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Intuitive Eating: A Recovery Book for the Chronic Dieter/Rediscover the Pleasure of Eating and Rebuild Your Body Image

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Rediscover the pleasures of eating and rebuild your body image.
We've all been there-- angry at ourselves for overeating, for our lack of willpower, for failing at yet another diet that was supposed to be the last one. But the problem is not you, it's that dieting, with its emphasis on rules and regulations. It has stopped you from listening to your body.
Written by two prominent nutritionists, "Intuitive Eating" focuses on nurturing your body rather than starving it, encourages natural weight loss and helps you find the weight you were meant to be.
* How to reject diet mentality forever
* How our 3 Eating Personalities define our eating difficulties
* How to feel your feelings without using food
* How to honor your hunger and feel full
* The 10 easy-to-follow principles of intuitive eating
* How to normalize your relationship with food
* And much more compassionate, thoughtful advice on satisfying, healthy living
An Alternate Selection of the Prevention Book Club and an Alternate Selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club.

286 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 1995

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About the author

Evelyn Tribole

14 books134 followers
Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD is an award-winning registered dietitian, with a nutrition counseling practice in Newport Beach, California. She has written seven books including the bestsellers Healthy Homestyle Cooking and Intuitive Eating(co-author). Her newest book is the Ultimate Omega-3 Diet.

Evelyn was the nutrition expert for Good Morning America, appearing from 1994-’95 and was a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association for 6 years. She was contributing editor for Shape magazine where her monthly column, Recipe Makeovers, appeared for 11 years.

She is often sought by the media for her nutritional expertise and has appeared on hundreds of interviews, including: CNN, Today Show, MSNBC, Fox News, USA Today, Wall St. Journal and People magazine.

As a speaker, Evelyn is passionate and has been called, "Wonderfully wise and funny", whether providing a keynote or full-day workshop.

Achievements and honors include, receiving the American Dietetic Association’s Award for Excellence in Private Practice. Many national magazines have rated Evelyn as one of the best nutritionists in the country including: Self, Harper’s Bazaar, and Redbook magazine.

Professional memberships include: the Am. Dietetic Assoc., International Society for Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, the Celiac Disease Foundation, and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Evelyn qualified for the Olympic Trials in the first ever women’s marathon in 1984. Although she no longer competes, Evelyn runs for fun and is an avid skier and hiker. She also enjoys surfing, kayaking and white water rafting. Evelyn’s favorite food is chocolate, when it can be savored slowly.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,630 reviews
Profile Image for Amy.
80 reviews
June 9, 2010
I wish, wish, wish that every one of my friends who struggles with her weight, thinks she should diet, or who mentally tallies in her mind what she’s eaten that day or that week to determine if she can eat that “cookie” (or whatever) would read this book. Before reading this book, I thought I was an intuitive eater because I lived by the mantra “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full”, but reading this book has brought me a new level of peace with food.

The basic premise of intuitive eating is that when we really listen and tune into our bodies, we will know what to eat and how much. (Several studies on toddlers have found that when small children have free access to a variety of foods, they eat a balanced variety that meets their nutritional needs. We are born knowing what we should eat and how much, but from a very small age we begin to be conditioned as to what we “should” eat. Intuitive eating tries to help you find that inner knowledge about food again.)

We should eat when we’re hungry, eat what we want that will truly satisfy us (lose the idea of what we “should” eat), and stop when we’re full. The primary goal established in this book is to make peace with food so it loses its power, a power I can relate to. Even though I believed in eating when I was hungry and stopping when full, often I would make a mental tally of what I’d eaten that day, or think that I “could” eat 3-4 cookies because of how far I’d run that morning. However, with intuitive eating, I’m learning to block out all the messages of what I “should” eat and how much is appropriate, and really dial into my body’s cues of what I need in that moment. And I’ve never felt healthier or had such a feeling of energy and well-being.

Weight-loss can be a secondary goal of intuitive eating, but the authors, (two registered dieticians with Master’s degrees in nutrition) stress that you really have to be process-focused to make the process work. This means letting go of the scale or whatever metric you use to gauge your weight-loss progress. Instead you need to focus on you feel and the well-being you derive from the process of intuitive eating. Someone who has dieted frequently interspersed with periods of overeating will likely lose weight with intuitive eating until he/she arrives at her natural healthy weight. The authors have repeatedly found that to be the case with their clients.

Probably my favorite parts of the book were reading the science cited by the authors of why dieting both biologically and psychologically DOES NOT WORK for 90-95% of people. Yet people blame themselves rather than the process of dieting, leading to depression, anxiety, and an obsession with food. Not only does dieting reduce your metabolism, but calorie-deprivation leads to periods of overeating. I read on one of the author’s blogs this morning that a review of 31 long-term studies on dieting by UCLA scientists found that dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain: http://nutrition-info-411.evelyntribo....

I can still hear the skeptic in you saying that if you were given complete permission to eat whatever you wanted, you’d be eating cinnamon rolls all day long, right? I have found through my experience that I actually crave sweets and baked goods at an all-time LOW. My theory is that because my body is constantly receiving the calories I need, I no longer crave desserts like I did before as an assured, quick way to meet (and in some cases exceed) my caloric needs. Additionally, when I know I can have sweets anytime (with full, sincere permission), I don’t need them as much. However, for me, I think the biological process is the more real one for me. Meeting my calorie needs consistently reduces cravings and periods of overeating. The authors have found the same results in their practices; their clients generally arrive at a point where they eat 90% healthy foods and 10% play foods (their term for junk food) through intuitive eating.

I love this process and wish I had found it sooner. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Julia.
292 reviews7 followers
May 11, 2012
For my final pre-internship year, I'm going to be working with individuals with eating disorders. I figured I'd try something completely new. When I asked my supervisor what books she'd recommend as introductory readings, "Intuitive Eating" is where she sent me, telling me that it's the only self-help nutrition book out there that she not only tolerates, but actually likes. In short: her assessment is spot-on.

People ask me for book recommendations fairly often (and I'm only a grad student, so I'm guessing it'll get more frequent). It's a tricky question because so many books are so deeply cheesy, and I'm not exactly going for "deeply cheesy" as a psychologist-in-training. Well, hallelujah. "Intuitive Eating" is not cheesy. It is not patronizing. It is not preachy, simplistic, or annoyingly cheerful. It is compassionate, straightforward, and wise. It brims with good, old-fashioned common sense that is too often overwhelmed by the dieting hysteria that has gripped the U.S. for...well, decades, now.

I am sure this book will be invaluable when doing eating disorder treatment. But, if you're reading this, and you're experiencing even just a niggling iota of doubt that maybe you don't have as healthy of a relationship with food as you could (TRULY healthy, none of this sanctimonious all-raw-food-all-the-time crap), then do me a solid, and get yourself to a bookstore ASAP.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,425 reviews8,323 followers
April 5, 2015
A wonderful book for those who wish to do away with dieting and learn to love food again. As someone who reads a lot about eating disorders and hopes to specialize in eating disorder treatment and prevention, I found Intuitive Eating a well-written reference on how to reject diet mentality, find satisfaction from food, and cope with emotions in ways that do not involve eating. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch show their expertise by blending their innovative Intuitive Eating program with loads of research, sets of anecdotes that make sense, and metaphors and analogies that clarify their concepts. They divide Intuitive Eating into ten principles:

1) Reject the Diet Mentality
2) Honor Your Hunger
3) Make Peace with Food
4) Challenge the Food Police
5) Feel Your Fullness
6) Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7) Cope with your emotions without Using Food
8) Respect Your Body
9) Exercise - Feel the Difference
10) Honor Your Health - Gentle Nutrition

Tribole and Resch explain the ten principles with precision and depth, and they relate Intuitive Eating to several other areas: the three eating personalities, how to raise healthy children as Intuitive Eaters, how to use Intuitive Eating to heal from eating disorders, and more. Recommended to anyone who wants to love and accept food, as well as to those with friends and/or family members who struggle with dieting.
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,346 reviews811 followers
February 10, 2017
Bullet Review:

While I think overall, this and "Mindful Eating" are probably the best ways to care for one's health, this book was hugely repetitive and pretty obvious for anyone who's spent any amount of time trying to lose weight.

