Book Review - "Intuitive Eating A Revolutionary Program that Works"
I first learned about the framework of Intuitive Eating from the principles outlined by Evelyn Tribole M.S, R.D. and Else Resch M.S., R.D, FADA, CED in their book "3rd Edition Intuitive Eating A Revolutionary Program that Works." Both of these professionals have specialized in Eating Disorders and highlight multiple articles as well as their own experiences working with clients in this 319 page non-fiction book.
The book is very affordable and the price point is around $23.00 on Amazon(affiliate link). The original edition was published in 1994, the now 3rd edition has 2 completely updated chapters from the 2003 2nd edition version.
The general message of the book is anti-dieting and the authors set out to guide the reader to follow the intuition of the body and re-frame negative/dieting thoughts around eating. Research is the core of the book and the authors present multiple studies that supports what they have seen in practice for multiple years.
The authors have seen that when food is restricted for the purpose of weight loss this can provoke feelings of failure, guilt, deprivation and cause disordered eating behavior, lower self esteem/self worth and increase weight.
“Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often, bingeing. When you finally “give in” to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.”
― Evelyn Tribole, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
On page 7 of the book research studies are presented that demonstrate when dieting/restriction with food is utilized it causes weight gain not weight loss long term for many of the study participants.
One of the studies cited reviewed "thirty-one long term studies on dieting and concluded that dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain - up to two thirds of the people regained more weight than they lost."
The 10 Principles presented in the book are as follows:
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Feel your Fullness
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7. Cope with your Emotions without Using Food
8. Respect Your Body
9. Exercise - Feel the Difference
10. Honor Your Health - Gentle Nutrition
These principles guide the reader through a step by step journey to move thoughts and actions from the chronic dieting mentality into body awareness, self trust and nurturing the body into good health. The first chapter "Reject the Diet Mentality" describes how diet culture is very ingrained in our society from commercials, magazines but also in the doctors office/health care system and conversations at work/home and expectations at events/social situations.
The book presents that we are inundated with weight loss as the ultimate holy grail of health. This book presents solid research about how we have it all wrong and our constant pursuit of weight loss as a ultimate health outcome is largely beliefs that come from a billion dollar weight loss industry and not based on actual facts.
The authors also present research findings on the positive characteristics of following the intuitive eating principles as described in their book. The characteristics noted in the book on page 290 are as follows:
Intuitive Eaters have Lower:
Body mass index
Self silencing (suppressing one's thoughts/feelings/needs)
Intuitive Eaters have Higher:
well being and optimism
variety of foods eaten
body appreciation and acceptance
HDL (good cholesterol)
Pleasure from eating
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about using their own bodies wisdom (hunger/fullness) and understand how to leave dieting / restrict food behind them and learn a more gentle and intuitive approach to health.
There is also a workbook available to compliment the readers learning. It is a very useful tool to internalize the material and to facilitate the learning process.
References: Evelyn Tribole M.S, R.D. and Else Resch M.S., R.D, FADA, CED Intuitive Eating A Revolutionary Program that Works 2012