DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastIntuitive Eating Basics and Benefits
Intuitive Eating Basics and Benefits

Intuitive Eating Basics and Benefits

Update: 2019-10-05


429 -Intuitive Eating Basics and Benefits

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC

Executive Director, AllCEUs Counselor Education

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Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox and NCMHCE Exam Review


– Identify the 10 + 1 principles of intuitive eating

– Describe the interaction between mood, health and eating

– Begin identifying tools to help people get off the dieting rollercoaster

Basic Principles

– From IntuitiveEating.Org

– Reject the diet mentality

– Honor your hunger

– Make peace with food (Forbid forbidding)

– Challenge the food police in your head

– Respect your fullness

– Discover the satisfaction factor (Mindfulness)

– Use food for physical nourishment not in response to feelings

– Respect your body

– Exercise

– Honor your body with good nutrition

Reject the Diet Mentality

– Develop a lasting way of eating

– Yo-yo dieting wreaks havoc on your body and leads to weight gain and low self esteem

– Recurring attempts to diet signals the body that the food supply is often insufficient and leads to greater fat storage than if food was always abundant

– Dieting is correlated with the development of metabolic syndrome characterized by central obesity, insulin resistance and hypertension that increase risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

– Puts additional stress on the cardiovascular system

Reject the Diet Mentality

– Identify what you do differently when you are on a diet that can be helpful

– Set small goals

– Pay attention to what you are eating

– Only eat when you are sitting down and not distracted

– Eat from dishes not the box

– Carry a water bottle

Reject the Diet Mentality

– Remain aware of hidden forms of dieting

– Low carb

– Low fat

– Grain free

– Intermittent fasting

– Taking supplements to lose weight

– Excessive exercise

Honor Your Hunger

– Become aware of your body cues

– Hunger

– Thirst

– Type of food

– Eat when you are physically hungry, not because

– The clock says so or says not so

– You are tired

– You are bored, upset, happy

– You are with people or alone

– It is a habit

– You want more

Make Peace with Food

– Forbid forbidding (unless medically contraindicated)

– Disinhibition and self-efficacy

– Address your food phobias

Challenge the Food Police

– What do the voices in your head say about:

– Which foods to eat or not eat-

– How much to eat-

– How much to weigh-

– When to eat-

– The clean plate club-

– Who is judging you-

– What you should or shouldn’t have eaten-

– Where did those voices come from-

– Media, family, comments from others, personal knowledge

– Make fact-based choices

– Don’t insist on 100% compliance

Make Peace with Fullness

– It takes 20 min. for your body to cue your brain that you are full

– Your empty belly is about the size of your fist

– Learn the difference between full and stuffed

– Savor what you are eating when you eat it

– Left hand

– Mini bites

– Fork down

– Remember that leftovers will be there to enjoy tomorrow

– Stay hydrated

– Learn about foods and eating patterns that promote fullness

Eat for Satisfaction

– Make sure you are not dehydrated

– Cravings tell you something

– Salty, sweet, sour…

– Red meat or spinach (Iron)

– Cheese (Tryptophan)

– Chocolate (Theobromine, magnesium)

– Soda (Calcium)

– Fatty foods

– Eat colorfully and flavorfully

– Eat mindfully and reflect on how the food nourishes your body, gives you energy, improves your mood

Use Food for Hunger not Emotions

– Make a list of your feelings and ways to cope with or celebrate them without food

– Pause before getting food to notice if you are hungry or something else (journals, checklists, dishes)

– Reconceptualize “food addiction” and reclaim power

– Addictions are a coping response to dysphoria

– Addictive behaviors alter neurotransmitter levels

– Core reasons for compulsive food consumption

– Reward-driven eating as opposed to physiological hunger)

– Psychological preoccupation with food

– Perceived lack of self-control around food (autopilot/hooked to thoughts)

– Frequent food cravings

Respect Your Body

– Embrace body positivity

– Stop comparing

– Explore you as a person

– Discover what size means to you and why

– Wear comfortable clothes

– Throw out the scale

– If you have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight get screened for*

– Diabetes

– PCOS/Hormone imbalances

– Depression

– Sleep disturbances

Prevent Vulnerabilities

– Exercise intuitively

– Increases energy and oxygenation

– Improves sleep

– Reduces cortisol (Low intensity 40-50% VO2max)

– Increases serotonin which impacts hunger and depression

– May reduce “stress” via distress tolerance

– Sleep*

– Sleep deprivation significantly increases ghrelin levels and is associated with higher consumption of calories

– Stress, shift work, pain, medication, alcohol, apnea, poor sleep hygiene, infants

Honor Your Body with Good Nutrition

– When you are depressed, exhausted, angry, stressed you will often crave comfort foods which are low in nutritional value

– Poor sleep is associated with depression and anxiety as well as disrupted ghrelin levels

– When you have poor nutrition it contributes to depression, exhaustion and irritability

– Dopamine (Tyrosine, B6, iron)

– Serotonin (Calcium, B6, Mg, iron, folic acid, zinc, C)

– Norepinephrine (Tyrosine, B6, C, iron)

– Glutamate (Glutamine, 107 regulators,31 enzymes)

Good Nutrition–Gently

– Make a list of foods you LOVE

– Try a new recipe each week

– Notice how you feel after you eat certain things

– Eat colorfully

– Take what you want and put half back

– Use a smaller plate

– Keep binge foods out of the house but not out of your life

– Avoid buffets if you have to “get your money’s worth”

– Keep a nutrition log to learn what YOUR body needs

– Plan your menu of options and prepare ahead

– Close the kitchen

– Keep a water bottle with you


– Significant evidence indicates episodic “dieting” and yo-yo weight loss is physically and psychologically harmful

– Intuitive eating teaches people to

– Pay attention to the signals their body sends them

– Learn to differentiate between hunger, exhaustion, emotional states and compulsive thinking

– Address the underlying issues of cravings and excessive hunger

Learn More

– Books by New Harbinger

– Save 25% off your entire order at with promocode 1168 SNIPES

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Intuitive Eating Basics and Benefits

Intuitive Eating Basics and Benefits

Charles Snipes