The Non-Diet Diet

+ Pay attention to when you are hungry and full. Only eat when you are hungry. Don't eat until you are stuffed.

+ Don't diet. Plan on eating this way for the rest of your life and shelve that mentality of eating a certain way for 6 weeks to drop 20 pounds.

+ Don't put any foods on the "off limits" shelf.

+ Make healthy food choices, but choose foods you like.

+ Eat in moderation (see Number 1)

+ Include exercise.

+ Realize you can't reach a Size 00.

Or basically read Appendix B, because that has everything in the book, minus the 16 trillion anecdotes and stories from supposed patients that sound suspiciously fake. (All the clients adopt this diet and suddenly, angels float down from heaven to carry them up with a basket of kittens farting rainbows.) Good grief, I get it - you want to sell this book and plan, so let's make up a bunch of stories of people who were fat or had bad body image, went to you, and suddenly life was a miracle.

I don't mean to make it sound like there was nothing of value in this book, because there is. Also, I think this is probably the best way for weight loss and maintenance. It just didn't need to be nearly 14 hours long.
Profile Image for Kate LaChapelle.
57 reviews19 followers
May 27, 2013
I started reading this book the other day and while it has only been a few days, I can see how much its ideas are transforming my life. Since I was a young girl I have struggled with body image, food issues, and disordered eating and my struggle has only gotten more difficult and more pronounced as I've gotten older, this book feels like it's the remedy I've been waiting for.

I hate diets. They don't work and only serve to exacerbate my disordered eating and my unhealthy relationship with my body and with food and Intuitive Eating (as a book and a principle) is putting and end to dieting and setting me on the path to recovery.

Intuitive Eating is not a quick fix, lose 15 pounds in two weeks, or a "lifestyle change" that comes with endless calorie counting and a strict usage of healthy alternatives. It is about fixing our relationship with food, with our bodies, with exercise, and with nutrition.

It wasn't until I was reading this book that I realized just how disordered my thoughts were on food and dieting and eating, but I am taking the principles of Intuitive Eating to heart and I am using them to change my life and heal.

I want to recommend this book to ANYONE who has ever compared their body to someone else, anyone who didn't have dessert because they didn't want to be "bad", anyone who has ever been on a diet, anyone who overeats or under eats or has ever judged food on a "bad" or "good" scale. I just want to stand on the streets and hand out copies of this book and wake people up to what we our doing to ourselves with our diet culture.

This is a fantastic book that feels like the right answer to helping me heal and repair my relationship with food and a myriad of other things and I know that so many other people have been healed by it as well and I encourage everyone to read it, or at least read the first few chapters and see if any of it speaks to you.
10 reviews
March 14, 2017
This book does make some valid and useful points that I completely agree with:

1 - Our bodies were designed with the ability to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full.
2 - Today we often ignore these messages and overeat - especially foods that are not good for us - causing unhealthy weight gain and a host of medical problems.
3 - Diets - calorie restriction, low-fat diets, low-carb diets - DON’T work.
4 - Ignoring our hunger signals results in food obsession and often binge eating later.
5 - Focusing on weight instead of health and nutrition is not helpful and actually can lead us to unhealthy behavior.

However, there are some very serious concerns with the recommendations made in this book. Some of them are downright irresponsible.

In an ideal world, where all of our food was natural and nutritious, we could eat what we wanted when we wanted and we would not incur unhealthy consequences as a result. In an ideal world, all food would nourish our bodies as God intended. We would be sensitive to the savory flavors of meats, eggs, and seafood, the variety of texture and flavor of vegetables, and the succulent sweetness of fruit. But we do not live in an ideal world.
In our world today, we are bombarded by marketing to buy and eat foods that are manufactured to meet the “bliss point” of the perfect combination of sweet, salt, and fat. There are many people whose full-time job is focused on making “foods” with the ultimate pleasure point to keep us eating them. When we continue to eat these foods, they drive us to eat more. But they do not feed our bodies with nutrition. The constant bombardment of unnatural foods disrupts our hormones which leads to cravings, mixed up hunger signals, low energy, digestive troubles, and eventually, disease.
So, sometimes in this modern day of industrialized food we have to put mind over matter and decide with our mind - not our cravings or feelings - how we should fuel our bodies. I don’t feel that it is helpful advice - in today’s world where junk food is everywhere - to eat whatever you feel that you want, ignoring common sense, while proposing that it will make you healthier.
Furthermore, to advise parents of toddlers to serve desserts - even processed, manufactured, sugary desserts - right along with nutritious foods at the dinner table is downright irresponsible. Food companies spend several billion dollars a year marketing their foods to children alone. Allowing free and open access of these foods to our children is throwing them directly into the marketing traps of the food industry. Should parents choose what foods and flavors their children develop a taste for? How their bodies are nourished? Or should we leave that up to Nestle, Coca Cola, and Kraft?
Don’t waste your time and money on this book. If you want a real, logical solution to the dilemmas we face in deciding what to eat in this modern world, check out It Starts with Food by Melissa Hartwig. She actually explains why we crave junk food and what to do about it. True food freedom is not all the donuts and french fries you can eat. Real food freedom is eating great-tasting food that nourishes your body, is satisfying, makes you more healthy, and allows you to feel your best.
Profile Image for Michelle Curie.
716 reviews350 followers
November 29, 2017
"Bread is fattening, sweets are bad for you and no, I really shouldn't have a slice of cake, I've eaten so much already!" Who hasn't heard something like this before? It's funny to think about it, because with all that food and knowledge available to us, shouldn't eating be one of the easiest things to do? Objectively speaking it requires nothing more than following a basic instinct. But let's be honest, we all know it's a much trickier subject.

Intuitive Eating gets rid of the diet mentality and is a book for people who have tried to lose weight before by obsessively monitoring what they eat. It is a great reminder of a way better option and possibly the only one that will make you happy in the long run: listening to your own body.

This book is an encouragement to make peace with food for once and all. For somebody who has grown up in an age where people all around were influenced by social media, celebrities and their peers when it comes to determining if they're skinny enough, this was a refreshingly educational read about the mentality of this way of judging and definitely made me understand how big the psychological impact of dieting is as well. The message of this reference guide just made a lot of sense to me, as it seems logical to think that without society's influence, we'd all naturally be Intuitive Eaters:

"Consider toddlers. They are the natural Intuitive Eaters — virtually free from societal messages about food and body images. Toddlers have an innate wisdom about food if you don’t interfere with it. They don’t eat based on dieting rules or health, yet study after study shows that if you let a toddler eat spontaneously, he will eat what he needs when given free access to food."

That dieting doesn't help to lose weight doesn't take a genius to figure out: if all it took to lose weight was a calorie-restricted meal plan, we'd be a nation of thin people, as Evelyn Tribole remarks. Interesting that people who fail to shed a few pounds will blame themselves - their willpower, or lack thereof, but not dieting in itself. But a diet requires linear thinking that can be toxic to the mind: one wrong step and you'll have failed your expectations. Tribole suggests a way of thinking that includes acceptance of there being ups and downs and recreating a good relationship with food being a process.

