WHY INTUITIVE EATING?

LET’S START AT THE…START

WHAT THE HECK IS INTUITIVE EATING?

Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based framework that helps people move toward a more positive relationship with food, movement, their bodies, and themselves.

If you can’t remember a time when you weren’t beating yourself up for eating the ‘wrong’ thing, or trying to wish yourself into a smaller body, you are not alone. Let us repeat, you are NOT alone. Somehow, in our modern culture of progressive freedom, acceptance and equality, it is STILL acceptable (heck, even ‘normal’) for the majority of us to feel ‘not good enough’ in our own bodies. To live each day wishing we were someone, or something else.

But just because this feeling has been normalised in our society, doesn’t mean that it is normal. The concept of Intuitive Eating was born from a desire to counteract this normalisation, and to help individuals break free from the shackles of diet culture, body shaming, and restrictive eating. Intuitive Eating is the food revolution!

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Fun fact: If diet culture didn’t exist, the concept of Intuitive Eating would just be called…. Eating!

As humans, we are all born with an innate ability to know how to feed ourselves. There are all sorts of cues that let us know what our body wants and needs to keep on keepin’ on. It’s just that at some point, external influences (like diet culture and misguided media) tend to get in the way.

By calling the experience of eating Intuitive, we are reclaiming the experience of eating, and once again making it our own. We are choosing to let go of the rules, restrictions and relevance that diets and diet culture has over us. We are choosing the path of self-determination, to go with our gut, our own… intuition.

And the thing about intuition, no one else can give it to you—it can only come from within.

Fun fact: If diet culture didn’t exist, the concept of Intuitive Eating would just be called…. Eating!

As humans, we are all born with an innate ability to know how to feed ourselves. There are all sorts of cues that let us know what our body wants and needs to keep on keepin’ on. It’s just that at some point, external influences (like diet culture and misguided media) tend to get in the way.

By calling the experience of eating Intuitive, we are reclaiming the experience of eating, and once again making it our own. We are choosing to let go of the rules, restrictions and relevance that diets and diet culture has over us. We are choosing the path of self-determination, to go with our gut, our own… intuition.

And the thing about intuition, no one else can give it to you—it can only come from within.

GET THE
STRAIGHT
ON DIETS.

Supported: Diets don’t actually work...

Research shows that a large percentage of diets fail, with most participants in clinical studies regaining lost weight within 1-5 years. Alongside that, many dieters admit to having unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviours related to food and their bodies. If you want to read nitty gritty details on why diets don’t work, we’ve covered it further down this page.

Supported: Diets increase your risk of developing health disorders

Dieting is a known risk factor for the development of eating disorders, disordered eating, weight gain in the long term, increased body dissatisfaction and poor health outcomes over time.

Diets, more often than not, take us far further away from true health and the original goals we had set in the first place. Rather than teaching us how to read our bodies intuitively and practice sustainable habits for the long-term, they direct us to unconsciously associate guilt and shame when allowing ourselves to enjoy a lifestyle filled with the enjoyment of eating. But people don’t know what they don’t know, and that’s why we are here!

GET THE STRAIGHT
ON DIETS.

Supported: Diets don’t actually work...

Research shows that a large percentage of diets fail, with most participants in clinical studies regaining lost weight within 1-5 years. Alongside that, many dieters admit to having unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviours related to food and their bodies. If you want to read nitty gritty details on why diets don’t work, we’ve covered it further down this page.

Supported: Diets increase your risk of developing health disorders

Dieting is a known risk factor for the development of eating disorders, disordered eating, weight gain in the long term, increased body dissatisfaction and poor health outcomes over time.

Diets, more often than not, take us far further away from true health and the original goals we had set in the first place. Rather than teaching us how to read our bodies intuitively and practice sustainable habits for the long-term, they direct us to unconsciously associate guilt and shame when allowing ourselves to enjoy a lifestyle filled with the enjoyment of eating. But people don’t know what they don’t know, and that’s why we are here!

