Intuitive eating is the idea that your body knows what’s best for you, and by identifying the difference between physical and emotional hunger, you can take control of your diet rather than letting your diet control you. The idea stems from the fact that your body already sends your mind signals about what kind of nutrition it needs, how much, and when it’s full. It follows that intuitive eating is, in fact, the anti-diet, giving you the opportunity to truly listen to your body. Below are 10 principles that give some insight into how to adopt this unique approach to nutrition.

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

  1. Lose Your Diet Program: Instead of letting your diet regulate your eating habits, let you body tell you when to eat and when to stop.
  2. Eat When You’re Hungry: Acquaint yourself with your feelings of hunger, and when they come on, listen to them.
  3. Accept Your Food: Changing your perspective on food relieves the stress of weighing “good” food vs “bad” food. With intuitive eating, nothing is off the table.
  4. Challenge Your Inner Voice: Intuitive eating is about revamping the way we think about food and nutrition and setting aside our fear of judgement, inner critics, and other past associations.
  5. Stop When You’re Full: Being respectful of your own body’s cues is a key aspect of intuitive eating. Notice your current feelings and try to parse cravings and “emotional eating” from true hunger.
  6. Tune Into Your Satisfaction: Building a relationship with food that is both accepting and appreciative can help us find a unique sense of satisfaction from our food, allowing us to feel good about ourselves and our food.
  7. Respect Yourself Outside of Eating: Intuitive eating requires inner balance in order to develop a healthy relationship with our hunger and our food. If you indulge in overeating due to stress or other mental and emotional influences, it’s helpful to take time outside of meal time to find balance through self-care.
  8. Appreciate Your Body: The human body is a marvel, and it has built-in functions that can help you decide what is best for you. Accepting your body, knowing that everybody is unique, and trusting your body’s natural signals is the first step in changing your eating habits for good.
  9. Get Moving: Just as your body sends signals to eat different foods at different times, it also sends signals to get moving in different ways. Exercise is important to any lifestyle, and while intuitive eating can help you regulate your eating habits, regular exercise can help balance your internal chemistry and make those hunger signals even clearer.
  10. Respect Nutrition: Making the right food choices for your body is still an important part of eating intuitively. In fact, your body’s craving are sometimes healthy indicators that you need a specific type of nutrition. You might be able to satisfy that craving with a supplement, or you can make healthier choices at the refrigerator and get the same result. Your body will thank you!

Intuitive eating isn’t for everyone, but the principles are valuable for everyone. We don’t necessarily need a diet plan to find balance in our nutritional intake, and with some added attention to our internal signals, we can make big changes in the way we eat and the way we think about food.