The surprisingly nice thing about this book is, that it is neither preachy nor patronising, but just bases its theories on common sense. I read this out of curiosity, but would definitely recommend this to anyone who doesn't have a particularly healthy relationship with food.
Profile Image for Tara.
Author 2 books73 followers
July 23, 2015
I love what this book is saying, but it is VERY 80s-feeling.
The gist of the "program" - eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full, and stop guilting yourself when you eat what you TRULY want.
I think modern studies about the addict-ability of processed foods makes this slightly less factual. The authors claim the reason you overeat is because you've either been starving yourself, or you're planning to starve yourself, or you're thinking "oh well! I've already had one! Everything is ruined!". While that's true in a lot of chronic dieters, the fact that processed food is designed to keep you eating (read: Salt, Sugar, Fat)is another reason you "can't have just one." (In other words, no matter how permissive and self-loving you are, processed food is going to eat you up.
36 reviews
January 22, 2010
Now that it's been almost 7 years since first being introduced to Intuitive Eating I can honestly say the concepts in this book actually really did change my life and allowed me to "make peace with food". I think I have the first edition (there are now 4) which although the writing is a little (okay a lot) hoakie the concepts are priceless. I do have to say I initially read this book as part of coursework while studying nutrition at USU so I never had the experience of picking it up and just reading it without dissecting.
I still remember how mad I was at the idea of giving yourself "unconditional permission" to eat and it's very fresh in my mind how mad people get when you try to explain the concept. I have plugged this book profusely both professionally and personally and will continue to.
Profile Image for Jo Lisa.
90 reviews96 followers
February 9, 2016
This is actually my 2nd reading of this book.. I read it in 2015 as well. While I know that the 10 Principles are extremely valuable, it is so hard to change decades of food fear and disordered eating! I am working really hard toward intuitive eating. I have found that I go through phases of how I feel about food. This has always been true, but recently I find that my phases can change several times a day! It scares me as a recovering anorexic. My only option is to work one day at a time.
Profile Image for Alina Colleen.
199 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2021
This is not my usual fare. Though authored by two registered dietitians, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach” definitely crosses strongly over into self-help territory, which I normally strenuously avoid. However, I don’t like to dismiss something without fully understanding it. And though there is much to critique with respect to the Intuitive Eating philosophy, it also contains a great deal of common-sense, practical advice.

What is Intuitive Eating? It means, in a nutshell, eating “intuitively” in response to the hunger/fulness signals your body sends you. That’s it. There are 10 “principles” (Tribole & Resch are very careful not to call them “rules”) to guide you through your Intuitive Eating journey, but that is the crux of it. Don’t worry about your weight or how you look or whether you get enough exercise or whether your macros are at precisely the right proportions. As they say, you will not get a nutritional deficiency from one lackluster meal. Here’s a closer look at each principle in detail, followed by some general critiques of the approach.

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality. Accept that diets do not work. I think this is wise advice as far as fad diets (Atkins, paleo, keto, even veganism) go. But Tribole & Resch’s definition of “diet” is awfully narrow. They seem to assume that all diets are overly restrictive and come with long list of “forbidden foods” that dieters try to resist but ultimately cannot. Dieting, they say, produces a deprivation mentality, which causes rebound overeating. Now, this might be true for many, even most people who undertake ill-advised diets, but they don’t accept the idea of a sensible diet - e.g., tracking general calorie intake, paying attention to portion sizes, losing (or gaining) weight in a slow and sustainable fashion. They are in fact opposed to anyone trying to intentionally modify their weight!

Principle 2: Honor Your Hunger. This one is pretty basic. Eat when you are hungry. Don’t ignore hunger just because you have no calories “left” for the day. Equally, don’t eat a whole meal if you aren’t at least a little peckish. Can’t really argue against much here.

Principle 3: Make Peace with Food. Banning foods, especially whole food groups, doesn’t work well. One thing I learned from reading this book is that the reason people lose so much weight (at least initially) on low-carb diets is that such diets force the body to break down protein for energy. So really, the lack of carbs just destroys their muscle tissue, which will ultimately slow down their metabolism in the long run. I definitely agree that it doesn’t work to create lists of food that you aren’t allowed to eat or enjoy. Diets are meant to be life-long, and you can’t avoid bread forever. That said, one of their recommendations is that you give yourself permission to eat as much of the previously forbidden foods as you like. E.g., if you’ve avoided chocolate for years, try indulging your lust for chocolate by eating as much of it as you want for a while. Eventually, you’ll get used to having chocolate around, and you won’t need as much of it to satisfy yourself. Or so they argue. To this I say: maybe. I don’t always think that over-indulgence naturally balances out into some ideal state of moderation. Striving for moderation to begin with (without going through the over-indulgence phase) is ok, too.

Principle 4: Challenge the Food Police. This chapter is filled with a bunch of goofy references to damaging food “personalities” commonly found in a society ruled by “diet culture.” The Food Police is basically the voice of criticism, whether from peers who criticize your body weight/size/shape to parents who express worry about your eating habits. There are other personalities, too, such as the Nutrition Informant and the Diet Rebel. Silliness aside, this chapter contains some interesting insights from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), such as warnings against distorted thoughts, examples of black-and-white/dichotomous thinking, absolutist and catastrophic thinking, and linear thinking. As the recipient of CBT myself, I can attest that recognizing these thought patterns and learning how to challenge them is definitely well-worth the time and effort (imagine how weird it is to be handed a sheet of paper labeled “Examples of Self-Defeating Thoughts” and realizing you’ve had 100% of them). I liked this chapter (in spite of the goofy title) and feel like this is what nutritionists and dietitians should do more of - delve into the psychological roots behind eating patterns.

Principle 5: Discover the Satisfaction Factor. Basically, don’t be afraid to enjoy your food. Decide what you want to eat based on how you feel and what appeals to you in that particular moment. Don’t worry about making the “right” or “wrong” choice; just strive for some variety. Not much to say here; this is basically common sense.

Principle 6: Feel Your Fullness. This is where I really hoped they would provide some concrete examples or guidelines for how to “know” when your body has achieved satiety. Based on the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States and indeed across the world, I think this is the body signal most people have lost touch with. What does being full feel like, anyway? Unfortunately, the section labeled “Recognizing Comfortable Satiety” is only half a page. They remark that some people feel like their stomach is “content”. Others just feel generally satisfied. Some people have a sensation of “pleasant completeness.” They conclude that knowing when you are full is highly individual and only you will truly know how it feels. Well, that’s not terribly helpful. They encourage people to eat slowly and pause in the middle of a meal to ask themselves if they are satisfied yet. If they are, they should stop eating. That’s… pretty difficult. What does 75% full feel like compared to 80% full compared to 85% full? Trying to figure that out in the middle of a meal seems stressful.

Principle 7: Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness. This chapter is basically about how people associate food with various emotions and often use food as a coping mechanism. Some people eat food because they find it comforting. For others, it may be a form of distraction from boredom or a way to procrastinate. More serious problems like depression, anxiety, loneliness, or emotional abuse are other reasons why people turn to food. Their advice is to give yourself permission to feel the underlying emotions behind your drive to eat - what are you truly feeling? And what will help you address that feeling (that isn’t food)? This is pretty solid advice.

