What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to eating that emphasizes tuning in to one’s own hunger and fullness cues, and allowing oneself to eat what they truly desire and need, rather than following strict diets or external rules. Intuitive eating is about reclaiming ones birthright to eat and enjoy all foods without guilt or worry. It’s about unlearning the lies of diet culture that profits off our collective body shame. It’s about redefining what it means to be “healthy.” Intuitive eating helps individuals restore trust with their bodies that dieting has disrupted.

Who invented Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating was created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole RDN and Elyse Resch RDN in the 1990s.
Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch created Intuitive Eating as a response to the diet mentality and the failed results of traditional diets. They wanted to provide a non-diet approach to help individuals develop a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body by trusting their innate hunger and fullness cues. Intuitive Eating was created as an alternative to the traditional dieting approach, which often leads to yo-yo dieting (chronic dieting), binge eating, and a negative body image. They book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet approach is now in its 4th edition.

Chronic dieting can have numerous negative effects, including:

  • Weight fluctuations: dieting often leads to weight fluctuations, also known as “weight cycling” which is linked to an increase in cardiovascular risk factors, such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, and circulating levels of glucose, lipids and insulin.
  • Binge eating: chronic dieting can lead to binge eating and loss of control around food.
  • Worsens body image: chronic dieting can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem, confidence and often exacerbates body image issues.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: dieting can lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition.
  • Metabolic slowdown: chronic dieting causes the metabolism to slow down, making it more likely weight will increase over time.
  • Increased stress: dieting increases stress and anxiety, which is harmful for our nervous system long term.
  • Disordered eating: chronic dieting leads to disordered eating patterns and an unhealthy relationship with food/body. Dieting is a risk factor in the development of more serious eating disorders.

Here are the ten principles of Intuitive Eating:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality: let go of dieting, throw out the diet books and trackers, get angry at the lies diet culture has led you to believe that your body is the problem.
  2. Honor Your Hunger: Relearn to listen and trust your body’s physical hunger signals. Relearn how to eat enough food to nourish yourself and break out of the restrict-binge-guilt cycle of eating.
  3. Make Peace with Food: Give yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods. Deprivation of “forbidden” foods only increases food cravings which results in Last Supper overeating and subsequent guilt.
  4. Challenge the Food Police: Unlearn the lies and other negative conditioning from diet culture. The food police tries to control your eating with judgments about what to eat and what not to eat. This only causes us to eat in rebellion.
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Reclaim your birthright to eat food you love. Feed yourself in ways that feel good and promote satisfaction with eating that results in a more relaxed and joyful relationship to food.
  6. Feel Your Fullness: Begin to discover when your body is full and satisfied. Practice feeding yourself in ways that restore a sense of control around when to stop eating.
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness: Develop self- compassion around the ways we use food to cope with life’s difficult emotions. Discover unmet intrinsic needs that the food behaviors serve and find alternative ways to meet those needs without involving food as the primary way to cope.
  8. Respect Your Body: Accept and respect body diversity. You have a unique genetic blueprint that is perfect and doesn’t need to change. Diet culture tells you your body is the problem. It’s not. Our toxic culture needs to change.
  9. Movement- Feel the Difference. Shift the focus to how it feels to move the body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. Heal exercise resistance and exercise addiction.
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition: Make food choices that honor your health and respect your body. Ditch perfectionism and  healthism .

Is Intuitive Eating right for you?

Intuitive eating may be right for you if:

  • You have a history of dieting and yo-yo dieting, and are tired of feeling restricted and deprived when it comes to food.
  • You struggle with body image issues and have a negative relationship with your body.
  • You often eat in response to emotions or stress, rather than because you are hungry.
  • You feel like food rules and restrictions control your life, and you want to feel more freedom and flexibility with your eating habits.
  • You want to improve your overall physical and emotional well-being and break the cycle of disordered eating.
  • You want to feel confident to go anywhere and eat anything without guilt and shame.
  • You want to stop apologizing for your size/shape and feel at home in your body.

What is intuitive eating coaching?

Intuitive eating coaching is a type of coaching that helps individuals adopt and integrate the principles of Intuitive Eating and develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. Coaches who specialize in Intuitive Eating provide guidance, support, and education to help their clients develop a positive mindset, improve their physical and emotional well-being, and break free from the cycle of dieting and disordered eating. (It’s important to work with someone who is Certified and credentialed otherwise “wellness coaches” that do not have the education and in depth training might cause unintentional harm. I say this because IE has been co-opted by a lot of folks who say they are IE but actually are promoting/selling weight loss. Yes, I am a “certified IE coach as well as a registered dietitian and practice from a weight neutral/health at every size orientation).

