Intuitive eating is a novel yet practical approach developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch to eating disorder recovery. It relies on the basic assumption that our bodies ultimately know what they need. Just as we feel thirst, we also feel hungry, and it is only by actively listening to our bodies that we can heal.
The journey for many people suffering from eating disorders is not linear. They start with the ideals of chronic dieting and diet culture and eventually return to intuitive eating. The goal is to regulate our diet mindfully to avoid binge eating and/or excessive dieting and restore our hunger cues.
Ultimately, intuitive eaters move from disordered and emotional eating to accepting their bodies and nourishing them. Therefore, intuitive eating involves taking a variety of food, having interoceptive awareness of one’s own hunger, and enjoying eating.
The Ten Principles of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating starts with structured meal plans and transitions to intuitive eating. However, that journey is only possible by embracing the following key principles.
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
We start by changing our mindset around food. Instead of rigid rules around when to eat, we listen to our inner cues and respond. Whether you do it consciously or subconsciously, you need to stop counting calories and worrying about adhering to the rules of dieting.
2. Honor Your Hunger
Starving yourself will only lead you to binge eating, so commit to fulfilling your body’s needs as it arises.
3. Make Peace With Food
Having a complicated relationship with food induces guilt and unnecessary emotional baggage. Accept all foods as good, and give yourself permission to eat without feeling bad about it.
4. Challenge the Food Police
Inaccurate information and useless rules need to go. Learn about nutrition and quiet down the internal voices telling you that eating is bad.
5. Respect Your Fullness
Listen to both your body and brain, and follow your meal plan. By eating adequate meals, you ensure that you are neither starving nor stuffed.
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
You get over both the fear of food and excessive eating by eating what you want at the moment and enjoying that.
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
It’s natural to turn towards comfort food in times of emotional stress, but learning how to extend kindness to ourselves in other meaningful ways is just as important.
8. Respect Your Body
Accept your body shape and size instead of criticizing it for how it looks.
9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
Move your body to acknowledge its presence and flexibility, and enjoy the motions.
10. Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition
Eat healthy and nutritious food without taking any pressure.
Intuitive eating for eating disorder recovery empowers individuals to understand and accept their body’s needs and eat without guilt. It redefines their idea of good and bad food, establishing the grounds for healing and recovery.
Avalon Hills is one of the country’s top eating disorder treatment centers. Contact us if you are looking for specialized dietitians and therapists who understand eating disorders.