The first principle of Intuitive Eating is “reject the diet mentality“- which, if you are new to intuitive eating is- a way of eating that is based on ones internal hunger cues and body feedback, as opposed to eating externally, essentially, the diet mentality.
Familiarizing yourself with what “type” of eater you are, or as I like to say, identifying your nutrition personality can help you see where you are, identify diet mentality thoughts and redirect them with a gentle, intuitive approach.
Tribole and Resch define the following 3 eating personalities in Intuitive Eating: The “Careful Eater”, “Professional Dieter”, and the “Unconscious Eater” (Evelyn and Resch, pages 65-80). Below, I’ll summarize some key characteristics of each.
1. Careful Eater
-From the book, the description of the careful eater may be often be depicted as the perfect eater.
-Exhibit constant “food worry” over what goes into their body, what is being served, how its being prepared and so on.
-The careful eater may have a negative relationship with food due to their rigidity in meal plans and self imposed “food rules” (some examples may be “no eating after 7pm, no added sugars with meals, ect.)
Intuitive eating allows careful eaters to eliminate the rigidity they often display, for example countless hours spent meal planning, grocery shopping and food prepping and instead asks them to turn inward to their body’s cues. Intuitive eating also allows careful eaters to eliminate guilt regarding their food choices, and instead respond to their unique preferences.
2. Professional Dieter
– Much like the description sounds, the professional dieter has a mastery of counting calories, carbs and things of the like in the pursuit of weight loss- this distinguishes them from the careful eater, in that they are not interested in health.
– While chronic dieters have an abundance of dieting knowledge, the restrictive cycles of dieting where by they eliminate food groups or certain items often leads to binging or “last supper” eating (having more of the forbidden food, instead of allowing it in a reasonable size)
– It is impossible to live in a healthful way and cultivate a normal relationship with food as a professional dieter
Intuitive eating allows professional dieters “unlimited access to food” meaning that no foods are off limits or restricted. While at first, this is very uncomfortable for the professional dieter, over time having equal access to all foods will decreased the frequency of binges and ultimately create an increase in nourishing food choices as well as fun foods
3. Unconscious Eater
-The unconscious eater is the multitasker. While they can be caught in a variety of distractions from watching TV, reading or even walking.
– Behavior can range in this personality, however common characteristics may include finishing a child’s dinner plate, reaching for food laying around the house or at work as well as those grabbing something quick from the vending machine.
– It’s important to note that nutrition and wellness may be important to this person, its often the chaos of the moment that leads to the unconscious decision in the moment
Intuitive Eating offers the unconscious eater time to learn to listen to their bodies internal cues of hunger and satiety. Focusing on “just eating” allows time to find the “satisfaction factor” they may have been missing in chaotic eating.
1. What nutrition personality do you most identify with?
2. Identify some times in your life where you may have displayed an different nutrition personality- what factors might have contributed to this?
Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. Pages 65-80.
To learn more about Intuitive Eating, and view the complete descriptions of Nutrition personalities, please visit www.intuitiveeating.org and be sure to visit their online community for great discussion of individuals committed to “never diet again!.”