Intuitive Eating Basics

If what you are doing in your life doesn’t seem to be working for you, and you want to explore some alternatives like learning how to re-become an intuitive eater, this is the episode for you. I am determined to dismiss some of the misunderstandings and misbeliefs surrounding intuitive eating and explore why it much less scary than people make it out to be.

Harder To Kill Radio 261 What Is Intuitive Eating

Click play to listen right on this page, no app needed:

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | Overcast | CastBoxTuneInGoogle Play | I Heart Radio

Listening To Your Body & Treating It Right

This episode is not about shaming those who are involved with diet culture, but instead, it is about understanding the backlash and importance of conversation surrounding intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is not just about eating what you want when you want, it is about listening to your body and treating it right through your individualized nutrition needs.

I hope this episode takes away some of the mystique surrounding intuitive eating and empowers you to give it a chance. Our relationship with food is both simple and complex, and I truly believe that intuitive eating has the power to help you make peace with food and your body to ultimately start living in a way that honors your body and your soul.

What are your thoughts surrounding intuitive eating? Share what you are most excited about or nervous about in regard to this process in the comments below.

On Today’s Episode

  • Learn the difference between intuitive eating and mindful eating (7:04)
  • Dissecting perceptions around what intuitive eating is that are not origin aligning (12:51)
  • How to avoid the shame, blame and guilt cycle of breaking your own rules (17:50)
  • The 10 principles of intuitive eating and how to experience it properly (21:43)
  • Why hunger is not your enemy and how to honor your hunger (22:39)

Resources Mentioned In This Show

Order The Core 4 Here

Nutritional Therapy Association

Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole (preorder new edition)

The Intuitive Eating Workbook

Join the Core 4 Facebook Group Here

Naomi Katz Instagram


“It is not as simple as saying ‘here is how you do intuitive eating’ and walking away from the person.” (7:44)

“Hopefully we do that with health-promoting behaviors and not things that are really driving people to have negative relationships with food.” (9:44)

“Intuitive eating is not just a diet of ‘eat this and don’t eat that’. It is a process, its a living, breathing application of these principles that look different for every person.” (12:41)

“Intuitive eating is a living, breathing process applied to a person in their life, it is an experience, it is something that you need to practice.” (21:59)

The Core 4 is now available! Click here to get a free gift when you purchase.

Harder to Kill Radio is sponsored by the Nutritional Therapy Association. Registration is now open for the NTA’s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Online Program. Learn more and save your seat (and don’t forget to mention my name on your application!)

man and woman cooking in the kitchen with veggies and chopping board

You can also try out their free 7-day course, Nutritional Therapy 101 by clicking here.

What Is Intuitive Eating? FULL TRANSCRIPT

Today in episode 261 of harder to kill radio. I’m going to be answering the question, what is intuitive eating? All right, let’s go. I’m Steph Gaudreau. I help women get stronger, know their worth and take up space without restrictive dieting or exercise as punishment. I’m here to share that you can approach nutrition, fitness, and mindset from a place of nourishment so you begin to trust yourself more deeply. Let’s talk about how to embrace your body and own your power. Now with over two and a half million downloads, this is harder to kill radio.

Welcome back to episode two 61 of the podcast. Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. I really appreciate that you are here. I am so very grateful that you’re tuning into the show and today’s going to be a good one. This is a solo show and I feel the need to say that because just a few weeks ago I went back to a once a week schedule for my wellbeing. And honestly I’ve heard from so many people that were like stuff I love two shows a week, but Oh my gosh, I was having a hard time keeping up. And that’s good to know that feedback. So this is one show a week now and it’s going to be flip-flopping and alternating with me on the mic by myself, kind of like fierce love Friday. We’re just changing the day. And then of course, bringing on some of the most incredible people in the world to help you learn the area of expertise that they cover.

