What Is Intuitive Eating?

The newest diet trend to hit the wellness world isn’t really a diet at all (at least not in the modern sense of the word) . It’s called “intuitive eating”, and it’s pretty much the way we’re programmed to feed ourselves.

Intuitive Eating Definition

The problem with modern diets is that they tend to center around the idea of deprivation, which is why they tend to make people miserable. And when people are miserable, they tend to overeat (and eat junk). The point of intuitive eating is to limit that feeling of deprivation. In fact, there should be no sense of deprivation at all.

Taking deprivation—along with negative feelings like shame, guilt, and fear—out of the picture makes for an emotionally balanced way of eating. And it allows you to enjoy the foods you want and need.

Intuitive eating is essentially eating what you want. That’s right: no weighing out portions, no counting calories, no cutting out entire food groups. It’s about eating what makes you feel good.

Does this all sound like the makings for a dietary disaster? Not so fast. If you allow yourself free reign of foods, you’re not necessarily going to eat chips and pizza all the time, at least not if you’re eating intuitively.

Once you release the negative emotions you have around food, it becomes easier to get reacquainted with your body and feed it foods that make it feel healthy and wonderful. You might be surprised by how often you crave healthy, refreshing salads or smoothies once you tune in a little.

Close up of a happy woman eating chocolate.

So what does an intuitive diet look like?

First, get rid of the guilt you have around eating certain foods. Guilt serves no one. Rather, pay mindful attention to your hunger and the cravings you’re physically experiencing. Work to give your body what it’s asking for.

If you give your body what it needs in reasonable quantities, you’re less likely to overeat and less likely to eat junk—especially once you detach your diet from negative programming. Here are the basic tenets of intuitive eating:

  • No food is off limits.
  • There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” food.
  • Honor your hunger—and your fullness.
  • Get reacquainted with a sense of satisfaction and joy from food.
  • Find ways to comfort yourself that aren’t food-related.
  • Love and respect your body for what it is.
  • Feed yourself with wellness in mind (eat foods that make you feel good physically—not emotionally).

Two young women laughing and holding ice cream in hand

The point is to get back in touch with how certain foods make your body feel and to lean into that without the incessant weight of all those socially-constructed negative emotions we carry around food.

Sure, a diet plan that doesn’t involve any sort of deprivation sounds a little oxymoronic, but diets don’t have to represent deprivation. They should just represent what we eat. When it comes to eating, using your intuition is a pretty sure bet.

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Anna R
Anna R2 hours ago

thank you for sharing

Michael Friedmann
Michael F3 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer5 days ago

Hmmmmm. Interesting. I might try this

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson10 days ago

Thank you.

Lesa D
Lesa D10 days ago

thank you Jordyn...

Melanie S

I changed my diet to eat more salads and fruit but a craving is a craving! Once I have satisfied my craving, I won't eat it for a long time.

Sara S
Sara S15 days ago

My experience has been that once you become used to eating a whole-foods plant-based diet, your body intuitively knows which nutrients you need, and your appetite will guide you to foods that will provide them for you.

Ingrid A
Past Member 15 days ago

thanks very much

Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall17 days ago


Leanne K
Leanne K17 days ago

Honestly I have never been on a diet, ever