Intuitive Eating 101

by | May 24, 2024

What Intuitive Eating isn’t

For starters, it is important to clarify one very important thing that Intuitive Eating is not. Intuitive Eating is not a new weight loss diet or diet at all. Unfortunately diet culture fights to stay relevant and is already actively putting out a version of itself wrapped up and sold as Intuitive Eating. If you see promotion of weight loss or promise of weight loss……what you are looking at is not Intuitive Eating but diet culture. Yes, even if the language is something like: holistic, intuitive, eat what you want etc.

In our society, we often get  messaging that if we are left to our own devices we’d be unmotivated couch potatoes that succumb to gluttony and inactivity. Another is that if we work hard enough (and do it “right” enough).…..the thing should work. These narratives entail that we need to control ourselves (enter diet plans/programs etc stage right). We are told and begin to believe that we need some external pressure to always keep us in check. We need to scrape together and muster up all the will power and self discipline we have to do what we have been told to and believe we should do in order to control our body. 

We certainly aren’t against getting help for making changes or having someone who supports, encourages, listens and provides information for you to use if/how you decide. This is actually so important and especially those working to heal from disordered eating. Accountability however leaves a bad taste in our mouth for the ways diet culture has wielded it. One of its synonyms is actually “obedience”. This very much can feed into moralisation around food, eating and movement (but that’s a whole other blog). 

Intuitive Eating recognises that this approach does not fundamentally actually motivate us to honour our health over the long term. 

The state of the research is clear that there are currently no long term studies that indicate weight loss dieting is sustainable. We do however have studies that highlight the very real negative impacts and risks both physically and psychologically of it. Interestingly weight loss research does show that individuals who pursue weight loss typically actually end up gaining additional weight in the long run (1)

Conversations about health, eating and bodies must include talking about privilege, accessibility, safety and autonomy. So even given this information about the state of the research and the Intuitive Eating framework here and in other content shared we respect what any individual chooses to do with their own body. 

What Intuitive Eating Actually is

Intuitive Eating can be considered an alternative to dieting rigidity and it’s endless and ever changing rules. It serves as an evidence-based framework for self-care around food and eating. Intuitive Eating consists of ten clearly defined principles that help you move away from diet culture and towards a place where choices are made from a place of self-care, body respect and being attuned with your body’s innate wisdom and your deeper personal core values. 

Intuitive Eating Principles are places in a wheel-like circle. 1. Reject the Diet Mentality 2. Honor Your Hunger 3. Make Peace with Food 4. Challenge the Food Police 5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor 6. Feel Your Fullness 7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness 8. Respect Your Body 9. Movement—Feel the Difference 10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

What is it like to be an Intuitive Eater?

We’ve shared a lot of words. Here is just one example we hope will help. We understand this can feel very foreign to consider and that for many of our clients their relationship with food and eating was disrupted at a very young age and they don’t feel like they have a “before” dieting experience to connect with. As we always say “please take what feels helpful right now and leave what does not”. 

Example from the dieting days:

Graphic image of a conversation during someone's dieting days. Someone is asked: How do you feel about ice-cream? In response, they answer: Terrible. I avoid ice cream at all costs. I can’t have it in the home, cause I’ll either be thinking about it all the time or I can’t stop eating it.When I do have it, I feel terrible because I know I shouldn’t.

After some time working together using an Intuitive Eating approach”

A graphic conversation between two flowers. One flower is asked: How do you feel about ice-cream, since you’ve embarked on your Intuitive Eating journey? In response, they answer: You know, the other night, I forgot I had ice cream in the freezer! When I remembered, it sounded good so I had some. When I had it, it hit the spot and I really knew I could have more if I want to. And sometimes I do. A conversation between two flowers continues. One flower asks: You didn’t have the guilt? In response, the other flower says: Yeah, it’s been a huge shift. I don’t judge myself if I eat ice-cream or if I decide to have more of it. So instead of battling with myself, I find I can actually check in with myself and enjoy the experience. Does it still taste good? Am I pleasantly satisfied?

