Everything you need to know about Intuitive Eating Principles


There’s a way to ditch the diet culture, make peace with food, and prioritize your physical and mental wellbeing.

It’s called “intuitive eating” and it’s not a weight loss program!! Instead, it’s a way to get back in tune with your body and refocus your mind away from “food rules.”

Intuitive eating deprioritizes weight as a primary measure of health, while inviting you to eat the foods you want
when you’re hungry—and stop eating when you feel full. This isn’t a “free for all” to give up and eat how much you
want of whatever you want whenever you want it, either. It’s about getting back in tune with your body and
showing it the respect, it deserves

Eating intuitively means being curious about what and why you want to eat something, and then enjoying it
without judgment. [Yes, without judgment.] It’s about trusting your body’s wisdom without influence from outside
of yourself.

It’s about removing the labels of “good” or “bad” food and ditching the guilt or pride about eating a
certain way. It’s about accepting food—and our bodies—as the amazing wonder that they really are and a belief
that there truly is no “right” or “wrong” way to eat.

The 10 principles of intuitive eating

The two dietitians who popularized intuitive eating in 1995, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, have outlined 10

1 – Reject the diet mentality

Ditch diets that give the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. You are not a failure for every
time a diet stopped working and you gained the weight back. Until you break free from the hope that there’s a new
diet around the corner, you cannot fully embrace intuitive eating.

2 – Honor your hunger

Your body needs adequate energy and nutrition. Keep yourself fed to prevent excessive hunger. By honoring the
first signal of hunger you can start rebuilding trust in yourself and food.

3 – Make peace with food

Stop fighting with food and give yourself unconditional permission to eat. Stop fostering intense feelings of
deprivation by denying yourself a particular food, as these can lead to cravings and bingeing. You don’t want your
“giving in” to lead to overwhelming guilt.

4 – Challenge the food police

Confront the thoughts that you as a person are “good” or “bad” based on what and how much you eat. Diet culture
has created unreasonable rules. The food police are the negative, hopeless, or guilty thoughts that you can chase

5 – Discover the satisfaction factor

Pleasure and satisfaction are some of the basic gifts of existence. By allowing yourself to feel these when you eat,
you can enjoy feeling content and fulfilled. When you do this, you will be able to identify the feeling of

6 – Feel your fullness

Trust that you will give yourself the foods you desire. Pause in the middle of eating and ask how the food tastes.
Listen for the signals that you’re not hungry anymore. Respect when you become comfortably full.

7 – Cope with your emotions with kindness

Restricting food can trigger a loss of control and feel like emotional eating. Be kind to yourself. Comfort and nurture
yourself. Everyone feels anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger. Food won’t fix these feelings—it’s just a short-
term distraction. Ultimately, you have to deal with the uncomfortable emotions.

8 – Respect your body

Everyone is genetically unique, whether it’s shoe size or body size. Respecting your body will help you feel better
about who you are. Being unrealistic or overly critical of your shape or size makes it hard to reject the diet

9 – Movement—feel the difference

Feel the difference activity makes. Not militant or calorie-burning exercise, but simply moving your body. Focus on
how energized it makes you feel.

10 – Honor your health—gentle nutrition

Choose foods that honor your tastebuds and health. Don’t focus on eating perfectly. One snack, meal, or day of
eating won’t suddenly make you unhealthy or deficient in nutrients. Look at how you eat over time. Choose
progress, not perfection.

The science behind intuitive eating

Studies show that people who eat intuitively tend to also have lower body-mass indices (BMIs) and higher levels of
body appreciation and mental health. They are also associated with lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and

A review of eight studies compared “health, not weight loss” eating styles with conventional weight-loss diets.
While they found no significant differences in heart disease risk factors between the two types of diets, they did
find that body satisfaction and eating behavior improved more for people in the “health, not weight loss” groups.

Another review of 24 studies of female college students showed that those who eat intuitively experience less
disordered eating, have a more positive body image, and greater emotional functioning.

