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Intuitive Eating

Updated: Apr 19

Intuitive Eating (IE): being mindful of what you eat, understanding how certain foods make you feel,

listening to your body’s desires for certain foods, and choosing what feels right based upon past experience(s), the current environment, and your body’s needs. IE teaches people to utilize their body’s own natural ability to decide whether they are hungry or full. IE allows followers to better understand and choose foods that are best for their physical and mental health (Warren, Smith, & Ashwell, 2017).

Mindfulness, or being aware and fully engaged in the present moment to all that is happening at the moment is the key to successful IE. To develop mindfulness in terms of eating, start by focusing on how you feel before you eat (are you actually feeling hungry?, how hungry are you feeling?). When you begin eating, focus on how the food tastes, feels, looks, smells, and changes as you chew it. Focus on every little detail of what you’re eating. Consider how the food makes you feel before, during, and after you eat. Now that you have fully experienced the food you’ve tried and understand how it makes you feel, you can better consider when the new food you’ve tried might make a good choice for you at another time (or not).

Unlike many diets, those choosing to eat intuitively have found improvements in body image, improved quality of meal/snack choices, and reductions in binge eating, emotional eating, and eating in response to external cue episodes (Warren, Smith, & Ashwell, 2017). However, this practice is not for everyone. For example, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and high blood pressure are just a few conditions in which your doctor may ask you to manage your intake of select foods. Intuitive eating is a rather new practice and more research is needed on those practicing; however, results seem to show positive outcomes for many who engage in the practice.

Warren, J. M., Smith, N., & Ashwell, M. (2017). A structured literature review on the role of mindfulness, mindful eating and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviours: Effectiveness and associated potential mechanisms. Nutrition Research Reviews, 30(2), 272–283.

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