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Intuitive Eating Principle 5: Discover the Satisfaction Factor


The writers of Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, consider satisfaction to be the central component of their Intuitive Eating philosophy. All of the other principles can influence satisfaction with the eating experience.


Eating is meant to be pleasurable! This is something that is often forgotten when we are trying to diet, especially when diets may tell us to have foods we don’t want or don’t like. If we do have the foods we want, then we feel so guilty about eating them it takes away from the pleasure of eating it anyway.


When eating intuitively, no foods are off limits; therefore, we can eat the foods we truly want. When we eat what we’re actually craving, with full permission, it is a pleasurable and satisfying experience. When certain foods are off limits, often we find ourselves sneaking them or overeating them. Or you might find yourself eating your way through other snacks to “distract” yourself from what it is you really want, and still end up feeling too full and unsatisfied.


Here’s some general advice for finding satisfaction when eating:

  • Check in with what you are truly craving: what do you feel like eating right now?

  • Taste the food you eat! Notice taste, texture, smell, and appearance. Ask yourself if what you’re eating is pleasurable and satisfying to you.

  • Eat before you get to the point of being ravenous.

  • Create a calm eating environment. Even if you truly can’t step away from your desk, turn off the devices and give yourself time to just sit and eat.

  • Check in with yourself as you eat. Does the food still taste good? You can always take a break and come back to the food in a little while.

Use this great quote from the authors as you start to find the satisfaction in food:

If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it.” When possible, don’t settle for foods that aren’t satisfying or pleasing to you.


For example, you might start eating a cookie in the break room and realize it’s stale. If you trust that you can eat something else if you’re truly hungry, and that you can go buy a fresh cookie whenever you want, it doesn’t feel restrictive or punishing to throw out the stale cookie.


Of course, there will be times when the foods you eat might not be the most pleasing or satisfying food. If you’re hungry and you need food, you should always eat! Not every eating experience will be perfect. But when you are able to, make your eating experience enjoyable.


Are you interested in learning more about how the Intuitive Eating approach can help you reach your health goals? Reach out to us and set up a consultation with one of our Registered Dietitians today, or click this link to sign up for our 6-week online Intuitive Eating Program!

Author: Becca Sprague, MS, RD, LD