Gottman Approved Member

Mindful vs. Intuitive Eating

Mistakenly, the terms "Mindful eating" and "Intuitive eating" are inadvertently confused and oftentimes used interchangeably. While practicing mindfulness is a necessary step on the path to intuitive eating, the two have very different meanings.

MINDFUL EATING is awareness without judgment - of all of the components influencing our eating - such as emotions, physical cues, timing, access and food preferences at that moment in time. The "without judgment" piece is largely important as it allows us to observer our eating behaviors without criticizing our patterns. Practicing mindfulness enables us to better understand what impacts our food choices and responses to food both internally and externally.

INTUITIVE EATING, on the other hand, is a form of attainment of mind, body and food guided by the ten principles outlined by Tribole and Resch in their book, Intuitive Eating. These principles include eating in response to physical cues rather than for emotional reasons, along with unconditional permission to eat when cues are present. We are born as intuitive eaters, yet somewhere along the course of our lives, we started toying with diets and/or attaching shame, judgment and other strong emotions to food/eating and our bodies. Many people lose touch with their internal cues and eat according to external cues such as: calorie counting; body weight; rules regarding time; judgments of "good and bad" foods and so on. With intuitive eating we let these external forces go and rely on our internal cues to direct our eating behaviors. Learning to identify and differentiate emotional and physical forms of hunger, fulness and satiety are the precursor to intuitive eating in all of our lives.