Marissa Kai Miluk
					

Intuitive eating is growing in popularity and with good reason. It’s becoming more and more apparent that diets don’t work and you don’t need to restrict your favorite foods in order to live a healthful life.

If you don’t know, intuitive eating is an eating philosophy that encourages you to listen to your body. The term was first coined in 1995 by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who recognized patterns in their own clients who struggled with yoyo-dieting and weight cycling. They wrote the book Intuitive Eating to help more people breakup with dieting and learn to listen to the innate wisdom of their body.

Intuitive eating is all about rejecting dieting and coming back into your own body. Everybody is different, with different needs to feel best. No single diet works for everyone.

The trouble that some may have when adopting intuitive eating is that there is no foundation of body trust. When you’ve been ignoring your body’s signals in order to adhere to external diet rules, your body stops trying so hard to get you to listen. Signals become unreliable, for example, you may only feel your hunger when you’re ravenous, making it virtually impossible to just “listen to your body.” This can be overwhelming at first but the good news is, this won’t last forever. With time and consistency, your body will begin to trust you again and start sending more reliable fullness signals and better regulate your appetite so you can listen to your body.

So what can you do to make the transition away from diet culture and towards intuitive eating easier?

1. Acknowledge the 10 Principles

Intuitive eating is often misinterpreted as a “hunger/fullness diet”. While honoring your hunger and fullness are important parts of intuitive eating, there are 10 principles to help you tune into your body’s needs. These principles are guidelines to bring you back into your body- mentally, emotionally, and physically.

 

2. Prioritize Basic Needs

Years of dieting can leave you in a state of fight-or-flight, where your body creates extreme cravings and urges to overeat based on our primal hunger for enough food. Work on nurturing back your appetite by prioritizing 3 meals per day consistently. When your body sees there is reliable, adequate access to food, you’ll find your appetite begin to regulate again so you won’t always feel the need to go 0 to 100.

 

3. Get curious to how your body already speaks to you

Intuitive eating is all about gathering data on how your body speaks to you. What eating patterns and behaviors make you feel good versus not so good? What are your early signs of hunger? When do you feel emerging fullness? What general eating patterns help you feel satisfied longer? What happens when you wait too long between meals to eat again? Asking yourself general questions without judgment can help you find exactly what eating patterns and foods make you feel your best–without any rules telling you what that means! Bring the trust back into your own body by listening to it.

 

4. Eat without distraction

We live in an era of distraction. While it can be nice to enjoy a meal in front of the TV sometimes, when beginning your intuitive eating journey, it’s ideal to eat without distractions so you can really listen in to your hunger/fullness levels. Your body will tell you exactly how much you need if we’re able to pay attention, but if you’re distracted, it’s easy to miss those signals and eat past comfortable fullness.

 

5. Embrace trial-and-error

Dieting leaves little room to be human. There’s so much shame in having a “cheat day”, skipping a workout, or overeating. We are human, we are destined to over and under-eat sometimes. The point is not to always be perfectly satisfied; that would be sad and a missed opportunity for the enjoyment of a birthday cupcake or Italian gelato. It’s okay to eat just to eat and not always stop when perfectly satisfied. Give yourself grace. You’re learning how to listen to your body again, without all the noise of diet culture around you.

 

If you take anything from this blog post, it’s that intuitive eating is not meant to be “perfect”. There are no rules. This is about finally getting back in the driver’s seat of your own eating patterns. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, and it can be so liberating to finally make decisions based on that truth!

Marissa Kai Miluk

About the Author

Marissa Kai Miluk is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Binge Eating Coach. Marissa works with individuals who struggle with their relationship with food and body image. She specializes in binge eating and through her practice she helps individuals break free from restrictive eating patterns and reclaim trust with their body to move towards a more compassionate approach to health and well-being. When she isn't working with clients she enjoys spreading the Anti-Diet message on Instagram @binge.nutritionist and through her podcast, Behind The Binge.

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