Intuitive eating coaching may involve intention/goal setting, identifying and challenging limiting beliefs, learning new habits and skills, and practicing self-care and self-compassion.

The goal of intuitive eating coaching is to help individuals feel confident and empowered in their food choices and to help them develop a healthy and joyful relationship with food and their bodies.

How long does the intuitive eating coaching process take?

It’s important to note that Intuitive Eating is not a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all solution. It takes time and effort to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body, but the results are life-changing.

If you have been dieting for many years, it will take some time to unravel from the conditioning of diet culture. At the very least, coaching is 3 to 6 months long. This is about how long it takes most folks to integrate all of the ten principals of intuitive eating. Unlike a diet which is short term and chaotic, intuitive eating is a process that anchors you to your internal locus of control creating lasting sustainable behavior change.

In many ways, dieting is easier with its concrete “plan” that gives immediate sense of control, intuitive eating is more subjective and messy. It asks you to unlearn the lies of diet culture so that your truth can emerge from within. Once you can access your intuition, your inner guidance system, this is yours to keep forever.

Coaching with Karen Louise will help you to…
  • Break out of the diet-binge-guilt cycle so you can free up your precious time and energy for other things. What a relief
  • Together we work to expand your self-awareness, reconnect with your body’s inner wisdom, and reclaim your birthright to trust your body again. Body trust is your birthright!
  • Through this process, you will find yourself feeling more comfortable and confident in your body – no matter what your size. You learn how to stop blaming yourself and your body.
  • Together, we let go of dieting (slowly for some!), challenge limiting beliefs and break free from the diet-binge-guilt cycle.
  • You reclaim your sovereignty back from diet culture.You reclaim your life and power back.
Maybe you’ve heard of intuitive eating but feel stuck?
Maybe it’s scary to think about really letting go of dieting?

I hear you! I was also once a “chronic dieter” ( read my story here ). Maybe you feel like you’ve hit your “diet bottom”- you are done with chronic dieting. You know you can’t go on another diet again. You know it just leads to more misery, more anxiety and more hopelessness.

Maybe you feel scared to let go of dieting because it’s the only thing your’ve known for so long. This is so normal!

You are familiar with the struggle:

  • You’re exhausted with yoyo-dieting and feeling like a failure.
  • You shame/judge/criticize yourself about your body or with food.
  • You struggle with “emotional eating/binge eating/stress eating.”
  • You want to “listen” and “trust” your body, but you don’t know how.
  • You never feel worthy/attractive/good enough because of your body size/weight.
  • You feel like your food/body struggles are holding you back from living the life you want.
  • You want to take “better care” of yourself and be healthy (physically, emotionally, mentally) but feel stuck with self-sabotage.
  • You’ve been working on “Intuitive Eating” but it’s confusing and you’re not sure if you’re doing it “right.”

If you can relate to any or all of the above statements, then you are in the right place to begin entertaining the idea of intuitive eating.

What can you promise me if I do intuitive eating coaching?

While I can’t promise you anything, I can only speak from my own lived experience as someone who was once addicted to dieting. After many years of working with my own intuitive eating coach, I found recovery and freedom from this struggle. I know that sounds simple and maybe even too good to be true. But it didn’t happen overnight. It was a messy process of unlearning and one of deep self inquiry and discovery. And, I am still on the path of learning and unlearning as the work is never done.

Intuitive eating will help you to…
  • Befriend your body at a deep level. You turn inward to your body’s cues for what, when, and how much to eat (as well as movement too).
  • The ability to eat ALL foods without guilt and obsession, anywhere, anytime, because fear and scarcity no longer run the show!
  • You can go to the beach and wear whatever bathing suit you want without avoiding photos and without fear of getting caught in a body shame spiral.
  • You will feel a sense of peace and feel “in control” around food. You keep ALL your favorite foods at home without fear of overeating on them.
  • You wake up every morning without obsessing about what to eat or not eat. Thinking about food takes up a lot less mental space. Eating is fun and enjoyable again as it was when you were a child.
  • Your inner critic has chilled the F out, and your healthy Self is stronger and louder.
  • You have your life back and your precious time and energy is used for other more meaningful things.
  • You define health and success on your own terms, based on your values rather than society’s unrealistic (and oppressive) expectations.
  • You no longer put your life on hold until your lose “the weight.” You decide to learn a new sport/hobby, join a social club, go back to school, get a new partner, the list is endless!
  • Your nervous system can finally relax creating the energetic parameters for deeper healing and joy to thrive.

I want this for you. If you are curious about finding food freedom from food and weight worries, book a free call with me here … I look forward to hearing from you.

Much love

Karen Louise

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Karen Louise Scheuner, MA, RDN

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