Intuitive Eating: What Is It?

She received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Cornell University, and her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, where she also completed her dietetic internship. In her private practice, Nicole Groman Nutrition, Nicole helps you reconnect with your body. She encourages prioritizing your body over your mind, having faith that your body will tell you what it needs, what it doesn’t, when it’s had too much, or if it hasn’t had enough. She’s been quoted in Vogue, Women’s Health, and Well+Good. Check out her work and learn more here.

Intuitive Eating: What Is It?

Intuitive eating is based on ten principles that aim to help people develop a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body. These principles were created by two registered dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, who wrote the book “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works.”

The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality: The first principle of intuitive eating is to reject the diet mentality. This means that you need to stop viewing food as good or bad and stop following restrictive diets that promise quick results.

2. Honor Your Hunger: The second principle of intuitive eating is to honor your hunger. This means that you need to listen to your body’s hunger signals and eat when you’re hungry.

3. Make Peace with Food: The third principle of intuitive eating is to make peace with food. This means that you need to give yourself permission to eat all types of food without guilt or shame.

4. Challenge the Food Police: The fourth principle of intuitive eating is to challenge the food police. This means that you need to stop negative self-talk and stop judging yourself for what you eat.

5. Respect Your Fullness: The fifth principle of intuitive eating is to respect your fullness. This means that you need to listen to your body’s fullness signals and stop eating when you’re full.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: The sixth principle of intuitive eating is to discover the satisfaction factor. This means that you need to find ways to make eating enjoyable and pleasurable.

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food: The seventh principle of intuitive eating is to honor your feelings without using food. This means that you need to find ways to cope with emotions without turning to food.

8. Respect Your Body: The eighth principle of intuitive eating is to respect your body. This means that you need to accept your body as it is and stop trying to change it.

9. Exercise – Feel the Difference: The ninth principle of intuitive eating is to exercise and feel the difference. This means that you need to find ways to move your body that feel good and energizing.

10. Honor Your Health: The tenth principle of intuitive eating is to honor your health. This means that you need to make food choices that honor your health and wellbeing without feeling guilty or deprived. Gentle Nutrition is the way to reincorporate nutritional science, now that you’re relationship with food is more healed from the above steps and principles.

The Clinical Evidence Supporting Intuitive Eating:

Intuitive Eating is backed by a growing body of research showing its effectiveness in promoting both physical and mental health, as well proving its efficacy in improving people’s health and wellbeing. In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers found that intuitive eating was associated with lower body mass index (BMI), better self-esteem, and improved body image. In another study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers found that intuitive eating was associated with improved psychological health and decreased risk for disordered eating behaviors.

In a 2020 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found that Intuitive Eating was associated with improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and other markers among college students. Another study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that Intuitive Eating was associated with greater levels of physical activity and lower levels of disordered eating behaviors among young adults.

In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers found that intuitive eating was associated with better self-esteem, and improved body image. In another study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers found that intuitive eating was associated with improved psychological health and decreased risk for disordered eating behaviors.

Research has also shown that Intuitive Eating can have positive effects on mental health. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers found that Intuitive Eating was associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression among college students. Another study published in the American Journal of Health Education found that Intuitive Eating was associated with higher levels of self-esteem and body appreciation.

Intuitive Eating as a Mindful Eating Journal

Intuitive eating aligns with the theme of creating an interactive, mindful eating journal that naturally happens from exploring questions socratically around the relationships with food and the body. By following the ten principles of intuitive eating, you can develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. At Way, intuitive eating meets behavior science, encouraging mindful eating and real results. In fact, 73.5% of Way app users notice they are thinking differently about how they eat or are actually eating differently (i.e. at the grocery store or restaurant), in the first week.

The mindfulness approach that Way brings to intuitive eating can have a transformative impact on how we relate to food and our bodies. By focusing on the present moment and cultivating a sense of curiosity and non-judgment, we can begin to unravel the complex web of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that shape our relationship with food. This can involve exploring questions like: What does hunger feel like in my body? How does my body respond to different foods? What emotions or situations trigger me to overeat or eat in a way that doesn’t feel good to my body?

Through this process of self-inquiry and exploration, we can begin to develop a deeper understanding of our bodies and our needs, and cultivate a greater sense of compassion and respect for ourselves. Rather than trying to force ourselves to adhere to rigid rules or external standards of “health,” we can learn to trust our bodies and honor their natural wisdom and intelligence. This means tuning in to our internal cues of hunger and fullness, as well as being mindful of our emotional and environmental triggers around food.

One powerful tool for cultivating this kind of mindfulness is the interactive, mindful eating journal that is at the heart of the Way app. By going through sessions in three Pathways (Body Feels, Emotional Eats, and Mindful Shifts), hunger and fullness levels, and emotional responses to eating, we can begin to see patterns and insights emerge. We can also use the sessions in Way to set intentions and goals around our eating behaviors, and to reflect on our progress and challenges along the way.

Three Pathways and Additional Resources in Way:

In addition to acting like a digital journal, the Way app also provides a wealth of resources and support for those looking to cultivate a healthier, more intuitive relationship with food. This includes guided meditations and mindfulness exercises, three Pathways that help guide to different observations about your relationships with food and your body, and a supportive community of fellow member and amazing intuitive eating Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), who are all working towards the same collective mission and vision of creating a future where restrictive diets don’t exist.. By combining the principles of intuitive eating with the behavior science and mindfulness techniques of Way, we can create a powerful and sustainable approach to food and eating that supports our overall health and well-being.

In conclusion, the intersection of intuitive eating and Way offers a unique and powerful approach to cultivating a healthy, sustainable relationship with food and our bodies. By incorporating the principles of intuitive eating with the behavior science and mindfulness techniques of Way, we can gain a deeper understanding of our bodies’ needs and learn to nourish ourselves in a way that feels truly satisfying and sustainable. Whether you are struggling with disordered eating or simply looking to improve your relationship with food, integrating these principles and practices into your daily life can help you achieve greater health, happiness, and well-being.