Intuitive eating, aptly named, is an approach that trusts in the body’s intuition to guide eating decisions. Unlike a diet that prescribes rules about what and when to eat, intuitive eating emphasizes attunement with natural signs of hunger and fullness. These internal signals replace any externally imposed rules, and the body is situated as the expert of its physical and psychological needs.
Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch first outlined their model of intuitive eating in a 1995 book of the same name. The book’s fourth edition, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, was released earlier this year. Tribole and Resch’s paradigm continues to garner public and clinical attention, and its evidence base continues to grow (Tribole, 2017).
Though the intuitive eating approach is rooted in the body’s intuition, it can (and often does) feel far from intuitive for many. Diet culture’s “health” and “wellness” messages, as well as dieting, disordered eating, and eating disorders all serve to distance the mind from the body. Without a firm mind-body connection, the mind often acts as a micromanager of the body’s needs, tending to or ignoring them based on external rules and restrictions.