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  • Madi Hahn

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating: Principle 1

Post written by Madi Hahn, Dietetics Student

Intuitive Eating was developed in 1995 by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch as an anti-diet approach to eating. The concept has gained popularity in recent years as research continues to support the idea that restrictive diets not only don’t last, but also have adverse effects on health. Together, they published a book titled Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, breaking the approach into 10 principles to follow – all backed by research and supplemented with tips from Tribole (MS, RDN, CEDRD-S) and Resch (MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND).

In this series, we’ll be outlining all 10 aspects, starting with number 1 – Reject the diet mentality.

  1. Reject the diet mentality

  2. Honor your hunger

  3. Make peace with food

  4. Challenge the food police

  5. Discover the satisfaction factor

  6. Feel your fullness

  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness

  8. Respect your body

  9. Movement – feel the difference

  10. Honor your health – gentle nutrition

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

Rejecting the diet mentality is the first principle of Intuitive Eating focused on reframing the mindset of the eater. Research has proven time and time again that dieting is often not the answer to health or body image issues. In fact, the restrictive nature of them often has negative effects, such as Diet Backlash.

What is Diet Backlash?

If you’ve ever attempted a diet or multiple, you might be familiar with the vicious cycle that often comes with them. Beginning the restrictive diet, holding out as long as you can, and eventually ending with eating episodes of the “sinful” foods you’ve been trying to avoid, leaving you feeling like you’ve failed. The science behind Intuitive Eating tells us that it’s not actually you… it’s the diet itself failing you! Diet Backlash are the symptoms that result from your body after dieting. This includes increased cravings for “bad” foods, post-dieting binges, no longer being able to trust yourself around food, a slowed metabolism, and more. It’s quite often that these diets aren’t meant to be permanent… so these symptoms tend to occur, only hindering whatever progress you were attempting to make. The good news is that the Intuitive Eating concept recognizes this and can help to dig you out in order to live a happier, healthier life where you don’t feel imprisoned by diet culture.

Often, the draw of dieting is to keep the food you eat under control. In Intuitive Eating, ‘control’ is not a concern – the idea is that by following your body’s internal cues and cravings, you’ll always feel in control of yourself around food. If nothing is forbidden and all foods are allowed at all times, why would you ever feel a need to “veg out”? Rejecting the diet mentality allows for you to finally feel at peace with yourself. There’s no need for self-control here. Instead, just enjoy the foods you’re feeling at the time and move on – it’s what your body wants!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn more about Intuitive Eating Principles 2-10!


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