SO IF DIETS AREN’T THE ANSWER, THEN WHAT?

THE 10 PRINCIPLES OF INTUITIVE EATING

The Intuitive Eating Framework is built upon ten guiding principles. These principles will be your guide in helping you reconnect with your body’s unique cues of hunger and fullness, and learn how to really explore the many roles that food plays in life, without the shadow diet culture.

Click around on the icons below to discover more about each Intuitive Eating principle!

The Intuitive Eating Framework was co-founded by the incredible Intuitive Eating Pros, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
For a full list of Intuitive Eating studies, click here.

The Intuitive Eating Framework was co-founded by the incredible Intuitive Eating Pros, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. For a full list of Intuitive Eating studies, click here.

WHY YOU WONT FIND ‘DIETING’ ANYWHERE IN OUR PLAYBOOK.

No diet formula, magic pill, app, or program written by someone else can truly understand your body like you can. Only you know exactly what your unique hormonal cues of hunger (ghrelin) and fullness (leptin) are, what foods feel good in your body, what foods satisfy you and your taste buds, how much your body needs to feel adequately nourished, what movement you and your body truly enjoy, and the mechanisms you have in place for dealing with challenging emotions.

Only you have those answers.

Diets are a poor attempt at a one-size-fits all approach to ‘better’ health, promoting short-term weight loss as the ONLY goal, no matter the detriment it causes to your relationship with food, your quality of life and your ability to interpret and act on your internal hormonal cues long-term.

In contrast, the Intuitive Eating Framework flips the concept of dieting completely on its head. It teaches you how to listen to, understand and interpret your internal cues, rather than ignore them. It gives you the knowledge and skills to be able to create your own path to achieve the goals you want, without compromising your relationship with food, your body image and experience of eating.

Tap to Read More

Only you have those answers.

Diets are a poor attempt at a one-size-fits all approach to ‘better’ health, promoting short-term weight loss as the ONLY goal, no matter the detriment it causes to your relationship with food, your quality of life and your ability to interpret and act on your internal hormonal cues long-term.

In contrast, the Intuitive Eating Framework flips the concept of dieting completely on its head. It teaches you how to listen to, understand and interpret your internal cues, rather than ignore them. It gives you the knowledge and skills to be able to create your own path to achieve the goals you want, without compromising your relationship with food, your body image and experience of eating.

THE FACTS: WHY DIETING DOESN’T WORK

01Less efficient metabolism
01 Dieting can cause less efficient metabolism

Diets often encourage a sudden restriction or drop in dietary intake, more commonly known in diet culture as a ‘calorie deficit’. While this does often result in initial weight loss (at least maybe the first few diets), what most people fail to understand is this: fast, rapid weight loss and sudden reductions in overall energy intake triggers your body to conserve its energy stores. Meaning? After repeated bouts of intake reduction, it becomes very hard for you to lose any weight at all.

Your body doesn’t know you have a Coles on every street corner, or a pantry stocked with food. The cells in your body just know one thing— suddenly, there’s a significant drop in the amount of food coming in, and it’s time to conserve that energy, pronto!

This reaction is actually your body trying to have your back and protect you from (what it thinks is) starvation risk. It’s a biological mechanism that has been refined over our evolution and is extremely efficient at recognising an energy intake shortage, curbing your metabolic rate to save on energy until your intake returns to normal levels.

This is why during the first few diets weight can seem to just ‘melt away’, but over time it becomes increasingly hard to get the same results using the same calorie deficit programs. You’re coming up against some seriously strong biological protection!

Interesting, huh? Read more about it here.

02Bing-eating and over-eating
02 Dieting can lead to binge-eating and over-eating

Firstly, let’s get a few things straight: binge-eating and over-eating are different from one another. Binge-eating is a diagnosed eating disorder characterised by consuming larger-than-normal quantities of foods. As the term ‘diagnosed’ suggested, we call this an objective binge.

