Now ‘Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works’ by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole is perhaps the granddaddy of the intuitive eating movement. In fact, in some circles, it’s known as the “intuitive eating bible”. Dietitians themselves, the authors originally wrote the book in the mid-1990s when attention in the form of small studies revealed the effectiveness of intuitive eating in comparison to the traditional diet.
Instead of promoting the newest fad diet (you know the ones that promise you’ll finally lose the unwanted weight and hit your #bodygoals) intuitive eating tells you to ditch diets altogether. Instead, the concept focuses on helping you develop normal eating patterns. How? by teaching you to listen to your body. What a novel idea right?! When you feel like eating, you eat. When you’re full, you’re full!
While this probably sounds crazy if you’re new to the idea of intuitive eating, the authors suggest that it’s not crazy at all! It’s the process of ditching diet culture and learning to love and listen to yourself. It’s the process of mental and physical healing.
This book is designed to take you through a journey from “this is crazy”, to “this makes the most sense for the healthiest me”. The book starts by talking about diet culture, what damage it does, and how to adjust your perspective away from a diet mentality. It also includes the 10 principles of intuitive eating. These principles have been widely accepted in the intuitive eating community and help form the basis for nearly every other book and program out there.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. While I’m not an intuitive eating purist, I think understanding the basis for any diet, lifestyle or mindset program can be beneficial. After all, it covers just about every question you’ll have about foundational intuitive eating.
Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to stop here. We’re going to look at a few of the great things about this book and then follow that up with a list of “cons” about the book.
First, one of my favorite things about this book as opposed to other intuitive eating books is that it has research included. While I have not personally verified the research and made sure that it’s as objective as possible, I respect the fact that the authors included it. Studies like the Minnesota Starvation Experiment are used as illustrative points to validate the concept that diets ruin natural food mentality. The authors use this as well as many other studies to back up their claims. While I would hesitate to accept any claims without researching the studies myself, I do appreciate science being included in the process. I also appreciate that the authors consistently update the studies with each book edition.
Examples and Stories
Another thing I enjoy is that they give a lot of stories and examples. Some books of this capacity are very philosophical, but this one strives to be practical through illustration. Since the authors are dietitians, they are able to give examples of actual patients they’ve had as you read through each chapter. I personally really loved this. Anytime I started to think that only certain people could do this, a story in the next chapter proved me wrong!
They Keep Things Fresh
Like many authors, there have been a few revisions of the book, and I’ve been happy to find that with each revision they’ve added things that are helpful and needed, not just new formatting or a new line here or there for the money. Two things they added to the most recent edition that I found refreshing include that numbers pertaining to BMI and weight were removed and they added a whole chapter about raising your kids to be intuitive eaters!
The Cons Of The Book
Like I previously mentioned I’m not a cut and dry intuitive eating only type of person. BUT, I am a fan of the Intuitive Eating book. I’ve found it to be informative and helpful to understanding the entirety of the intuitive eating movement. With that being said, there are some things that I would love to see altered, and some I just don’t agree with.
One of the very first things I noticed is that there is no acknowledgment of the current health positivity and body positivity movement. These movements may not be exclusive to the intuitive eating lifestyle, but they could be of value to the entire community. It seems shameful that the authors didn’t include these outlets as a resource for readers working through their own body and health issues.
Another thing I found just plain irritating is that they use the words “normal weight” a lot. Look, I personally don’t believe that any weight can be healthy. I’m sorry, but if you’re 5′ tall and 500 pounds you’re probably not healthy. However, I also believe that there is no normal weight. I’ve felt extremely healthy at both 200lbs and 125lbs, but I’ve found that my body likes to sit somewhere between 135lbs and 140lbs. But what’s “normal” to me is probably not normal to you!
Another thing that seems weird about the book to me is the fact that the authors seem to only provide summaries of the eating principles that they created. That just doesn’t seem effective to me! With all the other examples and stories in the book to help you understand and take action, this area just seems to be lacking.
Do I Recommend?
Overall, yes! Anyone who wants to give up dieting should have an understanding of these books.