10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch is a popular book with the anti-diet movement.  It is also a commonly used text for those in eating disorder recovery. It is built on the premise that every person has the innate wisdom to eat and maintain a healthy weight without using traditional restrictive diet methods.  Tribole and Resch believe children are capable of making correct food choices and consuming all necessary vitamins and nutrients without parental interference. As children grow up, they are bombarded by food messages from parents, advertisers and society. They lose their innate food wisdom, gain weight as they age, and unfortunately turn to dieting in an attempt to control their weight. Each restrictive diet phase leads to a rebound binge phase.  This results in more weight gain.  The only way to permanently lose weight is to stop dieting altogether.   

Tribole and Resch have outlined 10 principles to break free of dieting and rediscover the intuitive eater within:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality. Stop believing that a diet will fix your weight problem. Banish forever the thought that the next trendy diet will fix everything.
  2. Honor Your Hunger. Eat whenever you feel hungry. Throw away conventional notions of when is the “right” time to eat.  
  3. Make Peace with Food. Grant yourself unconditional permission to eat.
  4. Challenge the Food Police. Stop categorizing foods as “good” or “bad.” Broccoli becomes the same as chocolate cake—both to be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a healthy diet.
  5. Feel Your Fullness. Learn to feed yourself to comfortable fullness.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor. Learn to savor your food and make eating a pleasurable experience.
  7. Cope with Your Emotions Without Using Food. Identify emotional triggers and find constructive ways to deal with them instead of turning to food.
  8. Respect Your Body. Accept yourself as you are and embrace your body type.
  9. Exercise—Feel the Difference. Experience exercise as a fun way to release stress and feel good, not something to be seen as punishment.
  10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition. As one becomes more comfortable with intuitive eating, incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.