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What Is Intuitive Eating?

If You're Fed Up With Diets and Just Want to Eat What You Want, Make This Lifestyle Change

What Is Intuitive Eating?
Image Source: Getty / Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

When I was preschool teaching and eating lunch at the tiny tables, a 5-year-old girl said to me, "I'm not allowed to drink juice because it'll make me fat." Five years old! As young women, we are sent a strong message to look a certain way and to fear fat, and it drives us to start dieting. If you can relate to being on one diet or another for most of your life, it's time to ditch dieting forever in exchange for intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is a philosophy developed by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their groundbreaking book from the '90s called Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works. "It's a way of eating that provides a path toward healing from disordered eating and creates peace in one's relationship with food and body," said Heidi Schauster, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and the author of Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship With Food, Body, and Self.

"When we aim to nourish and respect our bodies and not fix or shape them, we enter into a more nurturing, caring relationship with them, no matter what the outcome is around weight," Heidi said. Registered dietitian Brenna O'Malley, creator of the health blog The Wellful, added that this time of year is so saturated with diet culture and "black and white thoughts about health and weight - don't get sucked in! Freeing yourself from guilt around food and getting off the dieting cycle to tune in to your body and figure out what works and feels good to you is the best gift you can give yourself this season."

When you commit to intuitive eating, Evelyn and Elyse say, "you will be released from the prison of yo-yo weight fluctuations and food obsessions." It brings you back to when you were younger and you had no issues obsessing about food and your weight — back when you ate the foods you loved and were able to self-monitor how much you ate in a healthy way. Here are the 10 principles of intuitive eating . . .

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