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Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, both registered dieticians, sought to find a new solution when they realized old methods and meal plans just weren’t sticking with their patients.

The intuitive eating method teaches us to let go of strict diets where losing weight is the end goal. Instead, we should listen to our bodies, recognizing the feelings of hunger and fullness for ourselves.

“When you have permission to eat, and you know you can have it again, it doesn’t become this last supper,” Tribole says.

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Many have the misconception that the method only tells us to eat whatever we want, whenever we want. But this isn’t all it’s about. 

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating include honoring your hunger, making peace with food, respecting your fullness, and getting active.

More often than not, depriving yourself of food will make you want to overeat. We want what we can’t have.

According to the third principle, “If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, binging.”

The method encourages developing a healthy relationship with food, giving yourself permission to eat without feeling overwhelming guilt.

In their book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, Resch and Tribole remind their readers to “Actively seek pleasure from meals, paying attention to taste, texture, aroma.” Observe how satisfying the food is and savor it.

During your meal, check in with your body to see if you’re already comfortably full. You don’t always have to finish every last morsel on your plate.

Those who are new to the method may find this difficult at first, but there are dietitians and therapists who use it in treatment and can help.

In a 2021 study, researchers have found that intuitive eating led to better psychological and behavioral health among people who were dealing with eating disorders. Singer Demi Lovato has also credited the method for helping them heal from disordered eating.

Further research showed that the method was positively linked to participants’ body image, self-esteem, and psychological well-being.

“It’s still kind of counterculture now,” Tribole says, regarding intuitive eating. Both Tribole and Resch acknowledge that the method is a privilege, assuming that people who practice it have the time, money, and ample amount of agency.

However, they still see it as a form of empowerment for people who may need it. “We’re teaching them how to trust themselves,” Resch says. 

Banner photo via Instagram @elyseresch.