Principle 8: Respect Your Body. I struggled with this chapter. Yes, I think that people should try to achieve greater body satisfaction. Obviously, no, I do not think the societal fixation on a single ideal body type is healthy. However, I take great issue with their claim that a person’s “natural” body weight is genetically pre-determined, and that any attempts to alter that size/weight are futile. This view completely ignores the gene-environment interaction which is the foundation of all medicine and health. Not to mention it’s quite disempowering ! Tribole & Resch unequivocally state several times throughout the book that Intuitive Eating is incompatible with a desire to lose weight. In one of the more amusing passages from the book, they conjure this dire warning: “Our advice: stop weighing yourself. Remember, the scale is the tool of diet culture’s oppression.” Hmm. Yes. A fixation on weight is unhealthy and can lead to disordered eating, but wouldn’t it be better to work towards a neutral attitude to weight instead of ignoring it entirely? Weight is a valid indicator of health - it is only one indicator of many, of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to “throw away your scale” like Tribole & Resch implore.

Principle 9: Movement - Feel the Difference. This chapter is the requisite mention of exercise. They don’t really offer any recommendations here apart from: you should incorporate SOME form of physical activity into your life, and you should focus on how being active makes you feel (as opposed to using as a weight-loss tool). I do think treating physical fitness as a goal unto itself is a wise approach. Certainly, there have been periods in my life when I’ve been heavier in terms of weight, but healthier as far as fitness goes. Being fit makes you feel good regardless of how much you happen to weigh.

Principle 10: Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition. Note that word “gentle.” They don’t want people to get obsessive about this, which is good. Don’t worry so much about hitting nutritional targets; as long as you are eating enough and eating a good variety of foods, you are very unlikely to develop a nutritional deficiency. But gosh, did they really have to use the term “play food” as a replacement for “junk food”! It’s bizarre and irritating.

There are a couple of additional chapters on how to raise kids to be life-long Intuitive Eaters and how Intuitive Eating can be used to treat eating disorders, specifically anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. I don’t know enough about eating disorders to evaluate this from any sort of informed perspective, but I did really like the chapter encouraging parents to relax about how their kids eat.

Now, on to some general criticisms.

My biggest issue with the Intuitive Eating philosophy is that it almost completely ignores context and environment. It bashes diet culture, to be sure, but it ignores the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity over the last several decades. It’s not plausible that people were simply better Intuitive Eaters in the past. Most likely, historically lower levels of overweight and obesity were caused by different levels of access to food and greater physical activity during the normal course of a lifetime. In their attack on diet culture, Tribole & Resch neglect to acknowledge that diet culture itself was a response to an increasingly obese population. Intuitive Eating doesn’t take into account the increasingly obesegenic environment that has been shaped through industrialized food systems, politics that provide massive farm subsidies, social systems that put healthy food out of reach of many working families, and cultural systems that encourage people to be workaholics at the expense of their mental and physical health. Tribole & Resch deride the “war on fat”, but they refuse to acknowledge that an increasingly overweight and obese population is also by definition less healthy.

In short, Intuitive Eating doesn’t take into account why people become overweight in the first place. The hypothesis is that people become disconnected from normal eating by placing themselves on restrictive diets. Dieting is not the only reason why people are overweight, though. See above paragraph on systems/politics/culture/society. They don’t even acknowledge, for example, that many modern, highly-processed foods are specifically formulated to be as addictive as possible, and that these foods easily bypass the body’s natural satiety signals. Tribole & Resch also miss a rather fundamental part of eating, which is that people eat because it is pleasurable. Just under 70% of Americans are currently overweight or obese. Not all of those people have eating disorders. Not all of those people try dozens of diets. Not all of those people turn to eating because of emotional difficulties. Many of those people just eat because food tastes good, and before they realize it, it turns out they’ve been eating a little too much for a little too long.

I applaud the Health At Every Size (HAES) philosophy for its goal of challenging weight stigma and encouraging body acceptance. But what Intuitive Eating and HAES both ignore is the preponderance of medical evidence linking higher weights to worse health outcomes. Yes, BMI should not be the only measure used to determine whether an individual is in good health. That doesn’t mean BMI is worthless, though. And yes, people who are overweight but physically active can in some instances be more metabolically fit than people of normal weight who are sedentary. But the healthiest group is pretty much always going to be people who maintain a normal weight AND who exercise.

At the end of the day, Intuitive Eating is an individualistic approach to a systemic problem. It’s useful for counseling, but it’s not going to effect large-scale change and produce a society with healthier-sized bodies. There are undercurrents of evangelism in the Intuitive Eating approach in the sense that Tribole & Resch assert that their philosophy is the ideal philosophy. In other words, Intuitive Eating claims to be a one-size-fits-all approach, which disregards the fact that different approaches work better for different people. Tribole & Resch also condemn the diet industry for being profiteering. Well, I daresay the developers of Intuitive Eating have very much financially benefitted from their “new” philosophy. They are both in private practice in California, their book has sold over half a million copies, and they doubtless rake in hefty speaker fees for their work at conferences and panels.

Overall, Intuitive Eating is a mostly sensible approach to eating and food. But it is imperfect and it is not a panacea. For many people, it will probably work well. But it is not “the answer” and it will not help to produce the structural changes that are so desperately needed to fix our food systems and obesegenic environment.
14 reviews
September 11, 2010
Hmm... Sigh...

This is, essentially, the way to eat. A lot of people do, naturally, it's not like a special, new-age restrictive idea. But for many of us, who see "Drop a Pant Size in 2 Weeks" and constant headlines on the obesity crisis, we can't help but be affected, to feel that something is wrong with us and we have to be perfect. PERFECT. We have to look like this-- on top of being this, acting like this, and anything less means that something is wrong. We don't have enough "will-power".

Not the case, not at all. Restriction of what foods, or how much we can eat only leads to more problems. Your body needs food! Unfortunately, it's not always easy to revert back to this sort of eating style, where you listen to your body, not to your mind, your emotions, your anxieties, even boredom. I plan to go over this book more, because I need to do this for myself, and it's not always easy to do what is best for yourself and your body, when you've always protected yourself through food-- whether it is by starvation, binging, purging, or compulsive eating.
Author 3 books5 followers
May 15, 2014
Intuitive Eating already provides an excellent summary as appendix to the book and very worthwhile details including the science behind intuitive eating. However, as per usual, I’ve taken notes for my own reference and, of course, I’d like to share. Note many sentences are word-for-word, I’ve simply condensed it to the main parts.

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

The problem is that dieting thoughts usually translate into diet-like behaviours, which becomes pseudo-dieting or unconscious dieting. Examples include meticulously counting calories or carbs; eating only “safe” foods; eating only at certain times of the day; paying penance for eating “bad” foods; cutting back on food, especially when feeling fat or a when a special event comes up; pacifying hunger by drinking coffee; putting on a “false food face” in public; competing with someone else who is dieting … feeling obligated to be equally virtuous; second guessing or judging what you deserve to eat; or restricting any food for the purpose of losing weight.

One food, one meal, or one day will not make or break your health or your weight.

It can feel scary because it’s been the only tool you have known to lose weight (albeit temporarily). Let go of the false hope and disappointments from dieting.

You’re bound to defy external factors and authority figures. Only you can know your internal wisdom and be empowered.

Paradigm Shift Steps

1) Recognize and acknowledge the damage that dieting causes

- underreating leads to overeating

2) Be aware of diet mentality trains and thinking

- Forget about willpower, being obedient, and failing. Discipline only works when it aligns with deep beliefs. Rebellion to rules is a normal act of self-preservation – protecting your space, or personal boundaries. When a diet doctor or a diet plan invades your boundaries, it’s normal to feel powerless. But, instead of feeling strong from rebellion, you actually feel out of control and miserable. You can’t fail at Intuitive Eating – it’s a learning process at every point along the way.