Overall, there is a growing amount of research that shows the benefits of intuitive eating on both physical and
mental health.

Intuitive eating and Health at Every Size (HAES)

The non-diet approach of intuitive eating fits within the concept that there can be health at every size. The idea
behind Health at Every Size Ⓡ is to be inclusive of all weights and de-emphasize weight as the main factor to assess
someone’s health. The way someone’s body looks does not tell the whole story about their overall health and
wellbeing. Instead, their habits and lifestyle are more important factors than simply their size and shape.

Like intuitive eating, the HAES Ⓡ paradigm has several principles. They are weight inclusivity, health enhancement,
respectful care, eating for well-being, and life-enhancing movement. These include accepting the diversity of body
shapes, supporting equal access to health information and services, promoting eating based on hunger and satiety,
working to end weight discrimination and bias, and encouraging enjoyable physical movement.

Also, like intuitive eating, the focus of HAES Ⓡ is less toward weight loss and more toward sustainable healthy habits.

According to HAES Ⓡ , the objective is to “advance social justice, create an inclusive and respectful community, and
support people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves.”
Tips to eat more intuitively

There are many things you can do to start eating more intuitively and ditch diet culture and “food rules.”

● Put aside your guilt for previous diets that have failed you. (You have not failed them and you are not bad
for participating in them.)
● Stop focusing on finding or implementing diets that promise easy, permanent weight loss.
● When you feel like eating, ask yourself if you’re truly physically hungry (and not emotionally hungry).
● Eat when you’re physically hungry, don’t deprive yourself. Get back in tune with your body’s signals and
don’t wait until you’re extremely hungry.
● Ask yourself what type of food will satisfy you. (Remember, there aren’t “good” or “bad” foods and you
don’t need to judge yourself for eating—or not eating—them.)
● Pay attention to and enjoy your food while you’re eating it (eat mindfully).
● Stop eating when you are comfortably full.
● Treat your body with dignity and respect—regardless of its size or shape.
● Move your body in a way that is enjoyable and see how that makes you feel.
● Stop worrying about eating perfectly. If you get off track, gently bring yourself back on track.

Final Thoughts

Intuitive eating helps to improve your relationship with food and your body and mind. It’s about challenging
external rules and subconscious habits around eating. It also challenges feelings of guilt or shame associated with
eating a certain way.

To eat intuitively, listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, enjoy a wide variety of foods (because none are
inherently “good” or “bad”), and respect your body.

For a nutritious approach to health based on intuitive eating and Health at Every Size Ⓡ , consult a
nutrition professional who is versed in these programs.

I can help. Here is my link to book a chat about making sure to meet your dietary


Want to enjoy your foods without the guilt from diet culture? Need help seeing how intuitive eating and HAES Ⓡ can
work for you? Looking for ways to implement this non-diet lifestyle into your day-to-day life? Book an appointment
with me to see if my program can help you.




Association for Size Diversity and Health. (n.d.). HAES Ⓡ Approach. https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/health-

Bruce, L. J. & Ricciardelli, L.A. (2016). A systematic review of the psychosocial correlates of intuitive eating among
adult women. Appetite, 96, 454-472. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.10.012.

Food Insight. (2020, January 8). A New Health Option for the New Year: The Non-Diet Approach. Retrieved from

Food Insight. (2020, June 19). The Science Behind Intuitive Eating. Retrieved from https://foodinsight.org/the-

Food Insight. (2018, July 27). Can Our Diets Be Stress-Free? An Intuitive Eating Expert Weighs In. Retrieved from

Health at Every Size Ⓡ . (n.d.). HAES Ⓡ Community. Retrieved from https://haescommunity.com/

Intuitive Eating. (n.d.). 10 principles of intuitive eating. Retrieved from https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-

