Let’s explore intuitive eating… Do you have days when you eat more than you normally would? Or other days when you just aren’t hungry and eat less? How do you feel when you eat more or less? Many women say they feel “good” when they eat less and “bad” when they eat more, particularly if the food they eat more of is a “bad” food choice.

We judge ourselves and our food when we do this. This moral self-judgement tends to decrease our self-esteem and make us feel bad. What do we do to make ourselves feel better? Yes, you said it, we eat more! Usually one of those foods we judge as “bad” as they make us feel temporarily happier.

Don’t judge food, don’t judge yourself (or others) for what or how much we eat. Eating food which is mostly healthy doesn’t make someone a morally good person or vice versa.

Consider basing your eating on an intuitive eating framework.

Intuitive eating

Intuitive eating is a philosophy of nutrition where you learn to recognise and trust the signals your body sends you. Our bodies send us signals of hunger and fullness but we often don’t listen, or live such busy lives that we don’t have time to listen and we don’t recognise the signals.

Learning to recognise the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger and learning to recognise when you are full takes time and conscious effort.

Emotional hunger

Emotional hunger is the hunger we feel in our heads when we are happy, sad, lonely, bored or for any other type of emotion you can think of. We generally choose comfort foods to salve the emotions we are feeling. That 3pm or after dinner craving for chocolate is just one example of emotional hunger.

Physical hunger

Physical hunger is the body sending physical messages to say it needs food or fluid. There are different levels of physical hunger (we’ll explore this more in another post) but can include a gnawing sensation in your stomach, growling sounds, feeling light headed, being irritable – hangry!, or weak. And there are signals of fullness, too, from feeling just satisfied to being ready to explode after Grandma’s four course Christmas dinner!


It’s important to reflect on what signals your body is sending you. To reflect you have to pay attention to your food when your eat. Then, act on the signals your body is sending without self-judgment. If your body says it feels full, then stop eating. If it says it would like more food then keep eating. Trusting those signals can take even more time.

If you would like to learn how to eat intuitively, book a one-to-one appointment with me now! (Yes! I do telehealth, telephone and face-to-face appointments.)

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Post byDale Cooke

I'm a nutritionist, dietitian and personal trainer with 29 years of experience helping people improve their health. I really like using a non-diet philosophy to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Can I help you improve your health?