Written by Millie Padula.
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist & Founder of Dietitian Edition.
Nutrition professionals around the world are drastically changing their dietary interventions from restrictive, rule-centric, guideline-driven recommendations to intuitive and more mindful approaches, and quite frankly - we couldn’t be happier about it.
Most of us are aware of the damaging effects of the diet industry: disordered eating, body dysmorphia, poor relationships with food, low self-esteem, obsessive behaviours, increased incidence of anxiety and depression, the list goes on. As a Dietitian, I’m beyond relieved to be a part of a movement that steps away from diet culture and centre my practise around an initiative that has nothing to do with meal plans, diets, excluding food groups, willpower or discipline, and focuses wholeheartedly on tuning into your bodies signals and eating in a way that makes you feel your best!
Without further a-do, I welcome you to the concept of intuitive eating. Let’s get into it!
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating (IE) is a not a diet. It’s entirely the opposite in fact.
Created by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch 26 years ago, intuitive eating encourages individuals to step away from traditional eating patterns adopted with a diet mentality (counting macronutrients and calories and measuring portions and food groups) and shift their focus to the body’s internal cues such as hunger, fullness and satisfaction.
Put simply, eating intuitively allows you to gain back an understanding of your purpose to eat, whether it be boredom, stress, actual hunger or something entirely different. Most of us (unfortunately), can’t decipher the difference because we have been so out of tune with our bodies and ruled by diet culture for as long as we can remember. Thankfully, the practise of eating intuitively encapsulates instinct, emotion and rationality to help you make the most informed decision about what and why you choose to eat!
You feel like chocolate, and I mean genuinely feel like it, however ‘diet culture’ tells you that chocolate is ‘bad’ so instead you eat an apple. Not surprisingly, you feel unsatisfied. You then proceed to have 2 medjool dates and still feel unsatisfied. You then give in to eating the chocolate anyway, and likely end up consuming more than you had originally anticipated. You feel guilty, tell yourself you won’t do it again and we are back to square one (of the chocolate too). Sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. If you had honoured your cravings and listened to your body in the first place i.e. eaten intuitively, instead of relying on a set of rules or restrictions, you would have eaten the chocolate, enjoyed it and moved on with your day!
Chocolate was never the problem; it’s always been the diet industry.
Here’s how to eat more intuitively:
For individualised dietary advice, always seek assistance from an Accredited Practising Dietitian. If you were at all triggered by this article or need further medical advice, please see your doctor.