So on this show, you and I are going to dig into the question, what is intuitive eating? This is such a juicy topic. There is so much that is misunderstood about this topic. So many misunderstandings misbeliefs and I would love to help clear some of that up. So it seems less scary than some people make it out to be. So if you’re done with that, that’s what we’re going to be talking about on today’s show. Would love to mention our sponsors today. Of course, the core four. Embrace your body, own your power. This is my newest book. It is a four-pillar approach to helping you feel better in your body without the shame, the blame, the hating yourself that comes along with a lot of other diet and exercise, diet, culture sort of things. So if you’re up for exploring this, you want to build your strength inside and out, then go and pick up a copy from my website, Steph you can get a signed copy and I will lovingly put my signature on it.

Put some love into it and send it your way. Or you can find the book anywhere that books are sold online or in stores. And before we jump into today’s content, today’s show is brought to you by the nutritional therapy association, the NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners like myself. I did the program in 2018 and it was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself professionally. In the realm of nutrition, the NTA emphasizes whole food, properly prepared nutrient dense frameworks as the key to restoring balance in the body. They’ve just launched a brand new online program for NTPs where students take an in-depth look at things like function and dysfunction of body systems, food quality, health and wellness barriers, emotional wellbeing environment, the importance of sleep and movement and stress and you know, we love all those topics here and how they affect the body. As a student, you’ll be empowered with motivational interviewing techniques, clinical and practical skills and all the most up to date knowledge to become a highly recognized and respected nutrition and wellness professionals in your community. Registration is now open and seats are filling up quickly. You can learn more and save your seat by going to nutritional and of course, remember to mention my name on your application. Okay. Time to dig in. Ooh. You know, over, over the years of becoming a more intuitive eater.

Yeah, it has become clear to me that when folks go out into the world to learn more about intuitive eating, they oftentimes get scared off of it or they get convinced that it’s not viable for them and that they have to stay stuck in this place of dealing with food and their body that is oftentimes really problematic for them. Really troublesome it. It brings up a lot of restriction, anxiety, isolation and there’s this sort of like sticking point at which place folks are coming to, which is what I’m doing with regards to food and movement in the way I view these things in my life is not working for me, but some of these other alternatives like learning how to re-become an intuitive eater because this is, this is innate. This is like our innate state

that relearning that everybody makes it seem so hard slash wrongs. Slash it. It’s not an option and my goal here with this episode is just to to bring you some nuggets that you can ponder on, marinade on. You can toss it around in your mind. You can explore it a little bit more. You can enter into a curiosity state with this. And I think that this is a really timely show because of course in the new year we’re going to be faced with you know, diet culture to the extreme, which it always comes around right? And those messages that keep feeding our own fears around why we can’t step away from things like really restrictive strict dieting and all the stuff that comes along with it. And just for background into the, you understand where I’m coming from, I am a certified intuitive eating counselor. I went through the program with Evelyn Tripoli and at least Resh they are the people who wrote the intuitive eating book, the first edition of which came out 25 years ago, 25 years ago.

So this has been around for a while now. There are over 120 studies that have been done with intuitive eating as a framework to help people repair their relationship with food and their bodies and self-care and so on and so forth. So I did go through that complete training program earlier this year and I feel the need to say that because there are a lot of folks who talk about intuitive eating or mindful eating. It’s maybe not exactly the same thing, so mindful eating has some similarities but some differences and just because somebody talks about intuitive eating doesn’t mean they’ve gone through the process of being trained in how to teach this to other people because the tough part is with intuitive eating, it’s very individual for each person. It’s not just alike plug it in, play it template. There are some principles, but the principles that folks often need to work on are different depending on their own situation, their own history, the things that they’re wrestling with currently and it’s, it’s not as simple as just saying, here’s how you do intuitive eating and you walk away from the person and there are unfortunately a lot of ways that diet culture is co-opting intuitive eating and really using it in a way that is still furthering the agenda of diet culture.

I really love Naomi cats and how she sees them on Instagram. We’ll link her page. But Naomi recently wrote a post about how it’s not the diameter. That’s the problem. It’s a diet culture. That’s the problem. And when we’re questioning things like you’re going to hear in this episode, it’s not from a place of someone’s a bad person. If they are, if they have been doing diets. I have done my fair share of diets in the day and if you’ve read the core four book, if you followed me on this podcast for any length of time, you know that story. Not going to really rehash it here. Suffice to say I very deepened that died and the world and when you’re in it it is like the fish and water that doesn’t know it’s in water cause that’s all it knows. And so when we come into these discussions about things like intuitive eating and questioning diet culture, people often get really pissed off or really defensive feel really shameful because they think they’re being attacked.

