Mindful and intuitive eating are both accepted approaches of practice for many Registered Dietitians. Unfortunately, these words are now being used as buzz words by the diet industry causing some confusion with what they mean. Let’s start by breaking down mindful vs intuitive eating.
What is mindful eating?
As the name indicates, mindful eating incorporates mindfulness. Mindfulness is an ancient practice that focuses on being aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations while deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in that present moment (1).
The Center for Mindful Eating has defined mindful eating as:
- Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
- Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.
- Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
- Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.
In summary, mindful eating includes a combination of: awareness without judgement, trusting your body, savouring foods, and tuning into your hunger and fullness cues when eating.
To practice mindful eating and mindfulness, here are some recordings from the Center of Mindful Eating. I encourage clients to try the Raisin Experience and see how different it is compared to how they may normally eat. Because of our faced paced world, we often eat without much thought, without slowing down, and without savouring. As a result, this may make it difficult for us to tune into our hunger and fullness.
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating was a term first created by Registered Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch through the title of their book. Intuitive Eating is an evidence-based framework that includes 10 principles. Since the first book was published in 1995, it has been revised four times.
The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating include:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honour your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Feel your fullness
- Cope with your emotions with kindness
- Respect your body
- Movement-feel the difference
- Honour your health-gentle nutrition
The Intuitive Eating book breaks down each intuitive eating principle with clear examples. It can still take time to unlearn previous diet rules and may require guidance from a nutrition expert who practices a non-diet approach.
Mindful vs Intuitive Eating: What is the difference?
Although they do share similarities they are different terms.
Similar to mindful eating, intuitive eating incorporates mindfulness approaches like listening to your hunger and fullness cues, slowing down while eating to savour food, and allowing all foods to fit. However, mindful eating is a broad term and eating can be quite complex. In contrast, intuitive eating is a more specific framework that can help guide you through rejecting the diet cycle.
Click here to learn more about ditching the diet cycle and eating more mindfully from a Registered Dietitian