What is the difference between Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating?
You may have heard both of these terms floating around in social media, conversation, or in books or podcasts. These two concepts are both fantastic and play an important role in our overall well-being. Sometimes the terms mindful eating and intuitive eating are used interchangeably. While this isn’t incorrect, there are a few differences to note. Let’s first talk about the definition of each.
Mindful Eating was first introduced by author and mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1990. Kabat-Zinn defined the term “mindfulness” as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”. He wrote the book Full Catastrophe Living to offer guidance on living mindfully based on his personal experiences.
“allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.”
“using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.”
“becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.”
I really love to think of mindful eating as using the senses and paying attention on purpose to all aspects of a meal, including before and after.
Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating framework that is based on ten principles. Intuitive eating is evidence-based (meaning there have been many studies conducted on the framework) and integrates the mind and body in regard to health. Intuitive eating is a weight-neutral model in which you aim to listen to and respond to your body’s signals in order to meet it’s needs.
What is the difference?
Mindful eating is encompassed within the principles of Intuitive Eating. Intuitive eating casts a wider umbrella.
Intuitive Eating goes deeper into additional topics such as coping with emotions with kindness, respecting your body, and rejecting the diet mentality. Intuitive eating also teaches you the importance of moving your body joyfully and gentle nutrition without judgment.
Ultimately, both concepts center around the idea that you are the expert of your body. Both encourage you to be fully aware of the food experience and pay attention to the present moment.
Both concepts prioritize paying attention to your body instead of external cues. Only you know what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feel like in your body.
I believe both mindful eating and intuitive eating are useful tools that can empower you and help you cultivate well-being with ease.