Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating are often used interchangeably but are they actually the same thing?

Well, kind of…but not really. Let me explain.

Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating are often used interchangeably but are they actually the same thing? This post will explain.


I talk about Mindful Eating in more detail here, but essentially it is about is about focusing our attention, on purpose, on the act of eating. It involves eating with awareness of all of our senses- our sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. And it involves eating without judgement.

Intuitive Eating, on the other hand, is the term coined by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995 when they published the first edition of their book Intuitive Eating. Yep, this ain’t no fad diet or flash in the pan way of eating! Intuitive Eating has been around for over 20 years.

In their latest book, The Intuitive Eating Workbook, Tribole and Resch provide this lovely definition;

“Intuitive Eating is a dynamic mind-body integration of instinct, emotion, and rational thought. It is a personal process of honoring your health by paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs. It is an inner journey of discovery that puts you front and centre; you are the expert of your own body.” (pg1)

Just from that paragraph alone, you can see that Intuitive Eating is about much more than slowing down and paying attention without judgement when we eat.

In fact, there are 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating that aim to help a person find their unique version of mind and body health. These principles are:

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honour Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Respect Your Fullness
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  7. Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Exercise–Feel the Difference
  10. Honour Your Health

Another way to look at it is that Intuitive Eating is a way of leading your life. And Mindful Eating is a skill you develop as part of that process. Mindful Eating plays a part in one form or another in Principles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The other amazing thing is that there is scientific evidence validating Intuitive Eating as a holistic and healthful way to live. Proving once again, this isn’t some fad diet that was created as a money spinner!

So, while it is easy to see how the two can be confused, there is a difference between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating. But they are both wonderful things to embrace as part of your ‘health and wellness toolkit’.


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Answer 5 quick questions to find out what eating style you are drawn to and how it can influence your food choices, your relationship with food and even your health.​

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