Among the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, Gentle Nutrition is often the one clients are eager to
embrace sooner rather than later. Gentle Nutrition involves considering the nutrient density of
the foods we consume and ensuring that we prioritize our body's needs for those nutrients. It's
understandable that someone would want to jump to this principle as we all want to make
healthy decisions for our body. However, it is crucial to recognize that without embracing the
preceding 9 principles, the concept of Gentle Nutrition can inadvertently transform into a rigid
set of food rules instead of trusting our body's wisdom to help guide our food choices.
To fully benefit from the principles of Intuitive Eating, it is highly recommended to work through
the initial 9 principles and save the exploration of Gentle Nutrition for the final phase. The
Intuitive Eating principles include:
Reject The Diet Mentality
Honor Your Hunger
Make Peace With Food
Challenge The Food Police
Feel Your Fullness
Discover The Satisfaction Factor
Cope With Your Emotions With Kindness
Respect Your Body
Movement: Feel The Difference
Even with saving Gentle Nutrition for the last principle, implementing it can still present
challenges. We must remain cautious not to allow old food rules to gradually creep back into our
lives. Instead, we can approach Gentle Nutrition by considering its opposite: Harsh Nutrition.
Harsh Nutrition symbolizes diet culture, incessantly dictating what we should eat, what we
should avoid, when we should eat, ad nauseam. If we find ourselves feeling guilty for not
including vegetables in a specific meal, not eating fish at all one week, falling short of the
recommended calcium intake for the day, or any other goals we may set, it serves as an
indication that we are slipping back into the realm of rules and restrictions. Eating should not
leave you feeling like a failure. Instead, eating should provide energy, satisfaction, pleasure, and
be a way to connect with others.
If you don’t know where to start or want someone to walk alongside you as you rediscover
Intuitive Eating, reach out to a Mood Balance Nutrition Registered Dietitian.
Melissa Stitt, RDN and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor