The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food by Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch
THE INTUITIVE EATING WORKBOOK re-presents the 10 principles, as discussed in the author’s prior books on this same subject. The difference is, this book is not meant to just present the principles; rather, it is designed to take the reader into practical action. So, this book is much more of a practical, “hands-on” tutorial with tons of surveys, questions and worksheets.
There is a LOT to consider in this book. It will not be a quick read—especially if the principles are new to you. For readers already familiar with the concepts, I think you can just skim the principles, and go right to the worksheets. Each chapter covers one principle; here are the 10 principles:
Principle One Reject the Diet Mentality
Principle Two Honor Your Hunger
Principle Three Make Peace with Food
Principle Four Challenge the Food Police
Principle Five Feel Your Fullness
Principle Six Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle Seven Cope with Your Feelings without Using Food
Principle Eight Respect Your Body
Principle Nine Exercise: Feel the Difference 1
Principle Ten Honor Your Health.
Here’s the key theme of the book: Intuitive Eating means we become more aware, or “attuned” to the message of your body. “It is an inner journey of discovery that puts you front and center; you are the expert of your own body.” That is, you rely more on your own natural sensations, and less of outside advice or guidance. We also strive to avoid situations and behaviors which distract us from correctly receiving the natural messages from our body. For example, the sensation of hunger is a natural sensation, which should not be dis-regarded.
Evelyn and Elyse emphasizes multiple times that we are not engaging in a weight loss program. The ideas is to normalize your relationship with eating—not focus on weight:
“If you focus on weight loss, that preoccupation will interfere with your ability to make choices based on your intuitive signals, and it will place focus on appearance rather than inner wisdom.”
The authors note several problems with using our weight as a key metric. In fact, body mass is a poor indicator of health: “There is also a profound body of research— based on millions of people, cumulatively— that shows that weight, especially the body mass index, is not a good indicator of health.” The authors cites scientific studies backing up this claim. Surprisingly, weight loss via diets actually correlates with WORSE health.
“Many people are aware that dieting doesn’t work in the long run, but most are surprised to learn that dieting actually increases your risk for gaining even more weight.”
DON’T MISS THIS: Chapter 2 contains a STUNNING section—if you read nothing else, read “Self-Care and Attunement Disrupters.” This section helps you figure out how you are caring for yourself. For example, in the “Self-Care Assessment Physical,” one ponders how much sleep you are getting: “Do I get enough sleep to feel rested and restored when I wake up.” What about regular medical and dental checkups? Do you allow yourself to take time off when ill?
The above ideas might sound trite, but I think the authors are right on target. I really appreciated the encouraging suggestions in this chapter. Do you “identify comforting activities,” “make time to play” and “find things that make me laugh?”
After you complete the “Self-Care Assessment,” you see if there is a pattern in your behavior, and brainstorm strategies to improve your self-care. Here are some ideas for improving self-care: “I will work on consistently getting enough sleep by getting to bed, with lights out, by ten thirty.” On the emotional side, the authors suggest one could “spend thirty minutes relaxing when I get home from work.” Or maybe, “Decline new volunteer projects until I finish my current commitment.” On the spiritual side, one might have a goal of meditating for a few minutes.
So all in all, I found THE INTUITIVE EATING WORKBOOK to be a useful guide to the 10 principles, and a terrific source of questions and worksheets to guide me through the process. The questions are well-designed and clear.
There is a lot to ponder in this book, and the ideas are no trivial. I think most readers will need to spend quite a bit of time thinking through the concepts and taking the assessments. I would have liked to see “bullet points” at the front of back of each chapter giving the main points. It would have made my read easier.
The appendix contains an interesting set of resource material and addresses. For example, one could learn how to become a “Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor.” Honestly, I had no idea there was such a person. Another appendix contains detailed references supporting the author’s scientific claims.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.