Sometimes, people can believe they are binge-eating, but are in fact over-eating (we call this a subjective binge). Over-eating is a normal part of eating—we all over-eat at times, and it is normal to do so! But it can be worth exploring and unpacking your experience if you feel it’s happening more often than not, and is affecting your quality of life.

Excessive binge-eating or over-eating habits tend to come from 1 thing: deprivation. And what are most diet programs built off? Deprivation.

More on Deprivation

Biological Deprivation

Aka—not eating enough food overall throughout the day

Ghrelin (our hunger hormone) generally rises and falls throughout the day in 3–4-hour cycles, building and building until we eat.  During our waking hours, our blood glucose levels can only really be maintained without food intake for about the same time (3-4 hours).

What this means is that as this timeframe spans out, our hunger hormone is rising, while our blood glucose levels are dropping. This crossover period is where we can have difficulty concentrating, feel foggy or shaky and even nauseous on the more extreme end. We may experience cravings for fast acting carbs or sugary foods (as our body intuitively seeks out a fast-acting way to get our blood glucose levels back up to a safe range again).

In this way, not eating enough throughout the day can biologically make us susceptible or vulnerable to an over-eating episode or a binge-eating episode.

Psychological Deprivation

Aka—denying oneself the pleasure of certain foods

Imagine this: after days of denying yourself those certain foods you’ve been craving, you’re finally letting yourself have some. It’s natural instinct for you to feel a level of urgency, and perhaps feeling ‘out of control’ around that food—because how can you eat that food item to true satisfaction if there’s a thought in the back of your head believing you won’t let yourself have this food ever again?

Who wouldn’t eat till excess if they feared something was eventually going to be taken away from them? Especially if it were a food they derived so much pleasure and satisfaction from!

There’s a psychological phenomenon at play here – tell the kid not to play with the blue block in the corner, and it’s all they will want to play with. The same thing happens to our adult brains, and it’s happening right here with food. The answer? Give yourself permission, not restriction!

A Dangerous Combined Effect

Now, combine both biological deprivation (going long periods without eating or not eating enough overall) and psychological deprivation (denying yourself the pleasure of certain foods) and BAM—we have the perfect incubator for over-eating or binge-eating habits to grow and thrive.

03Rebound weight gain
03 Dieting leads to rebound weight gain

It is a well-researched and well-established fact that the more someone engages in dieting for intentional weight loss, the more weight they gain back in the long-term (often regaining more than their baseline weight).

So, while a first-time dieter may have no problems losing weight (we often hear things like “the first time, it just melted away!”), we also sit with people every day as they reflect & realise that each time they dieted, more weight came back in the long-term.

This can be explained by metabolic changes and shifts that occur in restriction, and the protective factors that are triggered when the body heads into starvation mode. Perhaps a dieter may think the way to get rid of this rebound weight gain is to undertake yet another diet? And thus, the cycle continues…

Short term loss, long-term gain

So, while a dieter may perceive that dieting is the key to their desired outcome (short term weight loss), it’s actually having the complete opposite effect long-term (long-term weight gain). Sometimes, the companies, organisations or people selling you weight loss products don’t know this stuff or may not understand how our brains & bodies work. Even worse, sometimes they do, but perhaps their care factor is elsewhere to your health and wellbeing.

Body weight & size are not accurate measures of a person’s health. Nor does your weight determine your worth. Read more about weight science and the dire need for a paradigm shift here, here and here.

04Food pre-occupation
04 Dieting culture encourages food pre-occupation

Here at CFIE, we love food! We think about food, are excited by food, and look forward to nourishing our bodies, minds and souls through the joyful experience of eating. But it’s not all we think about; or as we could say, we aren’t ‘pre-occupied’ by it.

Often our clients say things like “when I finish a meal, all I’m thinking about is the next one,” or “I can’t stop thinking about food,” and “I’m even dreaming about food”. These experiences are classic examples of food pre-occupation.

