We are living in a health obsessed society and as a result, we are living in a diet obsessed society. There is a stigma that has developed around eating causing the unsettling cycle of eating and feeling guilty for what you just consumed. Intuitive eating is a newly popular lifestyle change that promises to have people breaking free of the diet mentality while learning to do what is best for their body and their health.

Intuitive eating is not a diet

When it comes to intuitive eating, the only rule you have to follow is that there are no rules. The idea behind this movement is to learn to better understand your hunger cues so that you are able to identify when you are truly hungry and when you are dealing with emotions such as boredom that might trick you into thinking that you are hungry.

As children, we ate whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. This was a time before we had labeled foods as 'good' or 'bad' and as a result, we did not feel guilty about eating a cupcake or a couple of slices of pizza. One of the big pushes with intuitive eating is to return to this mentality. It pushes for people to give up the food labels and learn to just enjoy the food that they are eating. That means pizza is no longer considered unhealthy and kale is no longer considered healthy. Instead everything is viewed as food which can be used to fuel your body.

Returning to the basics

For people who have been dieting for a long time, the journey into intuitive eating can be challenging. After years of restriction, you may not know what your hunger signals feel like anymore.

It sounds silly but it is true. When you jump from restrictive diet to restrictive diet, you learn to ignore those feelings of hunger as you follow a strict meal plan. When you first decide to give up on diets you first may find that you are either never hungry or always hungry; there is no in between. Over time, you will get better at identifying your hunger signals and be able to nourish your body in the way that it needs.

A common misconception is that intuitive eating causes you to completely lose control around food. This is not the case. When done correctly, intuitive eating is designed to teach you how to identify which foods your body needs. Many people find that once they start listening to their hunger cues they are able to tell when their body is craving a leafy green salad and when they just want to order a pizza for dinner.

This shift in mindset helps you to eat healthy while no longer feeling guilty for indulging in dessert every once in a while.

The basic concepts of intuitive eating

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch are both registered dietitians with master's degrees and are considered the founders behind the intuitive eating movement. The motto of this movement is "eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full." Tribole and Resch have written several books about the concept of intuitive eating and on their Intuitive Eating Org Website, they describe the ten principles behind this lifestyle.

They ask that people learn to reject the diet mentality, no longer labeling foods as good or bad. This helps you to develop a better relationship with food and with your body as you will no longer feel guilty about what you eat.

Additionally, they try to help people to understand what it feels like to be hungry and full so that they are better able to respond to their hunger cues. Other ideas they push include exercising to feel good instead of trying to lose weight and honoring your health without slipping back into the diet mentality.