Khasteganan, N., Lycett, D., Furze, G., & Turner, A. P. (2019). Health, not weight loss, focused programmes versus
conventional weight loss programmes for cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Systematic reviews, 8(1), 200. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-019-1083-8

National Eating Disorders Association. (2018). What does intuitive eating mean? Retrieved from

Sorensen, M. D., Arlinghaus, K. R., Ledoux, T. A., & Johnston, C. A. (2019). Integrating Mindfulness Into Eating
Behaviors. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 13(6), 537–539. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619867626

Today’s Dietitian. (2020, April). Intuitive Eating: Four Intuitive Eating Myths. Retrieved from

Van Dyke, N., & Drinkwater, E. (2014). Review Article Relationships between intuitive eating and health indicators:
Literature review. Public Health Nutrition, 17(8), 1757-1766. doi:10.1017/S1368980013002139







At the age of 35, our hormones begin to change. What starts out as normal, begins to look like a horror movie episode. One day you look at the back of your legs and you see dimples that didn’t use to be there. How about the growing waistline?

Or do you just feel like some days you can’t pull yourself out of a funk?  Well, unfortunately, this is normal as we age. The good news is that we CAN fight back! We start by gaining knowledge about our hormones and setting a strategy to fight back!

Hormones are chemical messengers that are released from your body’s endocrine glands and they travel through your blood to elicit a specific response on another gland, organ, tissue, or cell in your body. These messenger molecules are involved in almost every function of your body, and they are critical to your well-being.

If the balance is out – it can put the brakes on your metabolic engine and it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise, the scales won’t move. There is a simple way to know your hormones are out of balance and it starts with listening to your body and asking yourself if you feel “different.” If the answer is yes, then it’s time to do some work.



Cortisol is your main stress hormone, and it rules the roost when it comes to your other hormones. When your body is under stress, cortisol is released from your adrenal glands. If you have too much stress, and no time to switch it off, your cortisol levels can be high for far too long.

This can result in lots of symptoms including fatigue, mood swings, brain fog, and that ‘stress belly’ – that stubborn fat around the middle. This is part of your survival mechanism – your body will conserve its energy and put fat on in the abdomen which provides an easily accessible energy store for when it needs a fight/flight response. You can often tell a high-stress person due to where they store their excess fat. As I started in my 40s, I noticed this was something that I struggled with personally and had to make changes to reduce this extra body fat, beginning with stress reduction.

The bottom line – when your body is under stress then it becomes hard to lose fat from your belly and really hard to stay energized and balanced.

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, high cortisol levels are very high and it is very difficult to lower these due to excessive workloads, kids at home, and not having enough time in the day to accomplish anything. I know I personally feel this more often than not.


Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, it controls blood sugar levels in the body and is your fat-storing hormone.

Insulin is typically surging all day with the typical American diet. Every time you eat something sugary, your blood sugar spikes putting you at risk for diabetes. You might feel a rush of energy but this is your body’s way of trying to tell you that something is off.  If you are eating clean all day, your body will naturally have sustained energy to tackle all of life’s challenges. After the initial sugar crash, your energy levels plummet, your body stores more fat, and your mood is altered. I don’t know about you but this doesn’t sound pleasant to me.


The thyroid is your metabolism regulator. It turns your metabolism UP (into fat-burning and high energy mode) or DOWN (fat-storing and energy conservation mode) – it’s like a switch for your cells.

So if you’re feeling exhausted, anxious, sluggish, and can’t shift any weight, your metabolism is likely to be slow, and it could be your thyroid not working as it should.

Choosing the right diet for your thyroid is important, especially if you are struggling with weight gain and would like to shed some unwanted fat. Eating selenium-rich foods such as nuts, and magnesium found in green leafy vegetables are good options to start.

If you suspect your thyroid is off, it’s always a good idea to get tested.


Estrogen not only gives you your female characteristics (and curves!), but it’s vital for your mood, energy, weight, brain, bones and heart!

