• Renee Little, R.D.

Book Review: Intuitive Eating 4th Edition

Recently authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch updated Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach to a 4th edition. I've seen a lot of questions in online groups and some individuals have submitted questions to me via social about the new version. Therefore, I decided to answer the top 3 questions and well....it ended up being a long article. So, if you only have a few minutes maybe bookmark it for continued review when you have a bit more time at a later date.


In this article I answer the questions:

  • "Which book should I buy?"

  • "How are the 3rd and 4th editions different?"

  • "If I have the 3rd edition, should I buy the 4th edition?"


I have tried to be neutral in opinion about the book revision and instead present the factual differences. One section which I do give my opinion is at the end of the blog post to answer the question on if you own the 3rd edition (or previous editions), should you buy the 4th edition.


Which Book Should I Buy?

The new version of the book is the 4th edition green/yellow cover. If you are going to purchase the Intuitive Eating book for the first time you will want to purchase the green/yellow 4th edition and not the pink/yellow version.

Intuitive Eating Book
The new 4th edition is the green/yellow cover and is an update from the 3rd edition with the purple/yellow cover.


How do the 3rd and 4th Editions Differ?

There have been significant shifts in language and an acknowledgement of privileges both with the Intuitive Eating process and of the authors perspectives.


Shifts in Language & Acknowledgement of Privilege


Weight Stigma/ Fat Phobia

The most significant shift I've identified in the new edition is in how the authors acknowledge and discuss fat phobia and weight stigma. A lot of the language in the 3rd edition (pink) was stigmatizing and the shift demonstrates not only how far the authors have come in their own internal work with weight stigma but also the shift we are seeing as a collective during the last 15 years.


One example of the language change is in the "Challenge the Food Police Chapter." In this chapter there is a cognitive behavior therapy exercise of reframing thoughts. The "half empty" language included "I feel fat." In the 3rd edition (pink) the half full response or reframe was "I'm feeling better about myself." In the 4th edition the reframe was "Fat is not a feeling, but it is a form of body shaming, rooted in diet culture and weight stigma. I am appreciating all the things my body can do." (Page 147)


Another example presents on page 180 in the previous edition (pink), page 214 in the 4th edition (green) the section on "Friends don't let friends fat-talk" was completely removed. There does continue to have one area where the O-word is still utilized which is on page 214 in the Health At Every Size(TM) description.


Privilege

The authors acknowledge that intuitive eating is a privilege and not accessible for everyone especially those with food insecurity. A statement was also added for the authors declaring of their privilege as cis-gendered white women with thin and able bodies.


Gender Language Shifts

A noticeable shift is use of more traditional men's names have been used for sharing of client stories and gender neutral language used in other case scenarios. One example is on page 105 where the example states "one client revealed that when they were young, they had little money and the thought of buying a new car gave them a deep thrill." Previously the bulk of the language included traditionally women's names or used "she" or "her" in the descriptions of the client scenarios.



Details on Chapter Changes

Most chapters have language changes as described above, some have seen an increase in text and research reviewed and others moved around as to where they are in the book. Below I have reviewed the bulk of the book and provided an overview of the main changes. I do skip some chapters which have language updates but the majority of the text remains the same.


Chapter 1 : The Science Behind Intuitive Eating

This chapter has moved from the end to the beginning of the book and a larger section added on interoceptive awareness. This section now expands and discusses the topics of interceptive sensitivity and interoceptive responsiveness.


Chapter 2 : Hitting Diet Bottom

In my perspective this is the chapter with the most significant volume of new information. I have bulleted these changes because there are so many to make it easier for you to read and follow.


The authors have added information on the following:

  • The medical and political history of weight stigma and reasons for the pursuit of thinness.

  • Why weight loss continues to be prescribed by clinicians despite the overwhelming evidence it causes harm.

  • A correlation between diet advertisements and eating disorder rates.

  • The role of media, magazine, movies on body dissatisfaction and pressure to be thin.

  • The result of decades of dieting and weight stigma.

  • A description of diet culture which includes the accepted definition by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN.

  • Examples provided on the impact of diet culture and stigma in individuals lives.

  • A change in the table titled "Dieting increases your risk for gaining more weight" and shifted to "Dieting increases your risk for weight cycling." The title and also content have been updated to include research on the negative impact of weight cycling.