Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch wrote the book "Intuitive Eating" in 1995.
Since then there have been hundreds of studies contributing to it becoming an evidenced based approach to eating. Tribole and Resch define Intuitive Eating as “a self-care eating framework, which integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought”.
Tribole says “Essentially, Intuitive Eating is a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs”.
Personal process, listening, and responding are words that often stand out to clients- sometimes bringing feelings of discomfort and fear. Intuitive Eating goes against the common social belief that we need food rules and experts to tell us what to eat in order to be healthy. That belief teaches us to trust outsiders more than our own bodies in choosing when, what, how, and why to eat.
Following rules and believing someone else knows how we “should” eat to be healthy can feel safe, but is ultimately ineffective. We are the only ones who know what it feels like to be in our bodies, so Intuitive Eating empowers individuals to connect with their bodies, becoming their own expert. Intuitive Eating encourages people to use Interoceptive Awareness to guide their food and movement choices.
“Interoceptive Awareness-the ability to identify, access, understand, and respond appropriately to the patterns of internal signals”.
Imagine waking up and drinking a glass of juice then heading to work without breakfast.
Intuitive Eating encourages people to ask how this choice makes them feel physically and mentally (ex. energy levels went up and back down quickly or you began thinking about food and had difficulty focusing an hour after consumption).
Nutrition needs vary and are influenced by a myriad of changing factors such as sleep, stress, physical activity, medical conditions, preferences, access, and more. Most of us are so busy with work, family, friends, and general “adulting” that we often don’t know why we make certain choices and how they make us feel.
For example, you chug a venti frappuccino at 6 AM on the way to work, then at 2:00 PM - eat until you are uncomfortably full.
An Intuitive Eater could recognize they didn’t get enough sleep the night before, woke up late making them not have enough time to eat breakfast so they chose a high sugar and caffeine option to feel mentally alert in order to complete tasks at work.
They would then realize the caffeine dulled their hunger cues and by the time they felt hungry at 2:00 PM their blood sugar was low and the biological drive to overeat was high.
Cultivating this level of awareness informs subsequent choices, helping the individual fuel and move their body in ways that feel good and support their goals.
Once you learn to decode the information your body is giving you, you become more effective at meeting your needs and becoming a happier-healthier individual.
Now that you know what Intuitive Eating is- be on the lookout for more information about Intuitive Eating soon, which will focus on putting it into practice.