After the age of 35, your levels start to fluctuate and decline. This can cause all sorts of symptoms including PMS, irregular or heavy periods, mood swings, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, memory loss, and anxiety. And when you have these kinds of symptoms going on, your body is going to be in stress mode, craving carbohydrates and once again storing fat!

Stress can also cause problems with this hormone due to the high production of cortisol. If you want to get this under control, fighting cortisol production is key. Another important element is getting enough protein to help release hormone production due to the advantage of protein helping to control your appetite and your food intake for the day. Protein increases your feeling of satiety and helps your body protect muscles, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

So what can you do about it?  Here are a few tips to get you started on the right trail.

  • Eat protein at every meal.
  • Engage in regular exercise.
  • Eat less sugar and refined carbs.
  • Manage stress.
  • Eat a high-fiber diet.
  • Eat healthy fats.
  • Avoid overeating and undereating.
  • Drink green tea.
  • Take omega 3s every day.
  • Get good sleep – 7-8 hours.
  • Stay away from sugary beverages.

Balancing your hormones can be somewhat of a challenge day to day but adding these new lifestyle changes will enable you to level out your hormones and start feeling yourself again. Basically eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and healthy habits can change your life around.

If you need help putting a program together, contact me.  Just remember, you are never alone in your health journey.


Amanda Roy


Do your emotions control you?  Do you notice you end up in the kitchen when you are sad, lonely, or bored? 

Are you an emotional eater?

Yes, we all do it at some point in our lives.  Some of us just have more willpower than others to bring awareness to the problem and take the necessary action steps to conquer it.

Some of us give in to the temptations to “cover up” what we are currently feeling emotionally.

Question for you, do you stress eat?

This means when you feel overwhelmed by something, food will help create a relaxed environment for you. Our brains want to protect us and this is how it will bring us comfort.

Is opening the refrigerator door and looking for something to munch on a common occurrence after work?

This could mean you are lonely or just experiencing some boredom. If you are finding yourself hungry right after dinner, this could also be an example of stress eating.

A good tool to use in these situations is to ask yourself “Why am I hungry?”

Overcoming An Emotion Within The Moment

HALT is a commonly used acronym that is used to help create an action plan in the moment.

  • Am I HUNGRY?
  • Am I ANGRY?
  • Am I LONELY?
  • Am I TIRED?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you have discovered you are an emotional eater and now you can change the behavior.

Age Does Matter

Are you over 35 years old? Unfortunately, when we get to this age, the same diet and exercise plan no longer works. If you find you struggle with this, you are DEFINITELY NOT alone in this frustration.

Many of us learn to medicate ourselves with food when very young. Our parents may have made our favorite food to help soothe us when we were sick. Perhaps we were offered ice cream after school if we had a bad day. If we did a GOOD thing, we would get a treat. Even the school systems reward good behavior with a piece of candy. Does this sound familiar?

I could go on and on…..and on…..

Harmless? Yes to some extent, as our hearts are in the right place with our children, but what are we teaching them?

What did we learn from our parents medicating all our emotions with food? We learned how to lose control and get fat. Right?

How about we get real here? My mom and dad used to tell me to eat everything on my plate because the starving children in Africa didn’t have it as well as we did. My parents weren’t trying to hurt me. They were trying to teach me not to waste and be grateful for what I had. However, I still struggle to this day to leave anything on my plate. It doesn’t matter how full I am. I was trained to not waste food. Do you know what I do now? I have learned to put less food on my plate 🙂  (not always perfect here!)

So What Do We Do Now?


We MUST change this mindset.

We MUST learn to deal with our emotions and not soothe our feelings with a cheeseburger.

When you are standing in front of the refrigerator, not hungry, but searching for something to eat, STOP and ask yourself, WHAT AM I FEELING RIGHT NOW?

Are you bored?

Do you live alone and are lonely?

After putting a name on the emotion, change the result! WALK AWAY! Go for a walk outside. Go to bed. Drink some water. Pray! Just do something else to take your mind off what you are feeling.