3) Get rid of the dieter’s tools: the meal plans and the scales

Principle 2: Honour Your Hunger

Keep your body fed adequately to avoid a primal drive to overeat. Learning to honour the first biological signal sets the stage rebuilding trust with yourself and food.

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a chemical produced by the brain that triggers our drive to eat carbs, the body’s primary and preferred source of energy. Food deprivation drives NPY into action making it easy to turn to a high-carb binge. It is naturally the highest in the morning or when under stress or when carbs are burned as fuel.

Only about half the brain’s cells can use ketosis for energy so low carbs can lead to loss of lean tissue.

Consistently denying hunger also desensitizes hunger signals so you can only “hear” hunger in extreme, ravenous states. This further conditions you to believe you can’t be trusted with food, because ravenous hunger often triggers overeating. Biological cues of satiety are also pushed to the extremes.

Your body needs to know consistently that it will have access to food – that dieting and deprivation have halted, once and for all.

Hunger sensations ranging from gentle to ravenous include: gurgling, gnawing, growling, light-headedness, difficulty concentrating, uncomfortable stomach pain, irritability, feeling faint, headache.

Take care not to get overly hungry. A general guideline is to go no longer than 5 waking hours without eating. Fuelling up your carb tank in the liver runs out every 3-6 hours.

Monitor hunger levels each time you eat, before and after. Is there any relationship between how much you eat and the length of time between eating?

If your eating style leans toward grazing, you may just find you are hungry more often, such as every 2-4 hours. Nibbling sstudies have shown the release of insulin is lower to larger traditional meals of identical calories. The more insulin released, the easier it is for the body to make fat.

The body may do some of its energy fine tuning over a period of days, rather than from hour to hour. This means you may feel full on diet types of foods, but the lack of energy catches up with you; the body wants to compensate.

It’s not bad to follow taste hunger, practical hunger (planning ahead flexibly), and emotional hunger. Ironically, many are often amazed that what they assumed to be emotional eating, was in many instances primal hunger eating. But the out of control feeling of eating is nearly identical, whether it was triggered emotionally or biologically.

Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often, bingeing. When you finally “give in” to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. This means throwing out the preconceived notion that certain foods are good and others are bad. No one food has the power to make you fat or help you to become slim. Eat what you really want. Eat without obligatory penance – personal food deals are not unconditional. When you truly free your food choices, without any hidden agenda of restricting them in the future, you eliminate the urgency to overeat.

The most effective way to instill the belief yo can eat whatever you want is to experience eating the very foods you forbid. It becomes self-evident proof you can handle these foods, they have no magic hold on you or your willpower. With permission, you take the time to taste and may even find it’s not so desirable after all. It may take a few weeks for the desire to taper off. Removing deprivation diminishes the alluring quality, and instead, put food in a reasonable, rational perspective. Legalizing food is critical.

Proceed at a comfortable pace. It takes time to build up trust in yourself. Before you proceed, please be sure that you are consistently honouring your hunger. A ravenous person os bound to overeat regardless of his or her intention.

1. Pay attention to the foods that are appealing to you and make a list of them.

2. Put a check by the foods you actually do eat, then circle remaining foods that you’ve been restricting.

3. Give yourself permission to eat one forbidden food from your list, then go to the market and buy this food, or order it at a restaurant.

4. Check in with yourself to see if the food tastes as good as you imagined. If you find that you really like it, continue to give yourself permission.

5. Make sure that you keep enough of the food in your kitchen so you know it will be there if you want it. Or if that seems too scary, go to a restaurant and order that particular food as often as you like.

Once you’ve made peace with one food, continue on with your list until all the foods are tried, evaluated, and freed. Note you don’t have to experience each and every item- what’s important is to continue the process until you truly know you can eat what you want.

Eating whenever you feel like it, without regard to hunger and fullness, might not be a very satisfying experience and might also cause physical discomfort. Attunement with your body’s satiety cues is an important part of this process.

Principle 4: Challenge the food police

Just because someone makes an inappropriate comment does not make it true.

Destructive dieting voices: food police, diet rebel, and nutrition informant. The informant colludes with the police under the guise of health, but it’s promoting an unconscious diet, but it becomes an ally when the Food Police are exiled. It is then interested in healthy eating and satisfaction with no hidden agenda – note it’s often the last to appear. The distinguishing factor is how you feel when you respond: acquiescent or guilty means you’re dealing with the informant. The diet rebel voice often resides in your head because you’re too scared to confront your “space invaders.”

Powerful ally voices: nutrition ally, nurturer, rebel ally, food anthropologist. The Rebel Ally helps protect boundaries – use your mouth for words instead of food in a direct but polite way. Ask your family to stay out of your food choices or amounts. Tell them they may not make comments about your body. The Food Anthropologist is a neutral observer without judgment. Keeping an intuitive eating journal gives it the data. The Nurturer reassures you you’re ok in a gentle voice, never scolding or pressuring. It can be the vehicle for most of the positive self-talk in your head.

You were born an Intuitive Eater. Gradually, the Intuitive Eater will prevail over the dieter but there will be time when you’ll need to evoke one or all of the positive eating voices to help you get centred and in touch with your Intuitive Eater once again. There are no rigid rules in this process. It is fluid and adapts to the many changes in your life. The integrated Intuitive Eater is a team player that honours gut reactions, whether they are biological, satisfaction-based, or self-protective.

Am I having repetitive and intense feelings? What am I thinking that’s leading me to feel this way? what is true or correct about this belief? What is false? Examine and confront the distorted beliefs that support this thinking. Replace them with thoughts and beliefs that are more rational and reasonable.

With dichotomous (B&W) thinking, go for the grey where unrestrictive eating supports your choices. With absolutist “if then” thinking, replace “should” with permissive statements like can, is okay, may. With catastrophic thinking, treat yourself to hopeful coping statements that confirm your current and future happiness. With pessimistic thinking, make the cup half full. With linear thinking, switch to process thinking, which focuses on continual change and learning rather than just the end result.

Principle 5: Feel Your Fullness

Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is. Respecting fullness hinges on unconditional permission to eat when you are hungry.

Comfortable satiety generally feels subtle, neither hungry nor full, content, but it feels different to each individual.

To break autopilot, it helps to be hyperconscious of your eating experience. The initial step is conscious eating, a phase where you neutrally observe eating as if under a microscope. First, take a mini-time out from eating to regroup and assess where you’re at in your eating. This is not a commitment to stop eating but to be in check with your body, satiety, and taste buds. Are you continuing to eat just because it’s there? Do you feel unsatisfied? Is your hunger going away? Be patient, it takes time to get to know your satiety levels.

When you finish eating, check your fullness level. This will help you identify your last-bite threshold, your endpoint. Don’t feel obligated to leave food on your plate – that is a remnant of the diet mentality. The commitment is instead to get to know your satiety level and your taste buds. It’s perfectly normal to opt to overeat and that’s ok. You may be testing the unconditional permission. When the newness wears off and the deprivation feelings subside, you’ll find it’s easy to leave food on your plate.

Even when it comes to eating without distraction, Intuitive Eating is not another diet with rules to be broken. You are the one who has the internal wisdom about what works for you. You also know what doesn’t work. Be honest with yourself about whether you are able to get the most satisfaction in your eating while engaging in an activity, or whether you’re being distracted by it.

Reinforce your conscious decision to stop. When YOU decise to stop eating, because you’ve reached the last bite threshold, it’s helpful to DO something tho make it a conscious act, such as gently nudging the plate forward or putting the utensils on the plate.