They’re like, Oh so you’re saying that if I want to lose weight that I’m wrong, I’m bad, therefore I should be ashamed. And the point is, no, is the point is can we have some nuanced discussions about the ways in which diet culture and sort of the analogous fitness culture that comes along with it impacts people in a negative way and not blaming the person. Because in some ways a, a reduction in body size may bring that person to a much healthier place. Body, mind, spirit holistically. Yeah. Hopefully, we do that with health-promoting behaviors and not the things that are really driving people to have negative relationships with food. And yes, potentially develop things like eating disorders. So we’re not saying you’re bad if you have ever done a diet then on a diet if that’s like the thing that you want to go back to because it’s familiar.

That’s not, that’s not at all part of the discussion or I feel like we need to preface the discussion with that, but I see this a lot now. There’s this sort of backlash around intuitive eating and I think it’s important to talk about because the world wants the, uh, you know, food is the right opposite of a great truth is also true. You know, I love my Niels Bohr quote. Food is, is both simple and complex, right? It is, uh, to reduce it down into something that’s like a quickie sound bite that you see on Instagram, for example, in a meme or in a, just a quick little graphic with a quote that oftentimes is only a piece of the puzzle. It’s only a snippet of the conversation or one facet of the entire picture. And so coming to a place where we can have conversations like this, and I know you and I aren’t actually talking back and forth, but we’re kind of dissecting this is really important.

And yet at the same time, there’s a lot of attempted to just shut down the conversation and say, well, if you’re questioning people that want to lose weight, then you’re shaming them. And the reality is that we can hold space for that person if what they’re doing isn’t really working out well for them. It’s not serving them mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, but also too to question and be curious about and examine these, these constructs, these structures, these systems is not shaming anyone. It’s, it’s very important. And of course the more you start to examine things like diet culture, the more you see that touches things like racism, classism, ableism, et cetera, et cetera. And so those conversations though important oftentimes make people really uncomfortable and therefore the conversation shuts down. So I just wanted to mention all of this and I anticipate in the future talking more about intuitive eating because it has become such a big part of the work that I am doing with people.

And right now I’m working with a group of, of women. Every week we meet on zoom and we go through the principles and we go through the sticking points because as I said, intuitive eating is not just a diet of eat this, don’t eat that. It’s a process, it’s a living, breathing application of these principles that looks different for every person. So really quickly, I just want to go through some of the different principles and then maybe chat about a few of the things that come up as fear. Well, let’s talk about that first. Okay. So perceptions around what intuitive eating is that are, that are not grounded in like the intention of what intuitive eating started it is. And I think that’s important because we can take something like a game of telephone and pass it on and pass it on and pass it on and pass it on.

And we see this with something like KIDO and you know, no hate mail here, but ketogenic protocol started as a therapeutic intervention to really help people who are dealing with serious health issues, things like certain types of epilepsy, certain types of cancer, et cetera. It has gone through its full transformation and there is that aspect of the ketogenic diet that’s still in place and used very therapeutically with guidance and in a way that’s very, you know, very well done. And then there’s the diet culture diet bad, you know, things that are being used that aren’t really helping people and it’s, it’s run the course, right? And so it exists in all these different forms and you see that also with things like paleo that happened with paleo, right? Um, with intuitive eating as well. I’m seeing that too. So just to know that if you see something that perks your attention and you think, okay, that sounds like a bunch of bullshit, consider the source, where’s it coming from?

What is the discussion being had around it? And so on and so forth. And it’s great to question things and wonder and get curious and even be critical and be, it’ll be an analytical thinker and so on and so forth. But again, if you’re just hearing stuff, you know these perceptions about intuitive eating, consider where it’s coming from. Okay? So one of the fears or beliefs that people have about intuitive eating is that it’s a junk food diet. You just eat whatever you want, you eat whatever the fuck you want. You’re eating donuts and cakes and cookies and quote bad foods all day, every day. And that’s just intuitive eating. I made a graphic, Oh, very recently that had, you know what people think intuitive eating means and it was like all the junk food emoji. I’m using air quotes as I’ve changed this. I use the term fun foods now, but you’re going to understand what I mean when I say junk foods.

