5 Ways to Get Started with Intuitive Eating

An African American woman sits outside and takes a bite of her meal
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I have been told by a few clients that after reading about Intuitive Eating they felt set free. Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based model that ties together mind and body via 10 principles. It looks at food from an “all foods fit” approach, fosters introceptive awareness, helping one listen to their own body’s cues for nourishment and movement. The book’s principles really resonated with people, and some felt like they were reading about their own life experiences. One client told me she knew diets didn’t work, but the idea that she could stop dieting never really occurred to her.

With these great revelations that really warm my heart came some really good feedback. Many let me know that while the concepts of intuitive eating made sense, they didn’t know where to start. They had a full understanding that intuitive eating was the answer to a lifetime of fighting with their body but were left wondering: How do I start? What is next?

This made so much sense to me, they had been on so many diets that having a set of rules to follow was just naturally the next step. They were looking to me to provide that. It is why I wanted to become a certified intuitive eating counselor — I wanted to help. I know embarking on your journey can be uncomfortable and filled with uncertainty.

When I work with clients I typically recommend 5 ways to get started with Intuitive Eating.

Practice recognizing diet culture.

  • Once we can see diet culture, it can’t be unseen.
  • Look for it in the magazines, on the internet and in yourself. What thoughts and beliefs do you hold that are really diet culture at work.

Practice getting to know your own body.

  • I have clients check in every two hours throughout the day and just ask themselves if they feel pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. This is helping to practice some inner work.

Make a list of foods you really like.

  • Circle the foods you avoid for reasons diet culture taught you.
  • Maybe bring back one of the foods you circled this week and eat it — no judgment, just get curious.

Experiment with eating regularly.

  • Eat every 3 to 4 hours, start with having 3 meals and 1 to 3 snacks per day; notice your hunger throughout the day/week. Does it change? What does this bring up for you?

Practice compassion.

  • This is not a journey that is made in a day. Or a month. Give yourself some grace — you can’t do it wrong or fail. That is the beauty of it. It is your body, you can trust it, and it will learn to trust you.

With all the ways we can get started, I often ask clients to explore a little about how each experience felt for them. What questions did it bring up? And when thinking about the principles of intuitive eating, would it be helpful to start with a specific one.

Intuitive eating is really about getting curious — there is no judgement needed. If we can practice getting curious about our intentions behind our behaviors, we can really start to understand if our behaviors are serving us.

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Ashley Munro
Ashley Munro, RD, CDE, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, is based in Tucson, AZ, and owner of Ashley Munro Nutrition. She blogs at ashleymunrord.com. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.