Beware of air food: food that fills up the stomach but offers little sustenance like rice cakes or celery. A balanced meal has more staying power. Simply shoving some food in your mouth like a pacifier to ease hunger pangs may backfire, and the comforting effect will not be long lasting.

Principle 6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content.

1. Ask yourself what you really want to eat. You don’t need to eat a healthy dinner before eating the dessert you’re really craving.

2. Discover the pleasure of the palate in the here and now.

3. Make your eating experience more enjoyable by giving yourself a distinct time (15 min), sitting down at the table, taking several breaths before eating, eating slowly, sensually, savour each bite, put the fork down, and feel your fullness.

4. Don’t settle. One of the biggest assets is the ability to toss aside food that isn’t to your liking.

5. Check in: Does it still taste good?

There will be times when you don’t have the option to get exactly what you want. Remember the concept of thinking in the grey because this is not a process that seeks perfection, but one that offers guidelines to a comfortable relationship with food. After all, it’s only one meal – you will survive! It’s how you jump back into taking care of yourself afterward that makes the difference. Sometimes honouring your hunger is the best you can do.

Principle 7: Cope with your emotions without using food

There is a continuum of emotional eating from mild, almost universal sensory eat to comfort, distraction, sedation, and ultimately punishment with numbing, often anesthetizing eating.

If food is the first and only thing that comes to mind when feeling bad, it can become a destructive coping mechanism. Food can also be used to distract from feelings which in turn blocks your ability to detect your intuitive signals or discovering the source of the feelings and taking care of your true needs. There is nothing wrong with sometimes distraction but food is not the appropriate distractor for temporary relief.

First rule out basic needs: sleep, self-expression, sensual pleasure, intellectual stimulation, comfort, and being heard, understood, and accepted.


sauna or jacuzzi
soothing music
play cards
play with dog
buy yourself little presents
spend time gardening
get a manicure, facial, haircut
buy a teddy bear and hug it
Manage Feelings

Call friend
Pound a pillow
Confront person
Sit with feelings
Talk with therapist

absorbing book
clean closet
stroll around the block
You may need to go through a grieving period for the loss of food as comforter and companion. You may also find you’re experiencing your feelings in a deeper way since you’re no longer covering them up.

Overeating is simply a sign that stressors in your life at that moment surpass the coping mechanisms that you have developed. It can also occur when your lifestyle becomes unbalanced with too many responsibilities and obligations, with too little time for pleasure and relaxation. It’s just an early warning system.

Principle 8: Respect Your Body

Body vigilance begets body worry, which begets food worry, which fuels the cycle of dieting. As long as you are at war with your body, it will be hard to be at peace with yourself. Take care of your body. The emphasis is on healthy living and behaviours. Treat your body with respect, dignity, and meeting its basic needs. Rather than demeaning the results of your coping mechanism, respect yourself for surviving.

My body deserves to be fed. It deserves to be treated with dignity. To be dressed comfortably and in the manner to which I am accustomed. Touched affectionately and with respect. And my body deserves to move comfortably.

Beware of substituting a tight pair of jeans as a pseudo-scale or body-assessment tool. This can undermine how you feel about yourself. It can convey you haven’t made enough progress. Even a slender person will feel uncomfortable in a pair of paints that feel too tight.

If you have a weight number in mind that comes from a time when you were dieting, this sheds information on how low your body weight was able to go under duress – which is not realistic. The more extreme the method, the less likely you were at a healthy weight as a result of that diet. Remember that research shows the actual process of dieting is probably more harmful than the actual body weight itself.

Principle 9: Exercise – Feel the Difference

Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, such as energized.

Principle 10: Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

We define healthy eating as having a healthy balance of foods and having a healthy relationship with food. Eating selection is not a reflection of your character. Achieve authentic health with dynamic integration between inner attunement and external health values. It’s about variety, moderation, and balance. You don’t need to eat perfectly to be healthy.

Protein rich food includes beans, seafood, chicken, turkey, nuts, and lean meats, eggs, and dairy. Nutrient dense foods include whole grains, avocado, nuts, and calcium-fortified soymilk. These quality foods are goals over time, which means even if you eat a candy bar, it will eventually average out. Play food is important for pleasure and freedom. Listen to your body to eat what feels good – all chocolate and only chocolate does not feel good.

As BED patients so often have ignored hunger and fullness and are eating for many other reasons, asking them to listen for signals can be frustrating. The vision of a future free of obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviours is very powerful.

When others ask:

Dieting leads to deprivation, deprivation leads to craving, and craving can lead to out of control behaviour. I eat whatever I want when I’m hungry and find that I’m more easily able to stop when I’m full. When I feel satisfied with what I eat, I eat less. I’m learning to cope with my emotions without using food.

Final note: Weight loss must be put on the back burner as you go through the Intuitive Eating process. Focusing on losing weight will affect decisions about eating and sabotage the process. As you heal from the diet mentality, it is likely your weight will normalize.
Profile Image for Jess Dollar.
619 reviews18 followers
May 1, 2018
I’m very conflicted about this book. I believe in the concept of intuitive eating and I’d love to see the idea become more popular. BUT my conflict comes from what I know about food reward, the brain, and how food companies manipulate us to consume more. I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of eating foods that are engineered to be highly palatable and hard to moderate just because I feel like it. There is a risk there for many of us, and this really isn’t addressed in the book.

The risk is that these foods are designed to trigger overeating and craving. Making ALL foods free to eat in my mind might set me back in my long struggle to avoid addictive food behavior. It’s just not worth the risk.

I also feel like there are subtleties of personality that matter here that just aren’t addressed. Some of us CAN moderate and some people feel better abstaining, and both of these modes of being are ok. Abstaining from food is not necessarily disordered eating, and having free choice is not necessarily freeing.

Also, I just completely ignored the stuff on carbs being necessary, or even the preferred fuel system, for the body and brain. The science tells me otherwise, and so does personal experience.

The book does give some time at the end to the idea of making choices based on what you learn about your body from trial and error, but in my opinion this concept deserved a lot more attention. I understand why they don’t focus on it much, as folks will use any excuse to not give up a dieting mentality. But at the same time, knowing how your own body reacts to things like sugar or wheat or dairy or whatever is important, and making choices to eliminate those foods altogether is perfectly ok.

I’m glad this book exists, and despite my objections I do see that I have lots of room for change in this area. It’s truly all about mindset, and although I wasn’t happy with the science talk in some parts, I did find the book useful and important.
Profile Image for Stephanie’s Libby Antics.
438 reviews1 follower
June 1, 2021
If someone says their primary reason for shaming obese people is that they are concerned for their health, ask them if they are equally concerned for the level of stress that the person is under.

Stress has been repeatedly proven to be a better correlate of health outcomes than body size.

If they did not know this, now they do and they can go on a war against stress instead of their war against fat.

If they do know this, but choose to continue to “fight” against the “obesity epidemic” rather than the mental health and chronic stress epidemic - then you can comfortably sit it the knowledge that no, it is not about health.

It is about fearing (or hating) fat.

A lot of things in our society are about hating fat.
Profile Image for Eli.
201 reviews18 followers
September 5, 2009
I greatly enjoyed this insightful, if slightly overselling explanation of intuitive eating, the authors' working method in the field of nutrition. Their approach is empowering and practical, and unique in the field. I believe that many, many people who struggle or have struggled with food will find something of value in this, whether you use parts of their ideas to supplement your relationship to food or commit to their complete process.

