Intuitive Eating: Eat What You Want and Don’t Get Fat

Health Tips

Basic Rules

  • “Forget about diets” is the first recommendation for those who want to switch to intuitive eating. By limiting ourselves to a certain food, we make it super-significant. That is why any diet most often ends with a breakdown and self-flagellation: “And so fat, I ate again”, “Willless, I could not resist.”
  • Enjoy your favorite food. This appeal seems to have nothing to do with gaining harmony. Most dieters think something like this: “I definitely won’t lose weight if I eat what I really want – dumplings or chocolate cake.” Yes, perhaps at first the choice will be in favor of unhealthy dishes. But since they are no longer banned, the desire to satisfy their hunger will gradually fade away.
  • Love your body. This means that it is worth abandoning the imposed standards and expectations to see a specific number on the scales. Don’t look at the scale at all. The best weight is the one you are comfortable with.

Although the concept of intuitive eating at first glance promises permissiveness, this is not entirely true. Yes, there are no external restrictions on sweet, fatty, starchy foods and late snacking. But the ideologists of the system are strongly advised to follow the “internal limiters” – the feeling of hunger and satiety. On the one hand, you need to satisfy your appetite on time (simply because then you will want to eat much more). On the other hand, you need to get up from the table on time. To do this, it is worth pausing and asking yourself if you like the dish and how full you are.


The school of intuitive eating began to take shape in the 70s of the last century.

  • In 1973, physician Thame Weiler opened the world’s first clinic in Vermont (Green Mountain at Fox Run), which still exists today. Thanks to a conscious approach to nutrition and a variety of activities (yoga, needlework, etc.), patients manage to lose weight without diets and restrictions.
  • In 1978, a book by psychotherapists Jane Hirschmann and Carol Münter, Overcoming Overeating (“Overcoming Overeating”), was published in the United States, declaring that constant restrictions are a dead end in the fight against extra pounds and that eating in accordance with body signals leads to weight stabilization. She became a bestseller.
  • In the mid 90s. American publishing house St. Martin’s Griffin invites two doctors to organize information about intuitive eating, making it more understandable, and publish a book. In 1995, a kind of textbook by nutritionists Evelyn Triboli and Eliza Resh, Intuitive Eating, was published. From that moment on, the term “intuitive eating” goes to the masses, and the system becomes an ideology.
  • In 2006, Ohio University psychologist Tracey Tealka conducted a series of studies that made the intuitive approach to nutrition scientifically sound. The questionnaire she developed made it possible to identify the main factors that determine the intuitive “eater”: he eats whatever he wants, but listens only to physical (feeling of hunger or satiety), and not emotional (the desire to gnaw something to drown out anxiety) body signals. The psychologist analyzed the data of 1,400 female intuitive eaters and found that they feel significantly better and have a lower body weight compared to dieters.

Why it works

  • The problem of overeating is only partly related to food. It’s not just what we eat that matters, but how and why we eat it. It is worth learning to encourage (or soothe) yourself without food. Every emotion – anger, boredom, fear, anxiety – has its cause. None of the problems can be solved just by eating. Food can only briefly comfort and distract. In the end, you still have to deal with the source of anxiety, but by that time you will already have time to build up those extra pounds.

With seeming permissiveness, the ideologists of intuitive eating advise choosing healthy foods. Not to lose weight, but out of respect for your body.

If you honestly listen to his requests, you will have to admit that the body does not and cannot have a need, for example, for a biscuit cake with custard. Simply because biscuits and creams do not exist in nature. Listen carefully: most likely, you just want a sweet (quick increase in blood glucose levels to get a boost of energy here and now) or something pleasant (compensate for a recent upset). In the first case, a cake will do (although a chocolate bar or sweet tea will equally satisfy you), in the second, you need to come up with an alternative source of pleasantness: sex, massage, computer games, spa treatments, dancing …

By the way, about dancing. Why does everyone have to walk 10,000 steps a day? Maybe it’s better to dance one samba? The same rule applies to physical activity as to food: you decide how much and what to do. You can go to a fitness club, run, swim, waltz, or just walk in the park – the main thing is that it is fun. When you at least once feel a charge of energy after class, you can determine what is better: lie in bed for a couple more minutes in the morning or do morning exercises.

American doctor Stephen Hawkes, who lost more than 20 kg of excess weight, called the above principles the nutrition of common sense. “It’s funny,” he said, “but if we abandon the rules and restrictions and learn to eat intuitively in accordance with the signals of our body, this will practically not differ from the generally accepted norms of healthy eating.”

Read also:

Body Signals: What Your Body Needs

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