So I used all the junk food emoji I could find and then sprinkled in like an Apple and a piece of lettuce and something else that was quite healthy. So you know, and that’s what people think it means. And what it really means is something very, very different. Now part of intuitive eating is making peace with food and that might incorporate things like that you, things that you’ve made off-limits or forbidden and having a very specific intentional full of awareness IX experience moment with that food and really experiencing it. And then using that in a systematic way to release the sort of taboo, the forbidden nature of said food that’s very different from I’m just going to binge eat and you know, fuck it all and who cares? And I’m just going to eat like that, like a dumpster, you know, I’m just going to get whatever.

I don’t give a shit about my body. And that’s not intuitive eating right, because that’s actually going to be not honoring how you feel in your body. Chances are if you did eat like that for several days in a row, you’re going to feel pretty awful. You’re gonna feel pretty awful. Um, the other thing I hear is that intuitive eating has nothing about nutrition in it, which is just false. Straight up false. The 10th principle, I should go over the principles, but I will in a second honor your health with gentle nutrition as one of the reasons why. Also as a nutritional therapy practitioner I, I’m sort of like exist in both these worlds and I’m really interested in helping to build a bridge between them because we get a lot of people in the nutrition space on one side saying like intuitive eating is going to harm people.

People don’t know how to eat. We have this preponderance of hyper-palatable foods and it causes our body to do things that either causes us to crave more of these junk foods or fun foods or low nutrient value, hyper-processed foods. And then on the other side, we do have people in the intuitive eating world, us professionals who are dealing with, with clients, helping clients who have eating disorders or very disordered eating around food to the point at which they’re their own rules, guidelines, regulations, their own framework that they’ve built for themselves or they’ve taken pieces from what they’ve learned and put together these, this framework that they’ve built becomes problematic when they break the rules. What happens when you break your own rules with food? What happens? Do you shrug it off? Go, Oh, that was interesting, okay, well this is potentially what I learned from the scenario and move on.

Or does your world fall apart? You enter the shame, blame, guilt cycle. You throw everything out the window and or engage in loss of control or binge eating. Do you know what happens? Your anxiety and stress go up. Your restrictiveness increases like what happens when you break your own rules and so that long story short is on this one, and I’ll probably talk about this more on another episode, is that nutrition is part of intuitive eating y’all. It is just maybe sometimes not like the rules of or of nutrition and the guidelines of nutrition and nutrition science and evidence-based nutrition may not be the first thing that you dive into when you’re trying to relearn how to become a more intuitive eater because those rules may have been what got you to where you are now. And just to say a lot of the folks that I work with have been in the real food, paleo, gluten-free, primal, keto, healthy eating, clean eating, whatever community for a really long time and they naturally thought that it was only about the what they’re eating. You know, if I just fix this, if I just get rid of that, it’s going to change this troublesome relationship I’ve had with food and much like myself. What I did was I just brought my baggage, my dieting baggage with me through the beginning part of my journey into things like paleo and it took a while. This year has been like my year of bread.

I hope I do not have celiac disease, nor do I have a gluten sensitivity. But my year of bread has been making peace with bread. I don’t eat bread three times a day every single day. Even if I did that might work for me. Who are we to judge?

But that, you know, I had to work on that cause. So what’s happening is a lot of the people that I’m working with are carrying that baggage with them. The di, the baggage of dieting, the baggage of I dieted and then I gained the weight back or gain more weight than I lost. I am the failure here. What the fuck? Why is this so hard? What’s wrong with me? And it’s like we carry it like an invisible suitcase and it just gets heavier and heavier and heavier and heavier over time until the point at which a lot of people reach out to me and say, Hey, I don’t know what to do anymore. Or I started counting and doing macros and stuff from a very innocent place and it felt good at first, which by the way, it can be a tool. That’s very helpful. Absolutely. Do I hear from a lot of people for whom it is not helpful anymore?

