Reconciling Intuitive and Healthy Eating

Do Intuitive and Wholesome Eating contradict each other or go hand in hand? Are you afraid of giving Intuitive Eating a chance because you think you’ll eat everything in sight (or at least everything salty, sweet, creamy, and forbidden)? Fear not!


Transcript for Reconciling Intuitive and Healthy Eating

Hi and welcome to Nutritionally Speaking. I’m your host Michaela Ballmann.



Intuitive Eating and Food Choices

Today, I want to respond to a common question, and that is: Is there a discrepancy or conflict between the message of “Eat Intuitively” and that of “Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods”? If you’ve been listening to this podcast or reading my blog for some time, you will see both topics come up with great frequency, but I understand that it seems like the two are mutually exclusive, like you can only have one and not the other.

This is a great question! Many have expressed their fear that if they were to eat the foods they want in the quantities they desire, they would be munching on donuts, ice cream, and chocolate and never stop! Ironically, this belief is directly linked to a distrust of one’s body. Trust in oneself and one’s body is absolutely essential for the intuitive eating mindset and behaviors to grow strong.



Conflict Between Nutrition Advice and Intuitive Eating?

Let’s take a look at why eating that promotes health and wellbeing seems to be at odds with intuitive eating.

  1. First, I think that due to a history of dieting or unbalanced eating growing up, our bodies have been ignored or silenced to the point where there is only a faint whisper. Our ears have to be trained to start recognizing the voice and listening in to see what it is saying. When we start hearing, rather than react by suppressing the message, we need to take it to heart. If our body is saying we need more rest, and we say, “Too bad! I want to stay up and watch this show.”, our body’s voice, will, and needs fade. If again we ignore our body’s request for movement and say, “Nah. Walking isn’t good enough, and I don’t feel like running.”, our body will eventually stop asking for exercise.
  2. Second, in conjunction with tuning out from our body, we have tuned into the message that we need to control our bodies and make them submit to our rules. These rules, of course, change depending on the newest fad diet or purported weight loss miracle. We decide that our body shouldn’t have carbs and if there is a craving or desire, we must squash it before it overtakes us and we commit the sin of eating bread or dessert. We notice that our body may not conform to the declared ideal (by the way, who decided that anyways?) Time for the body to be whipped through intense exercise, meals composed of nonfat cottage cheese and carrot sticks, and we’d better not hear even a little complaint or rumbling of hunger! This sounds crazy when you hear me say it or see it on your screen, but in your head this might totally make sense.
  3. Lastly, I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit. We treat ourselves like some sort of disgusting, scheming beast. I think we need to take a curious, non-judgmental approach to our hungers, cravings, and most of all our thoughts and behaviors. I think we’ll discover that all along, our body has been asking us to slow down–stress less, work less, do less–and listen more–what do I actually like to eat, what activities do I enjoy, what are my passions, what are my talents, what matters most to me?


What Do You Really Want?

So, how do we reconcile the concept of intuitive eating with the counsel to eat nutrient dense foods?

It all starts with reclaiming trust in your body and restoring your body back to a place of respect and authority. You know better than anyone what you need and what works for you. Take your voice back and listen to what you say. You may want dessert, but I assure you, that if you are able to mute the noise that comes from fears, irrational beliefs, and unreliable claims, you won’t want to eat 4 donuts, a pint of ice cream, or a King size chocolate bar. You’ll know that a few bites will satisfy and if they don’t, then you heard wrong, and you actually need a hug, a bath, or a walk. There’s another need to be filled. It’s ok. We get used to using food to try to fill all of our needs, but be patient as you learn.

I’m convinced that as we develop our voice, take back our rights, and allow our body’s signals to come through loud and clear, we will want and enjoy nourishing foods…with a side of dessert.


Thanks for listening to this episode of Nutritionally Speaking. I hope it has helped make intuitive, wholesome eating tangible for you. We would love to hear your comments or questions–you can go to my website at and click on podcast to comment on this episode or listen to previous episodes. I would also really appreciate it if you would review my podcast on iTunes. Thanks again for listening and I’ll see you next time!

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Reconciling Intuitive and Healthy Eating


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