Consider setting a New Year’s resolution to adapt intuitive eating into your life versus standard eating healthier, weight loss or exercise goals. Intuitive eating is an adaptive eating style, which has been scientifically shown to influence positive psychological and physical well-being. It is a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to get your needs met. Outlined below are the 10 principles of intuitive eating.

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality: It’s Easy to get caught up in food rules, restrictions and diet fads for a “quick fix” but often this exacerbates the problem.
  2. Honor Your Hunger: Most of us are born with the ability to determine hunger. Get back in touch with these hunger cues, such as stomach rumbling, irritability, shaking, or weakness. Keep your body fed to avoid a primal drive to overeat.
  3. Make Peace with Food: Give yourself permission to eat all foods. When you label foods as “good” or “bad”, it can often lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings, overeating, or bingeing. 
  4. Challenge the Food Police: The Food Police lives in your mind and imposes food rules that may inflect feelings of guilt and shame. When confronted by the Food Police, question whether the thought is helpful or true.
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: Eating nutritious foods Eating nutritious foods is helpful to our body but we should not forget about pleasure. When you eat what you really want, it can help you feel satisfied and content.
  6. Feel Your Fullness: Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is. Pay attention to your bodily cues that tell you that you are no longer hungry.
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness: Turning to food will not solve your problems. Find kind ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. When you do turn to food, remember self-compassion.
  8. Respect Your Body: You are more than a body. Your body-size does not define you. Learn to honor all the things your body does for you.
  9. Movement—Feel the Difference: Focus on forms of movement that make you feel good. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. Exercise does not need to be intense to provide positive benefits.
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition: There is no such thing as a perfect diet. Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, not just one snack, meal or day of eating.

Interoceptive awareness is your superpower. Interoceptive awareness is the ability to perceive physical sensations that arise within your body. When you perceive bodily sensations, it gives rise to powerful information to help get your psychological and biological needs met. The principles of intuitive eating work either by enhancing interoceptive awareness or removing obstacles to feeling bodily sensations.

Sources: Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach by E. Tribole and E. Resch