Intuitive Eating: Putting an End to Diets

June 9, 2023 , ,

In recent years, the “Anti-diet” movement has gained momentum, with the aim of promoting sustainable alternatives to weight loss diets. One of them is the adoption of a more intuitive eating style.

In effect, the diet industry is very influential, and many people have had the experience of following a weight loss diet during their lifetime. According to the 2013-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 49% of American adults have tried to lose weight in the last 12 months. Despite the fact that this data is not the most recent, we can believe that there is still today a good part of the population who are concerned about their weight and/or who are trying to control their weight.

On the other hand, more and more studies question the long-term success of weight loss interventions, and point to the risk of cyclical or “yo-yo” dieting. Weight fluctuation is potentially a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and cancer prevalence, but more research needs to be conducted on this. In addition, undertaking repeated diets can negatively affect the mental health of individuals, and contribute to the development of eating disorders.

So how do you adopt a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits without falling into the vicious cycle of weight loss diets? Intuitive eating can be a helpful and kind alternative.

What is Intuitive Eating?

This concept was popularized in the 1990s by American dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. Intuitive eating relies on listening to one’s body for signals of hunger and satiety, as well as the pleasure of eating and moving. It is important to mention that unlike weight loss diets, this approach is not aimed at weight loss, but rather seeks to help people develop a healthy relationship with food in a caring way.

Intuitive eating is based on the following 10 principles (from the book by E.Resch and E.Tribole):

  1. Reject the mentality of weight loss diets
  2. Honor one’s hunger
  3. Make peace with food and allow yourself to eat what you want
  4. Stop categorizing foods as “good” or “bad”
  5. Discover the satisfaction and pleasure of eating
  6. Recognize your signals of satiety
  7. Live your emotions without necessarily using food
  8. Respect your body as it is
  9. Being physically active for fun, not to lose weight
  10. Honor your health and your taste buds

It is wrong and simplistic to think that this means that we can: “eat whatever we want, when we want”. Eating intuitively is something that can be learned, and the process can be facilitated by the accompaniment of a qualified dietitian.

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Katharina Paul-Mercier
Katharina is a graduate of McGill University in human nutrition and an avtive member of the Order of Dietitians and Nutritionists of Quebec (ODNQ). She holds the Monash University's certification for the FODMAP diet and IBS, and has hands-on clinical experience in that area. She first approaches nutrition through the pleasure of eating, with a holistic perspective of the individual. It is with kindness that she will accompany you in achieving your goals, helping you to ensure that lifestyle changes will be lasting and balanced. In addition to clinical nutrition, Katharina has a keen interest in local food and is an avid outdoor person. She also completed a minor in ecological agriculture during her university career.

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