First, an example. A couple months ago, I sat with a half-eaten supper in my bowl, and I spoke out loud about the struggle I was having just then. I didn't want to stuff myself uncomfortably, but it seemed to be the only way I could have a satisfying supper. Gabe said to me, "You know, if you stop eating now, you can always eat more later if you get hungry." I could eat later? But there are rules! I can't eat too late in the evening! I then decided that my desire for a satisfying and pleasant supper experience was more important to me than following an old rule. I ate and I listened to my body with care, stopping when I felt full, knowing that I could get more later if I needed it. Since making the decision to do that frequently, I've gone from stuffing myself to discomfort at supper about 80% of the time, to doing it about 10% of the time.

Without either of us knowing it, we were enacting a central tenet (and strategy) of this book. It is the authors' basic premise that our bodies can be trusted to know what they need and when they are hungry, if we can strip away the unhealthy conditioning we've taken in and stop second-guessing our bodies. For many of us, and for the authors' primary target audience, this means thoroughly understanding and letting go of the diet mentality in all its guises, and nurturing healthy, positive, productive self-talk. The key is completely removing ourselves from rules, which create forbidden actions and foods. These taboos can trigger a starvation response in us... which is surprisingly rampant in our culture of food abundance. By encouraging ourselves to know on a deep level that we can eat what we want and that we will not deprive our bodies, we free ourselves of primal triggers that have us battling scarcity thinking. By removing rules we have imposed on ourselves from the outside - from innumerable sources, many of them well-meaning - we can remove obstacles to hearing our own intuitive interactions with food. This is a fundamental trust in the wisdom of our bodies, something I deeply value.

The book gives a psychologically sound framework for understanding some of the inner voices that can affect our relationship to food, and provides many different strategies for strengthening our own "intuitive eater." The book's content does sometimes get quite repetitious. But since we're talking about changing embedded beliefs, it's logical to review and repeat the pertinent ideas over and over again, to absorb them deeply. Before completing this book, a reader will have already had the opportunity to reflect on the ideas and dig out a few obstacles they may find to their own healthier eating habits.

In a chapter towards the back, the authors address that group of individuals that have required another step before finding that inner voice -- those battling full-fledged eating disorders, that need interventions to minimize the threat before proceeding to the practice of hearing more subtle cues. The authors don't pretend to offer a easy-to-follow manual to exit out of such complex issues... but in addressing eating disorders, they have the same type of deep respect for the body and its survival mechanisms that Kate Bornstein did in "Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws". Both sources value all coping mechanisms as something sacred and imaginative, as creative problem-solving. When we start from a place of respecting the ways we manage our problems, we can look practically at what survival and health really mean, and how to expand our healthiest survival skills.

I read parts of this book years ago, and began then to incorporate some ideas. I love getting the feedback from two trained nutritionists that a body's desires for food can be respected and trusted. At that point in my life, I didn't want to leave the more traditional strategy of counting calories and using math to get the pounds down. But now, I am more interested in feeling good and not fighting with food. They have convinced me that they have some great ideas that I want to incorporate into my lifestyle.
Profile Image for Kris.
2,891 reviews69 followers
September 16, 2017
Complex feelings about this book. Overall, the idea is great and, if one has a diet mentality, very perspective shifting. However, because it is a valuable book, I feel even more inclined to offer critique so that the next book on this subject can be even more valuable.
1. This is a dated read. There is much talk about "normal weight", even while acknowledging that not everyone has the same weight that should be normal for them. There is still a sense that thin is better, while I feel the focus should be on health at every size.
2. The privilege in this book goes entirely unacknowledged. Eating what you crave, when you crave it, and having access to fresh, whole foods when you would like them is not the reality for many, many people. A lot of people have to eat what they can, when they can, or they don't get to eat at all.
3. There is a lot of nutrition information in here that gives it a "diet book" feel, while still saying over and over that diets are bad. This information was not necessary to the book, I feel. It is available in many other places, and it takes away from the value of the book, which is intuitive or mindful eating.
4. I felt like it doesn't take eating disorders seriously enough. It does say to work with a professional to help you get back to a point where you can trust your instincts, but doesn't give much practical advice on where to start with that. It just isn't the right book for someone a serious eating disorder, and it should spell that out clearly instead of hedging and then giving examples of recovering with intuitive eating.
Overall, it is a great start, and I am glad the concept has been embraced by many. Making peace with your body and food is so important, and this a a good introduction.
Profile Image for Jacqueline Wheeler.
506 reviews1,515 followers
April 30, 2022
I enjoyed reading this book to get a fresh new perspective. I struggle with constant dieting and gaining weight, so I wanted to read something that would bring me peace with food instead. This is a great book for many people and goes into alot about your relationship with food and eating disorders. I would recommend to anyone that has been a dieter or struggles with diet mentality.
Profile Image for Laura Tremaine.
Author 3 books841 followers
February 8, 2018
Absolutely fantastic and such an important topic that covers a wide range of food issues (we all have them). I feel like I’ve been hypnotized by the concepts presented here, in the most positive, affirming way. I want to recommend this to every single woman I know.
Profile Image for Fiona Black.
16 reviews
December 9, 2020
My psychologist recommended I read this as I was struggling with emotional eating. This is a horrible book for anyone who wants to lose weight. I felt shamed for that. I couldn't finish the book because of it. The intuitive eating principles seem good but the constant "you can't want to lose weight" that this throws at you is ridiculous. They preach about living a satisfied and happy life, well when there are things I can't do (skydiving, parasailing) at my current weight I am not satisfied. I can appreciate, honour, and love my body as is and still want it to be in a better condition. Kind of like anything else in life, you can be happy now and still have goals. If you have any feelings of wanting to lose weight maybe find a different resource for intuitive eating.
Profile Image for Kathy.
125 reviews13 followers
March 10, 2011
I came across a mention of this book on a blog and thought it sounded interesting. It's about losing the diet mentality and having a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. The book is geared toward chronic dieters, which I am not. I don't think I've ever seriously dieted. Sometimes I'll focus on smaller portions or eating healthier, but I'm not about denying myself foods or counting calories. If I'm hungry I eat. Even though it's not written with me in mind so much, I got some useful and interesting things out of it. While reading it I was more aware of my eating habits and learned interesting things about myself that I hadn't realized. I noticed it's not hard for me to wait until I'm hungry to eat unless I am stressed out. Then I just want to eat. I realized if I take smaller amounts and really think about if I'm satisfied before getting more, I usually am and don't need more. I learned that I have a tendency to want to eat food just because it's available and yummy, whether I'm hungry or not, like at a buffet. I don't like letting food go to waste and tend to clean my plate. I liked the author's comment that it's not going to waste, it's going to waist. The book helped me shake off some of those behaviors, at least while reading it. Since I finished it over a month ago, I've become somewhat less conscious again.

The authors' ideas are basically that we should give ourselves permission to eat whenever and whatever we want, but we need to be conscious about it. Think about if we are hungry, if the food is really what would be most satisfying to us right then, and so on. And then, even if the answers are no, we can eat it anyway if we choose, but it makes us more aware of why we are eating and prevents us from getting into a deprivation mentality where we then turn to eventual splurging and overeating to compensate. We should also stop eating when we are satisfied, rather than just mindlessly eating because there is still food there. It also covers having a realistic expectation of our bodies and learning to accept and appreciate them for what they do. The ideas made a lot of sense to me and it seems like a healthy, balanced approach to eating.
Profile Image for Anna Schubert.
330 reviews
August 27, 2019
This was way more worthwhile than I expected it to be. If you grew up around any disordered eating, it's worth a read. I thought I was pretty accepting about just eating healthy and not worrying about food as inherently "good" or"bad", but this made me realize how much unhealthy my relationship to food still has been.

