Elyse's answers to interview questions for Women's Health and Fitness Magazine in Australia

  • December 17, 2010 - 5:37pm
    Written by: Elyse Resch, Co-Author Intuitive Eating, Nutrition Therapist


    Potential Traps for Holidays (part 1)

        Holiday time can seem like a “catch 22”, if you’re not prepared.   My clients often tell me that they’re filled with anticipation for celebrations and the excitement of the season, and as soon as the first holiday moment begins, they find themselves filled with anxiety and stress.  How can a time that seems so joyous, also be brimming with dread?  I advise clients to spend some time preparing for the feelings that are apt to emerge and rehearse the coping mechanisms they can use to deal with these feelings.  When they do this, they find that their anxiety diminishes and their feelings of joy increase.

          Here’s a list of some of the difficult issues that you might face.  Do any of these apply to you?  Next, imagine how you might handle them and watch how much better prepared you'll be. (The next entry will address strategies for dealing with holiday traps.)

          1) Fear of being judged for your eating and/or your body.

    2) The stress of buying and wrapping holiday gifts.

    3) Anxiety about family dysfunction.

    4) Potential feelings of loneliness.

    5) Worry about overeating or eating emotionally.

    6) Anxiety about what to wear and how you will look.

    7) Concerns about fitting holiday events into your busy work schedule.

    8) Boredom and discomfort at parties. 

  • December 14, 2010 - 6:14pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating


    After creating the Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights, I thought about the collective wisdom of Intuitive Eating Professionals on LinkedIn, (which consists of over 800 allied health professionals).  And so I posed the following question to the group:

    What additional Intuitive Eater "right" would you add to help foster inner peace during the holiday season?  

    I am pleased to share their suggestions, below.   Would you like to add a "right" to the "Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights?"  Please share, by posting it in the comments section below.

    Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights-Part 2 (You can  read part one here)

    • “You have the right to feel less than "cheerful" no matter what others are saying about the 'true spirit' of the holiday season. You have the right to honor your true feelings and respond to them with compassion.” - Rebecca Galla
    • "Not right now thanks but maybe later" works really well to appease the pushy host/hostess. If there isn't a "later" then remind yourself that there is tomorrow and you won't perish today.” -Tracy Stoker
    • “You have a right to notice how your body responds to different foods and to eat foods that look good, taste good and make you FEEL GOOD.” – Latoya J. Williams
    • "You have the right to share your inner peace with food, without judgement! Others may just even be jealous!”- Kathryn Fink
    • “You have the right to enjoy your food immensely even if a loved one with food challenges is present.”- Becky Henry
    • “You have the right not to participate in diet/weight talk.”- Judith Matz
    • “I suggest my clients say "maybe later" with a smile...helps to neutralize the situation.”- Janice Baker MBA RD CDE CNSC
    • "You have the right to eat others' forbidden foods without feeling guilty." - Jaime Fenton
    • “You have the right to say a graceful "Thank you" when someone compliments you without denying their comment or putting yourself down.”-Sumner Brooks, MPH, RD, CSSD

    “You have the right to feel the painful feelings that may come up at holiday time and to ask for support from someone safe.”

    Copyright © 2010 by www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • November 25, 2010 - 7:49pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights

    by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    What if peace on earth could begin at the dinner table? Imagine experiencing an inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It's hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how to eat.

    Consider your Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights, as we enter the holiday season, to help you foster inner peace with food, mind and body.

    1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

    2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.

    3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying "no thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food.

    4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.

    5. You have the right to say, "No thank you," without explanation, when offered more food.

    6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of "no", even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat "No, thank you, really."

    7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

    Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family.

    Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • November 17, 2010 - 8:28pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    I often get asked, "What is the difference between Intuitive Eating and mindful eating?" It can be a bit confusing since the terms seem to be used interchangeably [1,2].

    To my knowledge, the first time the concept of mindful eating was introduced to the public was in 1990, in Jon Kabat-Zinn's best-selling book, Full Castrophe Living[3]. He describes mindful eating in a few pages, including an activity on how to eat a raisin using a mindful approach. (I am a big fan of his work, but I was not introduced to it until about 8 years ago!)