Nourished bodies and brains do not pre-occupy

If you’re constantly pre-occupied with food and struggle to think of other things, it is one of the most significant red flags that your body and brain are needing precisely what you can’t stop thinking about: food!

Food pre-occupation could mean you’re not eating enough food overall, or perhaps you’re denying yourself permission to enjoy certain foods or berating yourself for enjoying others. Intuitive Eating will help you learn how to eat enough, and to eat what you truly want to–without the shame or the guilt.

05Disconnection from hormonal body cues
05 Dieting disconnects us from our body’s cues

Dieting disconnects us from our entire beings, overriding the autonomy and innate wisdom our bodies have developed over millennia of biological evolution. When dieting, ‘what to eat’, ‘when to eat’ and ‘how much to eat’ are all determined by an external source (a program written by someone who is NOT living inside your body, or (heaven forbid) an app, or even a math equation invented by some man in the 1800’s… nuts, nuts, and nuts again!)

Basically, what we’re getting at is that, when on a diet, you take no active part in deciding the answers to these questions. People forget that our bodies are incredible; our bodies tell us what we need, when we need it and how much we need it, ALL THE TIME. We’ve just forgotten how to listen.

Dieting disconnects us from these cues, telling us to ignore them, distrust them and override them. With continuous effort put into disconnecting habits, over time we lose awareness of our hormonal cues, and in some cases, completely switch them off biologically (if there’s not enough energy in the body for them to regulate properly, aka restrictive diets!).

06Increased body dissatisfaction
06 Dieting leads to increased body dissatisfaction

Dieting has been linked to increased body dissatisfaction time and time again. Often, the catalyst for dieting may come off the back of someone having a difficult body moment or feeling uncomfortable in their body.

They instantly want to move forward in changing their body in an attempt to change their uncomfortable feelings, rather than sitting with those feelings and being curious about what they mean on a deeper level.

Rather than rebalance our internal emotions and positive body image, dieting encourages harshness and self-criticism, and a sense of ‘never good enough’, ignoring the fact that there are often underlying emotional issues at play.

We’re not at our best when we’re under-fuelled and under-nourished

Restriction imposed by dieting can make negative thoughts about your body and your self-worth feel much, much worse. And it’s no wonder—a limited fuel supply to our bodies & brains can make thinking straight really challenging, more black and white, more rigid, and more self-critical. Not to mention increased difficulty in emotional regulation (remember; carbohydrates are our brain’s only fuel source!) We literally cannot think clearly when we’re not fed adequately…something that diet’s tend to encourage.

Alongside these risk factors, dieting can have dangerous health consequences if left unchecked.
We’ve outlined some of the more common risks here.

HOW DO I KNOW I’M READY TO START MY INTUITIVE EATING JOURNEY?

Depending on your health circumstances and current health goals, it can often be beneficial (and in some cases, necessary) to start with some initial 1:1 consultations before diving into the world of Intuitive Eating. But don’t worry! If you’re new to the clinic, we start every new relationship with an introductory consultation so we can help you find your feet and the best path moving forward.

IF YOU…

  • Feel nervous (but ready) to step toward letting go of diet culture’s exhausting demands, and instead reconnect to your body’s innate wisdom around food and nutrition,
  • Are able to put weight loss as a primary goal on the ‘back burner’,
  • And are open to having vulnerable, reflective discussion in a safe, guided and supportive environment,

Then it sounds like you’re ready to start your Intuitive Eating journey. Let’s get this show on the road!

BOOK YOUR FIRST CONSULTATION

IF YOU…

  • Have the pure desire to lose weight, and cannot see yourself being able to put this primary goal on the ‘back burner’ for the duration of the program,
  • Or have a diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder,
  • Or have a complicated past or present medical history,

Then perhaps some initial 1:1 consultations are required to unpack your current situation, before exploring Intuitive Eating together at a later, more appropriate time. Please know CFIE is always a safe place to discuss your desire for weight loss, if that desire is present, but we will dig deeper to understand what lies beneath. 

BOOK A CONSULATIONOr ask us a question!