6 Ways Intuitive Eating Beats Diets In Improving Your Health & Wellbeing 

 February 3, 2019

By  jennifer@thinkingnutrition.co.nz

Back in the 1980s, when spiral perms and shoulder pads were all the rage, I was repairing and testing torpedo systems in frigates at the Devonport dockyards. Who would have thought then, standing in my greasy white overalls in the bowels of a frigate, that in 2019 I’d be writing this blog about intuitive eating… not me.

Change happens. And I’m kinda glad about it. I’m glad shoulder pads went out of fashion. Though I have fond memories of David Bowie, Mick Jagger and their shoulder pads “Dancing in the Street.”

Change started happening in the 1990s with healthy eating. I didn’t know it, I was too busy buying the latest and greatest flared jeans as the hippy-fashion revival was in full swing (ironic really, considering I’d harassed my mum for years for dressing me as a toddler in flares during the 1970s – whoops!).

Yes that’s me wearing those flares, with my big Sis!

Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch

Anyway, in the mid-1990s Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch published their book Intuitive Eating. Since then piles and piles of research has shown how intuitive eating benefits our health and wellbeing. And yet I managed to get through two university degrees majoring in nutrition in the 2000’s without once hearing about intuitive eating.

Studies have found that people who follow intuitive eating programs (as opposed to restrictive diet programs) have:

  1. decreased cholesterol levels,
  2. decreased blood pressure,
  3.  increased physical activity,
  4.  improved eating behaviors,
  5.  increased self-esteem and,
  6.  decreased body dissatisfaction.

And nutritionists and dietitians still come out of university, to this very day, not having heard about intuitive eating. No one talks about it.

A cynical person would say it’s a conspiracy.

Do Nutrition Professionals Fear Intuitive Eating?

I think it might be a bit of professional fear. I know I felt it. I thought to myself, if diets don’t work, then what does that mean for me as a nutritionist? What the heck do I offer my clients?

Quite a lot it turns out – like a better, happier, more fulfilling life with improved health thanks to intuitive eating. More self-esteem. Better body image. Lower cholesterol. Better eating habits. It’s all-round better.

I don’t know when or how diets will go out of fashion. But they should (like shoulder pads). Over 95% of diets fail and a significant proportion of those dieters regain more weight than they lost. It sucks.

But the veil is lifted. We see clearly now. Dieting doesn’t work. Intuitive eating does work. Every trial that has put a diet up against intuitive eating has shown that while the dieters lost weight, they inevitably regained it all (and sometimes more) and basically had no health improvements. While the intuitive eaters quietly improved their health and wellbeing without a lot of fanfare.

I like to think of us intuitive eaters as the turtles in the race. We may look slow and not at all aerodynamic. But don’t be fooled. We will win. We will beat that dastardly diet-culture.

Jennifer xo.

P.S. I’ve tripled the surprises coming in February – along with two fabulous coaching options for aspiring intuitive eaters, I’ve also got a FREE webinar coming! Keep your eyes peeled for the invite coming soon….



Hey, I’m Jennifer. I help women transform their relationship with food, their body and weight, so they can ditch the guilt and shame, and focus on more important stuff - like living a happy and healthy life!

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