YOU are in control of your emotions! YOU!

Redefine Your Purpose With Food

Why do you eat?

Why do we need to eat?

We eat for 2 simple reasons, one is to fuel our bodies and the other is to appreciate flavors.

Are these the only reasons you eat? I have so many clients that struggle with the “taste” of food that I often think how much easier it would be if we couldn’t taste. Do you agree? Absolutely! But I think God intended us to enjoy food because he made us with taste buds. However, God also tells us we need to have self-control. If we are self-medicating on a piece of chocolate when we are stressed or sad, what has control? Definitely not you. The chocolate has control over you.

How about a glass of wine when we get home or a can of beer? It is time to redefine the purpose of food and take control back of our lives!

Eat More Frequently

Next, do not wait too long between meals to eat. Ever heard of low blood sugar? Well, this little word can add up to huge problems. If you skip meals or eat too many sweets or starches, your blood sugar drops and the result is irritation, lack of energy, and ravenous hunger!

So we eat….. but we eat WAY more than we should. Some of us may consume everything in sight! Is this you? One of the problems with binging is that we commonly do not reach for healthy foods like chicken and broccoli, but chips and sugary foods. Subconsciously we are trying to bring our blood sugars back up, however, in turn, we are just raising our risk of causing more health concerns.

So the goal should always be to eat regularly and NEVER let your body feel so ravenous.

When you eat in regular cycles, you are in control. You will feel energized, sustained, and strong. The temptations that creep up are easier to fight off.


What is the difference between head versus heart hunger?

Let’s try to distinguish the emotional connection to food between head hunger and heart hunger. Head hunger generally pops up quickly and you have an intense desire to get something specific. It will consist of something chewy or crunchy. Your emotions, when this desire comes on, start from the need to chew on someone else! Are you upset about something? Are you feeling stressed in that moment?

Head Hunger

Head hunger is usually prompted by pressure-type emotions such as frustration, anger, or resentment. This hunger is generally remedied after the craving is sustained by the desired food, as the emotions can settle down and you can move on with your day.

  • Do you find yourself eating the same foods every day?
  • Do you have to get into the snack machine every afternoon?
  • Do you stop by the donut shop on your way home from work?
  • Do you open a bag of chips when you get home and eat the entire bag?

What are you feeling? Take stock of what is going on in your life.

Are you having problems with your boss? Is your spouse frustrating you? Ask yourself if eating that bag of M&Ms will solve your problem. Don’t deal with the problem with food. Acknowledge the problem and deal with it. Go see a counselor. Talk to your boss about what is going on. Turn your phone off and don’t let the person on the other end say things you dwell on. Take a deep breath….. or two. Pray.

Heart Hunger

Heart hunger has a different connection. It is connected to our heart. This goes a bit deeper.

Do you ever catch yourself walking around the house thinking, “I want something to eat, but I don’t know what?” Heart hunger isn’t usually about something specific you are craving. You just know you want something! When the decision comes, it will be something creamy, soft, or smooth. This could be ice cream, pasta, or another creamy “comfort food.” You might choose foods that you ate during “happier times.” Heart hunger is found in hollow or empty sensations. This could be when you feel sad, lonely, or bored. It could also manifest when you feel you are invisible or when you should have been acknowledged about something and wasn’t. Heart hunger fills those empty holes and soothes our emotions and makes us feel like “everything is going to be okay.

Do you crave sweets or sugars? These could come from times as a child when you had birthday cake or ice cream when you were nurtured, supported, and loved. Food is used more as a drug in this category. If we eat, we will numb our pain. It helps us avoid our sadness or acknowledge that we have any pain at all.

This is dangerous territory if you have weight problems. This pain comes in day after day and you keep overeating to avoid dealing with what is really going on in your life.

When this happens, ask yourself, what is missing in my life? What is empty? Will eating fix this? Then make a list of activities you can do to change this behavior.

