Is ‘intuitive eating’ as simple as it sounds?
Intuitive eating sounds so simple that it’s hard to believe it can help you maintain a healthy weight: Eat what you want, but only when you feel hungry, and stop eating when you feel full. Here’s what it’s about and how it works.
Intuitive eating was defined nearly 25 years ago by two registered dieticians—Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S. They define intuitive eating not so much by what it is as by what it isn’t. It isn’t an “eat-this-not-that” kind of diet. It isn’t even a diet, at least not in the same mold as the Grapefruit Diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, or any of those.
In fact, it’s more of an anti-diet. You don’t count calories. You don’t eliminate any particular foods. You don’t follow any schedule, table, or program. According to Tribole and Resch, intuitive eating is a reaction to “diet culture and weight obsession.”
“There is not a single long-term study that shows that weight-loss dieting is sustainable. Study after study shows that dieting and food restriction for the purpose of weight loss leads to more weight gain,” Tribole writes on their website. “Worse—the focus and preoccupation on weight leads to body dissatisfaction and weight stigma, which negatively impacts health.”
Its originators make it very clear that intuitive eating is not intended to be a weight-loss method. Instead, they describe it as a “weight-neutral model.” You may not lose weight, but intuitive eating shouldn’t cause you to gain weight, either.