes with its own illogical rules and beliefs. Confront those negative thoughts, hopeless phrases, and guilt-inducing comments you have about eating that last cookie. Scattering the Food Police away is a significant step in your return to Intuitive Eating.

5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor. When was the last time you were pleased with the experience of eating? Nothing compares to the satisfaction and contentment felt when you eat what you desire in an inviting environment.

6. Feel Your Fullness. Learn to trust that you'll feed yourself the foods you desire. Pay attention to the signals your body sends when you're no longer hungry, and observe what it feels like to be adequately full.

7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness. Restriction triggers loss of control-which leads to emotional eating Practice self-compassion by discovering ways to comfort and nurture any internal matters that lead you to restrict. Discover what your triggers are for each uncomfortable emotion-such as anxiety, loneliness, or anger. Food comforts and distracts you in the short term, but it won't resolve the underlying issue.

8. Respect Your Body. Accept it for what it is at this moment. Rejecting the diet mentality is much more challenging to do with unrealistic expectations and criticisms. Release the expectations that don't serve you while you learn to respect your body and yourself.

9. Movement—Feel the Difference. Shift your perspective to the energizing and mood-boosting effects of exercise, rather than focusing on burning calories. Take note of what it feels like to gain a healthier, more motivated perspective to move your body.

10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition. You don't need a perfect diet to be healthy. Select the foods that honor your health and make you feel good. One day or choice won't make you unhealthy; it's the consistency that counts.

How You Eat is Just as Important as What You Eat

You are the expert on your body. Only you have the power to know what hunger, satisfaction, and fullness feels like. Empower yourself with Intuitive Eating and free yourself of the toxicity of diet culture, your mental and physical health will thank you.

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