Yeah. Every day, every day. You know, I don’t know what to do if I have to stay up, step away from my fitness pal. Um, ’cause it’s not helping me anymore. It’s making me more stressed out, more anxious, more restricted, more isolated. What the fuck do I do? And that’s all just the questions that I get. So I just wanted to mention that nutrition is part of intuitive eating. So all of you, or if you’re out there and you’re like, Oh my God, but I heard you just like eat whatever you want. No, that’s, it’s not the intention, the spirit and the true way that you would start incorporating intuitive eating principles. So really quickly to go down the list. These are the 10 principles. Principles of intuitive eating, intuitive eating is a living, breathing process applied to a person in their life.

It is an experience. It is something you need to practice. Just like if you want to learn the guitar, if you never practiced, you’re going to not be very good at it. That’s okay. It’s a learning process. It’s one to two address an approach from a place of awareness, curiosity, self-compassion. I know this is like not, this isn’t dietary stuff typically, but a lot of the folks that I’m working with are coming to this point where they’re like, ah, there has to be something has to be a more peaceful way, a more trusting way of dealing with food in my life. So the first principle is to reject the diet mentality. The second one is to honor your hunger. I mean, how many listeners right now are thinking hunger is my enemy. We have lots of beliefs as to why hunger is the enemy or food is the enemy.

Holy shit. What kind of energy is, is that to align to food is my enemy. I mean, and I get it. I was there. I understand and it sucks. It sucks to be in that place. Principle three, making peace with food. Number four, challenging the food police. These are the thoughts, beliefs, feelings that generate the actions, and this is sometimes a lot of stuff that ain’t yours. It’s like you’re carrying, you know, that suitcase and into that suitcase. Not only have you packed away your own experiences, but also the experiences or the things that you’ve learned from family, whether that’s family of origin or chosen, family, school, work, society, media, social media. Okay. Write your list like you’re carrying everybody else’s beliefs, everybody else’s thoughts and what you hook into then generates feelings, which then can alter where your energy is going and the actions that you take. That’s a juicy one. Feel your fullness. This is another one for these. Scary for people. They’re like, I’m not supposed to ever feel full or feeling full means I’m going to get fat.

Right? Common belief. Discover the satisfaction factor. So many people and I get this, for some people, food is fuel is a great stepping stone. That was a great stepping stone for me in this untangling of, from diet culture to a more intuitive eater. But there’s this sort of fear that if I like my food too much, I’m not going to stop eating. I’m going to get fat, et cetera, et cetera. So actually learning what you like, enjoying food, paying attention to all of the things that you like about it. Really important. Next, honor your feelings without using food. This is a big one, right? Emotional eating, things of that nature. Not always bad, by the way, right? We’re like, Oh, emotional eating. No. Oh, not can’t ever do that, but it’s, it’s taking a look at the coping mechanisms that you have and that you turn to most often. And do those involve food and if they do, what else can you learn? All right. Number eight, respect your body. I mean, come on, Kim. This is, this is so critical.

This is so critical and again, love your body. Great sentiment. Not everybody’s there. Respect your body. Body neutrality. Yes, we can move towards it. Can we move the needle in that direction? Principle nine is to exercise, fill the difference or to do an intentional movement. I believe that in the newest edition of the book coming out in 2020, they have changed the languaging on that one. Very, uh, uh, to more reflect movement, which I love because a lot of people have a negative connotation with the word exercise exercises what you do to punish yourself for what you ate or to earn your food for later, right. To earn our burner food. Very similar to what I have in my book, uh, which is to move with intention. And I didn’t, didn’t know that they were changing that until very recently, which I, but I love it. I think it’s a great shift.