For instance, if you are bored or lonely, join a club, find a new hobby, or get involved in something that will take some of your time. If you need a hug, volunteer with kids or a nursing home where you can never give too much love out and you will receive a ton in return.

Life is Hard, Food is Easy

By linda spangle

The bottom line, you must replace the emotional connection to food with something else that brings you pleasure. Life is hard, so food becomes easy. However, food is hurting your body, your self-esteem, your health, and sometimes your relationships.

Take control back of your life. You can do this and shift into a life of freedom over food.

Defiance Dieting Method is where we dive deeper into triggers and behaviors. Check it out if you want some guidance.

Amanda Roy


3 Recipe Hacks For Fat Loss

Try these 3 Easy Food Hacks out for the next 30 days, and see how quickly your fat loss results ramp up. The improved results will motivate you to workout harder and more consistently, which will then add to an even greater level of fitness.

Working out hard is an essential part of any fat loss plan. It sculpts your muscles, raises your resting metabolism, whittles down your waist, and gives you functional strength and endurance.

The only catch is that you can seriously slow, or even reverse, your results by eating poorly. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as when you are working out like a champ only to face the same belly rolls each morning.

To keep you from giving up in frustration, I’ve put together the following 3 Easy Food Hacks to amp up your results.

These hacks are the most common carbs we eat. When we make swaps, we can increase our results!  Combined with movement, we can see results quickly and learn new ways of losing weight.


Easy Food Hack #1: RICE

Rice is a big part of many a meal. There’s white rice, brown rice, stir-fried rice, sticky rice, wild rice, and the list goes on. All of these kinds of rice (yes, even brown rice) are packed with carbs and calories. This is great, if you are a growing child or an athlete, but not so great for someone like you with a fat loss goal.

Rather than give up rice completely, because that would make your veggies and meat look really lonely on a half-empty plate, let’s turn to Easy Food Hack #1.

CAULIFLOWER RICE: Now, don’t get skeptical of me until you give this food trick a try. To make rice from cauliflower first wash it and trim the leaves and stems. Chop into small pieces and then run those pieces through a food processor with the grating attachment. This will result in a rice-like consistency. Place the cauliflower rice in a large skillet with a Tablespoon of olive oil and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and you are good to go. Serve your normal vegetable and meat dishes over a bed of cauliflower rice just as you would traditional rice.


Easy Food Hack #2: NOODLES

Have you ever noticed that when you crave your favorite pasta dish, you’re actually just craving the sauce? Noodles alone are bland and unspectacular. The magic, as well as the protein, is in the sauce.

Noodles, like traditional rice, are packed with calories and carbs that get in the way of your fat loss results. So, rather than just eating a bowl of sauce, try Easy Food Hack #2.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES: Again, try this trick before you knock it, I’m guessing that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Wash zucchini, and then run a vegetable peeler down its sides, creating long, wide noodles. Stop when you reach the inner, seedy part of the zucchini. These raw, zucchini noodles do not require any cooking, simply throw them onto your plate and top them with your favorite pasta sauce. (Of course, I’m assuming that you’re not going to use a white, cream-based sauce, but that’s another article for another day.)



Cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles are all fine and dandy for those meals that you prepare at home, but what about your meals eaten out? Many restaurant meals revolve around bread, buns, or tortillas. These things are tasty, yet filled with calories and carbs that add to those annoying belly rolls.

That’s when you turn to Easy Food Hack #3.

THE LETTUCE WRAP: This trick is more popular than the first two, so you may already be familiar with it. How does it work? When ordering your meal, be it a sandwich, burger, or taco, ask that it be wrapped in lettuce in place of the bread, bun, or tortilla. Most places are really cool about it, and you end up getting to eat the good part of the meal – the meat and flavors—without the carb-filled extras. If for some reason the restaurant is unable to wrap it in lettuce for you, then ask for the filling to be placed on a pile of greens and eat it with a fork.

Amanda Roy