You have spades of wisdom within you and Intuitive Eating can serve as a framework for you to tap back into it.

Will Intuitive Eating Help Me Lose Weight? 

We touched on this already but we come back to this again because it is a common question and it’s particularly confusing because of how diet culture is trying to repackaged itself to look like Intuitive Eating. It is really understandable if in reading this you are holding out hope that we will say “you will lose weight eating intuitively.”

If I just eat according to my hunger and fullness, then surely I’ll lose some weight along the way.” 

We want to create space for this desire to be acknowledged and explored while sharing that that the Intuitive Eating approach supports us to work to respect the body we have here and now and to continue to do so as best we are able even when it changes over time (which is normal for bodies to do). It invites us to trust that as we move away from dieting and towards a more peaceful relationship with food and eating, our body will find it’s way to a weight that feels best for it. We do not have a crystal ball to predict what will happen to anyone’s weight, including yours, as they pursue Intuitive Eating. Some bodies may gain weight, some may lose weight and some may stay roughly their current weight. 

We do know that the Intuitive Eating approach is supported by over 200 studies for its effectiveness in improving both physical health and one’s relationship with food, eating and body image (2–5) without focusing on weight loss. Our hope is that continued research will include more diverse groups of people and their experiences. 

Who is Intuitive Eating for? 

Intuitive eating is a self-care framework for eating and can be particularly helpful if you are frustrated and tired of the endless quest and preoccupation of weight loss or trying to eat “perfectly”. If you are at a stage where you are curious about the possibility of letting go of the empty promises of dieting and instead want to cultivate a peaceful relationship with food and body, then Intuitive Eating may be a great fit for you. 

Certain principles may need to be adapted to best serve you. Some principles may need to be saved for later in someone’s work of healing their relationship with food. Your Dietitian will collaborate on this with you. 

We love the intuitive eating framework AND acknowledge that no one framework is best for everyone and that it’s important for a client’s individual experiences, needs and preferences to be centred and inform what types of things will help them find a more peaceful relationship with food, eating and body. 

Intuitive Eating Resources 

If you’re interested in learning more about Intuitive Eating, the below resources can be a great starting point. 


To read a summary of the Intuitive Eating Book and more information on the above book resources, check out this blog.

Podcast Episodes

Ready to Find More Peace With Food and Eating? 

As you embark on your Intuitive Eating journey, it is natural to experience challenges with certain principles and their application. At these times, we highly recommend engaging with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. These counsellors are trained with Evelyn Tribole and/or  Elyse Resch, the authors of this framework, and can help you each step of the way, wherever you are in your journey. We are here if you are wanting to explore 1:1 support for opting out of diet culture and exploring Intuitive Eating. Feel free to Book your Initial Appointment or an Exploration Call with one of our Intuitive Eating Certified Dietitians today.



  1. Rothblum ED. Slim chance for permanent weight loss. Archives of Scientific Psychology. 2018 Aug 20;6(1):63–9.
  2. Babbott KM, Cavadino A, Brenton-Peters J, Consedine NS, Roberts M. Outcomes of intuitive eating interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eat Disord. 2023 Jan-Feb;31(1):33–63.
  3. Van Dyke N, Drinkwater EJ. Relationships between intuitive eating and health indicators: literature review. Public Health Nutr. 2014 Aug;17(8):1757–66.
  4. Hayashi LC, Benasi G, St-Onge MP, Aggarwal B. Intuitive and mindful eating to improve physiological health parameters: a short narrative review of intervention studies. J Complement Integr Med. 2023 Sep 1;20(3):537–47.
  5. Hazzard VM, Telke SE, Simone M, Anderson LM, Larson NI, Neumark-Sztainer D. Intuitive eating longitudinally predicts better psychological health and lower use of disordered eating behaviors: findings from EAT 2010-2018. Eat Weight Disord. 2021 Feb;26(1):287–94.

I’m Lisa Carrigg, a Brisbane dietitian who helps clients pursue healing and connection with food.

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