intuitive eating, principle three: make peace with food


If you haven’t already, check out our post introducing Intuitive Eating, and our most recent post on the second principle, Honor Your Hunger.

Principle three, Make Peace With Food, can be very challenging for those who have spent years feeling like food is dangerous. Many people feel at odds with food and so enact rigid rules to instead feel in control. Making peace with food means removing all judgments of whether it’s good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. It also means refusing to feel retroactively shameful or guilty after indulging in the meal of your choice. Taking away all the emotional intensity around food is imperative. Truly giving yourself permission to eat allows you to experience how the food tastes in your mouth, feels in your body, and affects your general sense of health and wellbeing. 

“Call a truce – stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally give in to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity that it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.

- Intuitive Eating Workbook, Elyse Resch and Eveleyn Tribole

This principle is focused on exploring the role that fear plays in your life and how it’s holding you back from having a peaceful relationship with food. If a food or macronutrient (carbohydrates, fats) are restricted or avoided, it’s usually because there’s fear around how the food will act in your body and influence your health or appearance. Certain foods are deemed off-limits because you haven’t experienced its innocence or ordinariness. Without knowing that it can be enjoyed without harm, it makes sense that it might be feed insecurity. Since we know that chronic dieting can lead to bingeing, fear of food is usually rooted in the very common thought, “If I start eating, I won’t stop”.

To begin exploring how you might be acting out fear, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which foods do I avoid, and why?

  • Do I have preferences on where I eat? Do I avoid certain situations? Which situations make me feel comfortable?

  • Do I prefer to eat alone? Why?

  • If I was in a kitchen full of my forbidden foods, what would happen?

“It’s understandable that if you have not experienced the oridnariness of a favorite food, you will be reluctant to eat it. When you know that a food is no longer off-limits, you will discover that when you eat past satisfaction, the pleasurable taste of food diminishes, and the physical discomfort from eating too much will become apparent. You’ll come to recognize that overeating your favorite foods is no longer worth it.

- Intuitive Eating Workbook, Elyse Resch and Eveleyn Tribole

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 9.34.44 PM.png

Our next blog post will focus on the fourth principle of Intuitive Eating, Challenge The Food Police. I have had success in my approach, called Intuitive Nutrition, in helping clients learn how to use food to their individual advantage without the restriction of diets. To book your free consult today, reach out today!

kiara tchir