    While Intuitive Eating, includes mindful eating, that term was not in the public venacular, when the first edition of Intuitive Eating was published in 1995. Consequently, we used the term "conscious eating" to describe the process of being aware while eating. (I actually prefer the term mindful eating, because it's less ambigous).

    Mindful eating is a process of paying attention (on purpose), to your actual eating experience,without judgment. While this sounds straightforward, the process can be quite complex, especially for those inclined to multi-tasking.

    I consider Intuitive Eating a broader philosophy, which includes physical activity for the sake of feeling good, rejecting the dieting mentality, using nutrition information without judgment, and respecting your body, regardless of how you feel about its shape. There are 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, but they can be boiled down to these three core characteristics, which were validated by the research of Tracy Tylka [4]:

    • Eat for Physical Rather than Emotional Reasons
    • Rely on Internal Hunger and Satiety Cues
    • Unconditional Permission to Eat

    In short, Intuitive Eating is a form of attunement of mind, body and food. To date there are over 13 studies, which have validated Intuitive Eating as a healthful way to live and use in the treatment of binge eating disorder.

    For those who struggle with eating issues, both mindful eating and Intuitive Eating can help facilitate normal eating.


    1. The Center for Mindful Eating website:http://www.tcme.org/

    2. Intuitive Eating website: www.IntuitiveEating.org

    3. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Full Catastrophe Living.(1990). Delta:NY,NY.

    4. Tylka, T. Intuitive Eating Assessment Scale. J Counseling Psychology 2006(53):226-240.

    5. General Intuitive Eating Resources

    6. Mathieu J. What Should You Know about Mindful and Intuitive Eating?J Am Dietetic Assoc 2009;109(Dec):1982-1987.

  • November 5, 2010 - 4:17pm
    Written by: Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND

          Every day, one or both of us, receives an e-mail or a phone call about how Intuitive Eating has profoundly changed that person’s life.  Reconnecting with your internal wisdom about eating—wisdom that’s been with you from birth, will lead you to a life of freedom from negative thoughts about your food and your body.  It will give you the sense of security that can only come from knowing that you, and only you, have all the information you need to eat with satisfaction, tucked deeply inside.  You can take this with you wherever you go.  You don’t need to bring a book or a meal plan or a list of do’s and don’ts in your purse or pocket.  All you need is the voice of your inner world.  You’re the expert—please don’t forget that!


What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is a philosophy of eating which is based on the belief that the vast majority of people are born with all of the intuitive wisdom they need to have to know how to eat.  That includes knowing when they're hungry and full, knowing what taste preferences they have, and knowing how their bodies feel after making their food choices.  Unfortunately, many people, for various reasons, become distracted from this wisdom.   These people need to challenge their diet thinking and distorted cognitions and myths in order to find their way back to their inborn wisdom.

What are its origins and how big is it as a worldwide movement?
The origins of Intuitive Eating come from a movement toward a non-diet philosophy which emerged sometime during the late 1980's.  It became evident that dieting for the purpose of weight loss could only lead to failure, more weight gain, and lowered self esteem.   The two authors of Intuitive Eating, both Registered Dietitians were the first dietitians to take this broad philosophy and lay down ten principles, named the principles of Intuitive Eating, which addressed how people could move away from diet thinking and move back toward their intuitive wisdom about eating.  The original edition of Intuitive Eating was released in 1995, with a second edition in 2003, an audio book with guided practices for all of the Intuitive Eating principles in 2009, and now the 3rd edition in 2012.  The term, "intuitive Eating" was coined by the authors.

Why is it a better option than three meals a day and other more structured eating philosophies?
A structured meal plan or diet comes from "the outside in" rather than "the inside out".  In other words, structured plans tell people what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.   This is completely counter to and invasive of the very private place within each human that houses the information responding to the what, when, and how much to eat.   Diets engender deprivation, with its accompanying deprivation backlash and rebellion against being told what to do, which triggers an individual's need to assert autonomy by going against the diet.   Dieting has been proven to be a consistent predictor of weight gain.

