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Are You Making This Major Mistake With Intuitive Eating? 

February 28, 2024

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

When you first heard the term “intuitive eating,” what came to mind? Maybe you thought, “I’m only supposed to eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m full.,” or perhaps you thought, “Ok, intuitive eating means that I should just let myself eat whatever I want, whenever I want.” 

This is where a lot of people get tripped up right from the beginning with intuitive eating. They’ll come to me and they’ll say, “Katy, I’m trying to do this whole intuitive eating thing, and all I want to eat is stuff like chips and candy and Taco Bell.” Deep inside they have an instinct telling them that this doesn’t seem quite right, and that this wouldn’t be how they want to eat indefinitely. However, then they start to second guess themselves, or they’ll feel gaslighted by the intuitive eating community when they hear people talking about how there’s no such thing as a good or bad food, and you’re supposed to let yourself eat what you want without feeling guilty. So then people will think, “Ok I guess maybe this is just how it’s supposed to go then?” Or they’ll think, “This is crazy and there’s no way I can keep letting myself eat like this,” and they’ll assume that this whole intuitive eating thing is a sham or it can’t work for them. 

Here’s the mistake that’s wrapped up in all of this: It’s when you’re assuming that intuitive eating means “eat whatever you want, whenever you want.” That’s not intuitive eating – that’s impulsive eating. 

Eating whatever pops into your head doesn’t mean that’s actually what your body wants or needs in that moment. Using this type of impulse to drive your eating behaviors isn’t actually intuitive. 

Now, yes there will be times that something sounds good and you eat it and that is intuitive, and there’s definitely space for some impulsive eating as part of being an intuitive eater. (We’re not aiming for perfection here, right?) In general though, the idea is to slow down and check in with your body before you eat. 

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh no! I’ve been doing impulsive eating this whole time!” – Don’t panic, don’t go to shame. You’re not stupid or dumb or anything like that. It’s such an easy mistake to make.

Shifting From Impulsive to Intuitive Eating

The first thing that you must get in the habit of doing is pausing before you eat to check in with your body and to ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” There are a LOT of times that we think about food and we want to eat when we’re not actually hungry. We might be thinking about food because we saw a commercial for Dairy Queen, or because someone offered us a brownie at work, or because you saw the box of Cheez Its sitting on your counter at home. Just because the thought of eating that food because it sounds good or tastes good pops into your head doesn’t mean that you are hungry or that your body is actually wanting food in that moment. This is where the pause is so powerful. In fact, I call it the Powerful Pause. 

The question you’re going to ask yourself in the Powerful Pause is: AM I HUNGRY?

If the answer is yes, then you absolutely can and should eat, and if you’re going to do that, I want you to slow down and ask yourself these 3 questions. These are the 3 key questions that I teach my clients inside Non-Diet Academy to ask themselves before they eat – I want you to write this down:

  1. What do I want?
  2. What does my body need?
  3. What do I have available?

If, when you take the Powerful Pause and ask: AM I HUNGRY?, the answer is no, then you need to get curious about why you’re wanting to eat if you’re not hungry. It might be that impulse to eat something just because you saw it or thought about it and it sounds good. It might be the impulse to go grab a snack because you’re bored while watching TV, or you’re stressed at work. Perhaps you feel the need to always hit the Starbucks drive through for a coffee and some type of treat when you’re out running errands, or you feel compelled to grab a drink and some food from the McDonald’s or Taco Bell drive thru when it’s on your way to work or on your way home. There’s nothing wrong with doing these things or eating these foods. But we want to make sure that you’re eating them in a way that actually includes listening to your body, and not just the impulses in your brain.

Hit play to listen to the episode where I share examples from myself and clients for how the Powerful Pause works in action! 

Interested in Working With Me?

If you want to more of these types of my strategies, frameworks and mindset shifts, come join me inside Non-Diet Academy where I teach you ALL of my best stuff, and I guide you through it in a step-by-step fashion so it’s not overwhelming and we can make sure that you’re able to implement things along the way, and troubleshoot the areas where you might be getting stuck or confused. 

The truth is, intuitive eating isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are foundational concepts, but the actual application and implementation of it will look slightly different for each person because we are all unique individuals with unique life circumstances, and unique health needs, and unique relationships with food. So that’s where I, as your coach, can get in there and help you figure out what all of this intuitive eating stuff looks like in YOUR life, for YOUR body and for YOUR health and relationship with food. 

Reach out to me if you’re interested in working together. My DM’s and my email inbox are always open and we can chat about what offers I do have currently available for coaching that would be a good fit for you. 

Resources Mentioned in Episode:

Check out details and enrollment info for Non-Diet Academy

Join my FB group Intuitive Eating Made Easy

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