The section on kids and intuitive eating was really helpful. Yet another area (like education) where trusting your kid as a baseline approach is just critical - the way I've been doing things hasn't lined up with my beliefs, and this helped me to think through how to align my beliefs and practices.
Profile Image for Lynda.
2,302 reviews111 followers
August 22, 2009
No. It does not work. At one point 10 of us got together to read and put this book into practice together. In time we brought in other friends. The experiment lasted less than 6 months. By that time, no one had lost weight or still followed the plan.
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,659 followers
May 18, 2020
There is a lot of good advice in here--especially when it comes to raising teenagers to be intuitive eaters and to not have food issues.
Profile Image for Marina.
328 reviews
February 21, 2017
I'm not entirely sure how to rate this book because....

...on the one hand, it does make perfect sense and it is kind of eye-opening, but
...on the other hand, there is so much information that is just completely unnecessary.
The book is way too long, with way too many examples that do not really help. I know this sounds rude, but why should I care what happened in XYZ's life? I know these examples were chosen so that the reader has a representation/an example of the explained principle in 'real life', it might even give some people an opportunity to relate to those patients. But after some examples, I just skipped them altogether. Those names given to the patients also did not really help at all...

Ok, they might be helpful for people who have no idea about diet/health books. But for people who tend to regularly read books in this category or who already have some knowledge of nutrition, it is not necessary to read about protein/carbs/fats etc. And also, for people who are consciously trying to reject diet culture and are aware of how magazines/ads etc. work, some information might also seem kind of boring. As this book tries to help those who are stuck with crazy diets/diet mentality/ or even eating disorders, one might expect that these people already have some knowledge.

In my opinion, it is enough to read the last chapter, which gives you an 'overview' of all the principles. What it actually does (to me): it gives you everything you need to know without the (sometimes annoying) examples. So basically, this book could be reduced to 20 pages maximum.

HOWEVER, I can recommend this book to ANYONE who is sick and tired of being manipulated, and especially to young girls!!!!!
It is so easy to become obsessed with certain food rules and beliefs (especially with YouTube now being a big business and people promoting different kinds of diet as THE ONLY RIGHT ONE). It is so easy to limit oneself, to become obsessed, to form rules and once you 'break those rules', even just slightly, everything escalates. But if you just consider for one second what it actually DOES, what breaking this rule (i.e. eating a bit more, eating some excessive calories) actually does to your body, it's nothing. And it's ridiculous to punish oneself for it.
I also really liked the way that the authors talked about exercise and fitness: People need to learn to see exercise as a separate thing from food. They asked a question, something like, how often do people think 'Oh, I ate so poorly today. I ate so much.. even working out won't solve that..' or 'only 10 minutes of a workout is not worth it.' or 'going for a walk does not burn enough calories etc.'. people need to see that while excising can be used as a tool in a diet, it is also separate from it. Because all those things mentioned above do not matter at all, if you consider for only one moment, what exercising means for your BODY and health, and not necessarily for body aims/diet aims. 10 minutes of slowly walking is STILL good for you, for your heart, even if it might not burn so many calories. And so on.

What I really liked about this book is the emphasis on freedom. And that being free of diet mentality is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than looking a certain way. It might not be as apparent how diets work, and how they limit people in their lives. Dieting can literally ruin peoples' lives without them even noticing (like, rejecting an invitation because you fear that someone will push food on you or force you to eat something. JUST THINK ABOUT IT. Rejecting an invitation for something like that!)

I can say that I like the principle behind this book, and while I agree with everything the authors do say, I don't think that someone who has read the book is ready to change. It is not motivational enough (yeah, the reader must make the decision himself/herself, but still.). I expected some more guidance, too. Some more 'easy tools' to use during the process.

Summing up:
I believe that people have forgotten how to eat intuitively, and that diet culture and 'health movements' have totally messed up our ways of thinking. While I can at least somewhat proudly say that I really don't fall for any of those supposed-to-be-healthy-diets and products, and I don't fall for any ads/campaigns/'sucess stories) anymore (hey, it's been a loooong loong way..), TOO MANY PEOPLE STILL DO. And it is those people that NEED to read this book ASAP!
We have made everything WAY TOO COMPLICATED, way too restricted. We constantly fight to find THE SOLUTION, THE ONLY RIGHT WAY. And all the while, we forget what eating is actually all about: nurturing our bodies and spirit/souls (whatever you want to call it).
The book states a lot of facts that makes the reader think about eating. The simple process of eating that has become such an obstacle for way too many people.
But at the same time, I don't find the structure of the book helpful at all...
Profile Image for Ona.
141 reviews24 followers
January 25, 2022
This book has really got me thinking about my relationship with food, it makes you truly examine your lifestyle and how you eat. It provides you with information to consider every time you put something into your mouth.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who's been dieting and wants to return some sanity to their eating life and health.
Profile Image for Kimberly Read.
127 reviews6 followers
September 29, 2013
I hate dieting. I detest counting calories or fat grams or carbs. I already find it difficult to squeeze grocery shopping into my hectic schedule so just the thought of adding any more time going label by label through the store, makes me seriously cranky. The minute I add a diet to my intentions, I find myself anxiously binging on my favorite foods in anticipation of their loss. And a few days into any diet, I swear I would mug a Girl Scout for her cookies! However, I am quite overweight (we call it plump in my house) and diabetic; my doctor is always on me to loose weight. What is a person to do?

I really do NOT want to be hassled with the dieting frustration, but the anxiety of not taking care of myself, the encouragement from my doctor to drop even five pounds, the unintentional (or otherwise) pressure of friends and family who are all dieting, add up to unbelievable amounts of guilt. In an overture to alleviating some of this guilt, I recently attended a nutrition seminar during one of my lunch breaks. I must confess that I really had no intention of starting yet another exercise in proving just how little self-control I have, but I went.

Everything the nutritionist said I’ve heard before. I know it all by heart. Blah. Blah. Yadda. Yadda. And then towards the end of the hour, she mentioned a book she highly recommended called Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. In the material she distributed about the book, it had the catch phrase, “Free yourself from chronic dieting forever.” Well! That did catch my attention. I went back to my office and ordered the book.

It was an excellent purchase. As it turns out, I am hardly the only person completely fed up with being guilt-ridden into diets that only serve to undermine my self-esteem and crank my weight up a few more pounds. And I discovered that some of what I considered my weirder eating habits are actually quite common.

Profile Image for AJ Nolan.
777 reviews9 followers
November 14, 2021
An eye opening approach to healing the way we eat and relate to our bodies. I'm not usually one for self-help books, but their approach to breaking down the science of how and why diets fail, and will continue to fail, and how so many of us need to heal our relationships with food and self-image really resonated with me. And so I would usually not even own up to having read a book like this, but I'm not hiding it, nor the fact that his book resonated with me.
Profile Image for Lena.
199 reviews28 followers
May 23, 2022
Bardzo spoko książka i fajnie ogarnia temat jedzenia intuicyjnego (skądinąd, moim zdaniem, jednego z najciekawszych tematów dot. odżywiania), tylko…czeeeemuu taaakaaa przeeegaaadaaanaaaaaa ._.

Niech ktoś w końcu wytłumaczy tym wszystkim poradnikowym bąbelkom, że człowiek jest w stanie przeczytać i przyswoić zdanie bez konieczności rozpracowywania go przy pomocy siedmiu metafor i historyjek z życia Mirandy, Andrei i Louisa.
Profile Image for Mehrnaz.
143 reviews93 followers
August 23, 2021
به نظر میرسه کتاب خوبی باشه ولی من بعد سه چهار بار تلاش واقعا نتونستم تحملش کنم. سبک خیلی قدیمی و حوصله‌‌سربری داره!
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