Have you heard of intuitive eating, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you? If so, we’ve got some great books on the subject that can help answer your questions.
The truth is, dieting can cause more harm than good, but intuitive eating can be a great alternative. It allows you to navigate eating outside of any diet rules. It is also a great way to connect with your body, and shed some of the societal and cultural expectations and judgements that can drag you down.
First, what is it?
Before we dive into the best books on intuitive eating, let’s find out what it is. Two dietitians, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, created the intuitive eating approach in 1995. It is anti-diet and based on the concept of weight inclusivity. Above all, Intuitive eating is about recognizing and trusting our bodies’ guiding cues.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, intuitive eating means “trusting your inner body wisdom to make choices around food that feel good in your body, without judgment and without influence from diet culture.” Unquestionably, Intuitive eating means a shift away from previous influences that may have guided your diet and exercise regimen, and allowing your body to take charge. To learn more about intuitive eating, check out this article on our blog.
Meanwhile, there are 10 principles of intuitive eating that are critical in building a connection to your body and healing your relationship with food. Review these principles to understand the framework and philosophy behind the intuitive eating approach:
Interested in learning how to apply these principles? You can read some of our recommended books on intuitive eating, but we also recommend that you meet with a Registered Dietitian. A dietitian can break down each principle and come up with a plan to use them in your daily life. Click here to schedule an appointment with an Anderson’s Nutrition Registered Dietitian.
Why is it beneficial?
The intuitive eating approach is a well-studied, evidenced-based, holistic practice that shows promising results for improving physical, emotional and psychological health. This includes less restrictive and binge-type disordered eating thoughts and behaviors, as well as improved self-esteem and body acceptance. Research has also found that intuitive eating can have a positive impact on specific health parameters such as cholesterol and blood pressure.
Where do I start?
If intuitive eating sounds right for you, where and how do you start? In addition to working with a Registered Dietitian to guide you on your intuitive eating journey, there are some great books that can help you learn the specifics.
Best books on intuitive eating
Are you new to intuitive eating and want to learn more? Start with these two resources:
Intuitive Eating – A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Written by the intuitive eating creators, this is considered the go-to resource for the Intuitive Eating movement. This book dives deeply into each principle of intuitive eating, rejecting diet culture and building peace with food, self and body kindness, and more. This book is currently on it’s forth edition (released in 2020) and is updated to include the most up-to-date research and material. Click here to buy the book.
The Intuitive Eating Workbook, by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Interested in a more interactive component? Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch have also created The Intuitive Eating Workbook. The workbook takes you through the principles of Intuitive Eating, and allows you to work through various prompts and activities that apply to your daily life. You can use the workbook in conjunction with the book or on its own. Click here to buy the book.
More familiar with the intuitive eating principles, but want to build upon your knowledge? Check out these books!
Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life, by Alissa Rumsey
Alissa Rumsey is a Registered Dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor. In her book, she utilizes a four-step approach to becoming more in-tune with your body, and building food freedom by creating a more peaceful relationship with food. This book is based firmly on the intuitive eating principles, and includes insight into mindfulness and self/body compassion. Click here to buy the book.
Christy Harrison is a Registered Dietitian dedicated to tackling diet culture. She uses evidenced-based research, as well as stories from her own clients and colleagues, to present the powerful impact of ditching diet culture and embarking on the journey towards becoming an intuitive eater. Click here to buy the book.
Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating, by Rachael Hartley
Also written by an RD, the author provides a practical and clear guide to intuitive eating. This resource includes various charts and graphs, which can be helpful for more visual learners. Bonus: This book also includes recipes for balanced and satisfying meals and snacks! Click here to buy the book.
What makes intuitive eating difficult?
“So in order to be an intuitive eater, I just need to listen to my body and eat what I want? Easy!” Unfortunately, it is not that simple. From an early age, we are trained to disconnect and ignore our hunger and fullness cues. “Finish your plate before you can leave the table.” Sound familiar?
Ever since early childhood, we are surrounded by external influences that dictate our food choices and behaviors. Ignoring our body’s natural cues intensifies as we are exposed to ever-changing fad diets, weight loss tips, fasting schedules, and so forth. We end up listening to everything but the most dependable guide: our own body.
It can be difficult to tune in to our body’s cues again, and learn to trust them. First, we must learn what more subtle hunger and fullness feels like, as compared to more obvious ravenous hunger or extreme fullness. We must learn to pay attention to whether or not we are satisfied, which is different than just being full.
It is also essential that we distinguish between the different types of hunger (physical vs. emotional vs. situational). To become more familiar with your body’s cues, it is helpful to take a mindful approach before, during and after eating.
Who can help you with intuitive eating?
As mentioned, regaining access to our body’s cues is hard work, but working with a Registered Dietitian (RD) can help. An RD can teach you how to identify and track your hunger and fullness signals. They can also show you the appropriate levels of hunger and fullness to aim for, and help you identify whether your hunger is emotional or physical. An RD can also provide you with methods to enhance mindfulness in your eating and movement practices.
Learn how to listen to your body’s physical cues, but also how to honor your cravings and promote satisfaction without over-indulgence.
Ready to ditch the diet approach and enhance your connection to your body? Book an appointment with one of our intuitive eating Registered Dietitians today!
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