Book Review: Intuitive Eating

I bought this book years ago. I started reading it a few times, but never got through the whole thing. Maybe I didn’t think I needed a book to tell me how to eat, or maybe I was still to attracted to the idea of “one last diet” to lose the weight that I’d gained in the last 5ish years, but for whatever reason, the book sat on my shelf.

A few weeks ago, I had read a different book, Big Girl, by Kelsey Miller. It chronicles Kelsey’s own journey to “stop dieting and get a life” and it spoke to me. I wrote a mini review of this book on my Instagram, but the summary is that I highly recommend it. I had recently had my own realization of being done with diets when my mom died (you can read about that here), but this is the book that inspired me to dig out my own copy of Intuitive Eating again and give it another go.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, is not like other diet books. It does not guarantee weight loss or fat loss, but it does guarantee a better mental state and general wellness. It breaks down exactly why diets don’t work, and the steps you can take to get off the diet cycle. The goal of the book is to teach you how to stop trying to lose weight and just eat food like a “normal” person. Easier said than done though, am I right?

Intuitive Eating is written by two nutritional experts, who have spent years in the field, learning exactly what you probably already know: diets don’t work. So they created this program to help their patients stop dieting and start making peace with food. The success stories throughout the book are incredibly inspiring. I loved reading each client’s break throughs and realizations as they went through this process.

The book does a great job of outlining the steps needed, and why it’s so important to do them in order. It feels counterintuitive, because it starts with basically flipping off diet culture and eating whatever you want. I know, I know, this sounds SCARY, but that’s kind of the point. Food should not be scary. It also helps to understand that this is a process, and that the goal is not to give up on yourself, but to learn how to respect your body and live for health, not weight loss.

Which brings me to the other challenge: it is so hard to not focus on weight loss for the first time in 15 years. Honestly, the whole program hinges on this crucial mindset, because if your main goal is weight loss, it’s still a diet. I think this is why I was never able to finish the book before, I was still looking at it as a method of weight loss and didn’t trust the process. This is also why Whole30 has failed me in the past; I would subconsciously treat it like a diet, so when the diet stopped, I went back to eating sh*t.

There’s also a section focused on helping kids learn to be intuitive eaters, so parents can give their families a head start by skipping diet culture altogether. I love that they spend time focusing on kids, whether their older kids who may have already experienced some diet-culture behaviors, or babies who are just starting to eat solid foods. I know I will definitely be rereading that chapter if I have my own kids in the future!

I’m not very far along on my personal intuitive eating journey, because this is not a quick fix (that would be a diet). I’ve accepted that I’m a work in progress, and I’m grateful for each step I take in learning how to heal my broken relationship with food.

How can I start eating intuitively?

There are several editions of Intuitive Eating since it was originally published, but this is the edition I read if you’re looking for the same one. I know there are newer editions though that may have more up to date nutritional education if that’s important to you. There’s also a workbook available if you like feeling like you have homework (which I do).

Have you read Intuitive Eating? I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you felt going through this process!