What are the benefits of intuitive eating? Eg lose weight, better relationship with food etc
Intuitive Eating has scientifically been proven to be associated with both physical and emotional benefits including:
•lower body mass index (BMI)
•lower triglycerides
•higher HDLs, (the "good" cholesterol)
•higher self esteem, well being, optimism, body appreciation and acceptance, proactive coping skills, psychological hardiness, unconditional self-regard, pleasure from eating, and variety of foods eaten
•lower internalized thin ideal, eating disorders, emotional eating, and self silencing
Who would you recommend it for?
Intuitive Eating is recommended for people of all ages and genders.

Do you find that lots of women try it only to eat too much - is it too testing for most women's self control?
I think that this question needs to be looked at in a different way.  First of all, Intuitive Eating is not about will power or self control.   Instead, it's about trusting the body to give accurate information about the what, when, and how much to eat.  This trust can only come from going through a process of making peace with all foods, so no food is forbidden.  Forbidding or restricting certain foods creates a sense of deprivation and a subsequent period of overeating as a backlash to the deprivation.   In the beginning of finding their way back to their internal wisdom about food, many people go through a period of eating more of the foods that have previously been forbidden, and eating them more often than they will as time goes on.  When they finally truly belief that they have unconditional permission to eat any food, without judgment, and without fear of future deprivation, more balance in eating organically evolves.   The people who tend to eat "too much" for "too long" are holding onto some inner belief that "if this doesn't work, I can go on to some new diet".   Even the mere perception of future deprivation will lead people to feel out control and eat in an out of control manner.

Are there instances where you wouldn't recommend intuitive eating to someone?
There are some children and adults who have inborn errors of metabolism or genetic abnormalities, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, or who are severely developmentally delayed or are on the autistic syndrome who would have a great difficulty turning in to the information that their bodies give about eating.
But other than in these rare cases, Intuitive Eating can be used in its entirely or slightly modified for many different conditions.  Even people who are healing from Anorexia Nervosa, can begin to utilize some of the principles of Intuitive Eating regardless of being weight compromised.  People who are suffering from medical conditions can also utilize Intuitive Eating principles as long as they understand that the tongue is not the only part of the body that can give information about what and how to eat.   Information can be derived from how the stomach or head feels after eating certain foods, or how the whole body feels when deviating from using rational thinking to expand upon the body's instinctual knowledge. 
What are your top practical tips for making the most of intuitive eating?
The most practical tip I can give is to make the seeking of satisfaction be the primary goal in eating.   When that is the focus, people will find that they will have greater satisfaction if they eat when they're moderately hungry, rather than being in primal hunger, and if they stop when moderately full, as food loses its satisfaction factor after fullness has been achieved. If they're eating in a favorable environment, which includes a lack of emotional tension and which provides foods that please the palate, while eating slowly and savoring the food, they will have more satisfaction in eating.   They will also achieve greater satisfaction if they have made peace with all foods, have challenged the negative internal and external voices about eating, have learned to nurture themselves, and have found ways to cope with their feelings, rather than going to food as a coping mechanism.

What are some of the recent research findings in this area?
All of the items mentioned under the question about benefits of Intuitive Eating have come from recent research studies.   There is an entire chapter in the latest edition/3rd edition of Intuitive Eating that came out in August of 2012.

Any other comments?
Yes,  Intuitive Eating has been known to change people's lives.  The more they begin to trust their inner wisdom about eating, the clearer they are to evaluate other areas of their lives, through trusting their inner voice.  They find peace in the realm of eating and body image, and they are freed to pursue areas that have been left behind while they're been focused on dieting and losing weight.   
And, lastly, it's most important to take weight loss out of the picture.  It must be put on the back burner.  If someone's current weight is a result of a dieting history, without honoring hunger and fullness signals and perhaps of using food emotionally as a coping mechanism to get through life, and or the person has not allowed her/himself the freedom and joy of natural movement, then his/her weight is likely to normalize throughout this process.   But any focus on weight loss can only sabotage one's ability to tune into intuitive signals.
Thanks for this opportunity to spread the Intuitive Eating word to our neighbors in Australia!