Making An Intuitive Eating Plan

She earned her Master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Arizona State University. In her early career, she worked as a clinical dietitian in an intensive care unit.

In 2017, Abby co-founded EVOLVE Flagstaff, an integrative practice that offers weight-inclusive services including physical therapy, injury prevention, nutrition counseling, training, and meal preparation. Her nutrition practice mainly focuses on working with athletes and individuals with eating disorders. She helps her clients to re-establish their relationship with food and movement and unlearn behaviors that negatively impact their relationship with their bodies and food.

Apart from her work with clients, Abby is an aerialist and dancer, and director of a non-profit performing arts company, Dark Sky Aerial. She enjoys cooking, coaching strength and conditioning, and teaching yoga. Depending on the season you will find her outdoors biking, skiing, or reading in the sun with her dogs.


Making An Intuitive Eating Plan

Making an Intuitive Eating Plan is more about mental preparations for letting all foods fit, than it is about following any sort of restrictive plan.

Did you know studies show that restrictive diets have an 83% failure rate and can even lead to disordered eating patterns and ruined lives?

That’s where intuitive eating comes in handy. A brainchild of two renowned dietitians, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, this food approach is meant to help you make peace with food and your body. An intuitive eating plan is a non-diet plan focusing on listening to your body and trusting your instincts.

By following the ten principles of intuitive eating and making peace with food, you can learn to rediscover your trust in internal cues and develop a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. According to clinical studies, the intuitive eating plan is a more effective approach to long-term health than traditional weight loss programs.

Image that represents the concept of starting an intuitive eating journey.  Cheerful individual sitting at a dining table

How to Get Started with an Intuitive Eating Plan:

Understand the principles of intuitive eating: To start the plan, you first need to understand the ten principles of intuitive eating. The principles include rejecting the diet mentality, learning to honor your hunger, making peace with food, challenging the food police, respecting your fullness, discovering the satisfaction factor, honoring your feelings without using food, respecting your body, exercising (feeling the difference), and honoring your health with gentle nutrition.

Let go of food rules and restrictions: The primary goal of the intuitive eating plan is to listen to your hunger and fullness cues and honor them. This approach encourages you to eat whatever you want without any restrictions.

Connect with your body: Getting started involves connecting with your body signals and understanding them. The well-prepared plan encourages you to be aware of your hunger, fullness, and satiety cues and to eat accordingly.

Get support: Starting an intuitive eating journey can be challenging, so seeking support from a registered dietitian or other healthcare providers trained in this eating approach is essential. They can help you navigate any challenges you encounter and guide and support your journey toward food freedom.

Start small: Like any other new program, it is advisable to start small. You can try eating one meal intuitively before moving to the next. The key is to go slow and be patient with yourself. Practice mindfulness: To implement the plan, mindfulness, which means being fully present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment, is crucial. This helps you to identify your hunger and fullness signals, which enables you to make informed decisions about when and what to eat.

Remember to Account for Emotions:

It’s easy to think that start your intuitive eating journey is going to be all roses and cupcakes from the beginning. But one of the most important parts is to give yourself space to be safe and nonjudgmental about exploring your emotions.

There are lots of different feelings that can pop up along the way of learning how to listen to your body and eat whatever it is telling you to eat.

The Benefits of an Intuitive Eating Plan:

Improved Overall Health

One of the most significant benefits of an intuitive eating plan is improved overall health. Unlike traditional diet plans emphasizing weight loss and strict food restrictions, an intuitive eating plan focuses on eating nutritious foods. As a result, you can experience improvements in your physical health, including better digestion, higher energy levels, and an improved immune system.

Reduced Risk of Eating Disorders

Intuitive eating promotes a positive relationship with food and encourages listening to your body’s natural hunger cues. By prioritizing your body’s unique needs, you’re less likely to give in to the food-related pressure of society. This reduces the risk of experiencing food guilt.

Increased Self-Acceptance:

Intuitive eating also promotes self-acceptance and body positivity. By focusing on the internal cues to dictate your eating habits, you can learn to appreciate and respect your body. This can lead to improved self-confidence and a more positive self-image. As Elyse Resch states, “Intuitive eating is about finding what feels good for our bodies and honoring those signals, regardless of the number on the scale.”

Better Relationship with Food

Perhaps the most important benefit of any intuitive eating plan is a better relationship with food. Traditional diets often create an unhealthy, all-or-nothing mentality toward food, leading to guilt and shame. In contrast, intuitive eating encourages a flexible, balanced approach to food that prioritizes pleasure and enjoyment without restriction or guilt. This can lead to a more sustainable and satisfying approach to eating.

Foods to Eat and Avoid on an Intuitive Eating Plan – There Are None:

Instead of following rigid food rules, intuitive eating encourages individuals to listen to their body’s hunger and fullness cues and make choices based on what their bodies need at that particular time. However, some guidance is necessary if you’re new to the plan.

All types of food, including carbs, proteins, and fats, can be included in an intuitive eating plan as there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” food as far as intuitive eating is concerned. When it comes to the foods to avoid, there is no specific food or food group that people on this plan should avoid. However, it’s important to be mindful of foods that may cause physical discomfort or digestive issues.

Key Takeaway:

An intuitive eating plan is not a diet plan, rather a lifestyle intervention that teaches us to reject the diet culture and develop a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body. Enjoy the process, and if you want some extra support, the Way app is always here to help you in your intuitive eating journey.