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  • Madi Hahn

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating: Principle 2

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

Honor Your Hunger

Principle #2 of Intuitive Eating is Honoring your Hunger. While it seems like something we already do, you might be surprised at how often our diet culture brain tells us to override this simple bodily mechanism that keeps us alive.

To understand the relevance of this principle, we can apply it to our daily lives. Have you ever had a day where you wanted to eat, but hadn’t been able to for an extended amount of time? Maybe you were out doing errands or were busy at work and couldn’t make the time to eat lunch. As the day goes on, you might think about food more and more, and on your drive home, you feel a bit faint and maybe have a rumbling stomach. By the time you get home and are ready to eat, you want to eat fast and you want to eat as much as you can. This is a simple example of our body’s primal instinct to make sure we remain nourished.

Overriding our Hunger Cues

When we override our hunger cues (this can include thoughts like “I won’t eat past 8pm even though I’m starving” or “I’m going out to dinner tonight, so I’ll skip lunch today to save my appetite.”) we are placing our bodies into survival mode. While this is something that is often framed as ‘self-control’, it is actually just us challenging our body’s natural instinct to make sure we have enough energy for the day.

Here’s the biggest hint when it comes to Honoring your Hunger: When you’re hungry, eat! By always providing our bodies with nourishment when it’s telling us it needs it, we can establish a relationship of trust within our bodies, which in turn leads to less overeating and feeling more in-control around food. Eventually, our body will no longer panic and obsess over food when it is not available to us, and we will better learn when our bodies don’t need food at the moment. If our body knows we will give it energy whenever it tells us to, then this primal “panic” will never have to set in. At the end of the day, Intuitive Eating aids us in becoming one with our body and understanding all of its hunger cues. After building some trust back, we’ll be able to re-learn this lovely survival instinct we have been given!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn more about Intuitive Eating Principles 3-10!


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