And the other thing I love about, uh, Evelyn and Elise is that they are so open and they’re so open to saying, you know what, we learned that there was another way to say this that was more helpful to our readers. Or we had to go through and look for language that we used in the book that could involve weight stigma. And Oh my gosh, we found some, like we even have our, our places where we are not, or we were not aware. And we’re learning. So respect that. Okay. And the last one, honor your health with gentle nutrition, as I said earlier. So these are the 10 principles. Just because they are in a particular order does not mean that you would apply them all in that order or that all of them represent the most necessary ones for you right now are the ones that you may need the most help with. And

I think it’s just really important to put this out there because I, I hope when you hear this list of things, it takes away some of the mystique of, Oh, it’s this like big scary thing but says like, you just eat whatever the fuck you want. Whenever the fuck you feel hungry. Which by the way, is not always the case because there are times where you have the inter, it’s like the intersection of your body’s signals, which we’ll talk about on a future show, I’m sure. Right? Which is essentially related to interoceptive awareness or interoception. And that plays into honoring your hunger and feeling your fullness. Where does that overlap with rational thinking? It’s not always just about only eating when you’re hungry because of some people [inaudible]

may not, they may not have that connection right now there. They’re working on that connection to their hunger signals or their fullness signals. Okay, so it’s not just like eat only eat when you’re hungry. Cause we also know that things like cortisol can damp in our appetite. We also know that certain foods or certain chemical substances, things like nicotine, things like caffeine can dampen our appetite. So on and so there are so many reasons and so to just say, Oh, only eat when you’re hungry. That’s intuitive eating. That’s false. So again, this is super nuanced, really detailed. It really is something I think is best unpacked in spoken word, which is why I’m doing this on a podcast and unpacked with the help of some kind of support, a group, a coach like because this is a living, breathing dynamic process and it is not just, okay I read the intuitive eating book and I did the workbook and I’m, I’m like, I’m good to go now.

It is that process that’s going to continue to evolve and change. And it’s like that graphic that says you know what people think success looks like and it’s just a straight line that goes into the future. And the reality of what it really looks like is this big tangled, jumbled mess. And sometimes throughout this process, you’ll make progress forward and then you’re like, Oh my God, why is this so hard again? And then you’ll make progress forward and you’re like, Oh my gosh, these things are coming back. So it oftentimes takes that, that support to get through it. So I hope this helps us a primer, a very brief primer on intuitive eating and gives you a jumping-off point. So I will link in the comments, the comments. I will link in the show notes, I should say, where to find the book on intuitive eating by Elise rash and Evelyn Tribley.

The current one has kind of a purple-y cover, the new edition, I believe you can preorder now they have made some tweaks, some changes included more research, et cetera, et cetera. You can preorder that one coming out in 2020. You can also get a link to the workbook. Personally, I recommend reading the book first really diving into some of the rich case studies that they show. They demonstrate some of these very common sticking points, some of which you’re likely to have. And then, I recommend doing the workbook second, which is really you getting in there and putting this stuff into practice because reading the book is great. Awesome. As we know, taking action, putting things into practice is where things really start to stick. That is the practice. Okay. And then I’ll also put a link to my intuitive eating waitlist for my group coaching and you can put your name down there and the next session that I opened you can, uh, you’ll get emails from me and I will invite you to join if the time is right for you.

Cool. Well, I hope that was really helpful to you. I would love to know your thoughts, so feel free to send them to me. It’s best if you join the core four club on Facebook and pop your thoughts there. That way we can all learn from what you learned. We can all learn from the questions that you have, because if you have a question or you have a learn as a, as he used to call it, then it’s really helpful for other people too, to process that alongside you. So the best place to share your thoughts is in the core four club on Facebook. That does it for this episode. Until next week,

Join the Core 4 Community

core 4 club: powerful and purposeful conversations about the 4 pillars – nutrition, movement, energy, and mindset

Thanks for Listening!

Share this post

2 Responses

  1. Hi Steph, where is the wait list for the intuitive eating you wrote about on your FB post about potatoes today (yesterday, time zones and all) Interested in this and what it’s about

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


Build muscle, strength & power AND take all the guesswork out of your workout with this 3x weekly written-for-you dumbbell strength program.


Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For women lifting weights who want to get stronger, build muscle, have more energy, and perform better. Implement the four keys you need to unlock your next level of strength in this 8-week program.

Get free dumbbell workouts