If you’re used to dieting, intuitive eating will feel…counterintuitive…when you first start. 

Where there were once rules, there are now principles. 

Where there was once shame and guilt and beating yourself up, there is now self-compassion. 

Where there was once restriction, there is now permission to eat.

In this post, I’ll share with you all of the principles of IE and the one that is most fun to start with if you’re unsure of which to focus on as you start your intuitive eating journey. 

Note: Everyone has their own experiences with food and their bodies, so your intuitive eating journey will look different from someone else’s journey. Some principles will be easier than others to work through and they don’t have to be worked through in order. Remember that these are not rules because intuitive eating is not another diet.

Here are the ten principles of intuitive eating

  1. Reject the diet mentality
  2. Honour your hunger
  3. Make peace with food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Feel your fullness
  6. Discover your satisfaction
  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness
  8. Respect your body
  9. Move and feel the difference
  10. Honour your health with gentle nutrition

Looking at the above list – what principles stand out to you as areas you’d like to work on? What feels challenging? What feels easy?

Where do you start?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and uncertain and you don’t know which principle to start with, I recommend that the next time you eat, focus on principle 6 – discover your satisfaction. Satisfaction underlies all of the principles – and it’s the most fun! 

Here’s a simple exercise to focus on your satisfaction:

  1. Prepare your food, plate it nicely, and sit down with it.
  2. Make sure you don’t have any distractions around – your phone, work, the TV, a cute dog running around the park.
  3. Focus on what you’re eating and consider the following:
    • What does the food smell like?
    • How is it to take the first bite?
    • What are the flavours and textures?
    • What do you like about the food you’re eating?
    • How does it make you feel?
    • Is it hitting the spot?
    • Or is there something else you want?

I remember when I used to crave potato chips: because I thought they were “bad” for me, I’d eat apples instead (so that I’d get the crunch and be healthy at the same time). Guess what, they weren’t the same – surprise! After eating the apple, because I wasn’t satisfied, I’d reach for the bag of chips anyway. 🤦🏻‍♀️ (Moral of the story: just eat the damn thing you’re craving! And enjoy every morsel of it.)

If you’re looking for more information, or you’d like some support on how to implement intuitive eating into your life, consider the following:

Read the bible of IE, Intuitive Eating: A revolutionary anti-diet approach (4th Edition), or its sister workbook, The Intuitive Eating Workbook, if you want to learn about IE in your own time.

Or if you’re ready to invest in yourself, book a Snack Session with me where we will slow down the process of eating. We will have a shared experience of eating together and I promise that this will make you look at eating differently!

In the meantime, let me know what you think! And don’t forget to sign up to my email list or follow me on Instagram to get more bite-sized bits about intuitive eating and how this can change your life!