Keto and Low Carb Success

Intuitive Eating

December 22, 2022 Miriam Hatoum Season 1 Episode 30
Keto and Low Carb Success
Intuitive Eating
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 30: Intuitive Eating

This episode investigates Intuitive Eating which is actually a simple idea. It means that you make peace with all types of food. Unlike traditional diets that restrict or ban certain foods, intuitive eating requires you to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad.” Instead, you listen to your body and eat what feels right for you. Let me just say, MUCH easier said than done. But there are ways to approach it and make it successful. There is also a difference between mindful eating and intuitive eating and I will cover that as well.

1:10.         Personal story
6:22.         What is Intuitive Eating (IE)?
10:10.      The difference between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating
11:22.       Michelle May's Am I Hungry?
16:07.       This week's ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
18:34.       Some advice for upcoming holidays
21:18.       Episode 31, coming up

Breaking Free From Diet Prison Book
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Course
THIS WEEK'S VFO:  Using your Hunger Scale
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Facebook page
Roadmap To Diet Success Instagram
Cedars-Sinai article

Joseph Nelson's article

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Episode #: 30.    Intuitive Eating

You’re Listening to the Roadmap to Diet Success, Episode #30, Intuitive Eating.


Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Breaking Free From Diet Prison, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl! 

Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

1:10             Personal Story

Over the years I have tried many times to follow the intuitive eating method. I was never successful. First, I followed the Intuitive Eating program laid out in Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works,” published in 1995. When I wasn’t having any luck on my own, I worked with two different therapists who were trained in program. I just couldn’t get it. I mean, here is the apex of dieting – the anti-diet – and I still couldn’t do it. 

Many years later I found Dr. Michelle May, author of “Am I Hungry?” This is also an intuitive eating program, but in addition to the 10 principles of intuitive eating that Resch and Tribole laid out, and which I will give you later in this episode, she explained things even further by presenting her Eat-Repent-Repeat cycle. I thought I hit gold when I learned about her program, and not only did I sign up for her self-paced program, but I worked weekly one-on-one with someone trained in her methods.  All I got out of that was a weight gain and feeling even worse about myself. While I am writing about this, I recall another professional I worked with along the way, specifically on the intuitive eating system.

Many people, I am sure, find peace with food that these intuitive programs offer. I was not one of them. I wasn’t armed with knowledge of how to work with cravings and urges. I did not understand the science of habits. I had knowledge about hunger and satiety cues but never really put that knowledge into action. I didn’t understand that “you can eat all the things” didn’t really mean I could eat all the things all the time. I didn’t take the time to learn to sit with urges and cravings when they really had nothing to do with hunger. I didn’t know how to listen to my body to see if a certain food didn’t make me feel my best. 

Dr. Suzanne Devkota, an assistant professor in the Cedars-Sinai Division of Gastroenterology has said it best: "For most of us, food is not just nutrition, it's everything—it's social, it's how we bond, how we share ideas, and how we spend time with our families." 

I found that one of the hardest parts can be the difficulty in melding the foods we need to eat – along with their prescribed quantities – with this deeper aspect of food.  That is why intuitive eating seemed to be the answer, and it could have been. But with all these social opportunities that presented yummy food, I couldn’t separate the concept of intuitive eating from my own concept of eat it all. I knew I was ready to fly the plane but hadn’t studied for a pilot’s license. There is nothing wrong with Intuitive Eating, I just wasn’t ready for it. It seemed like I had the key to unlock the diet prison door, and indeed I did, but I didn’t know how to use it.

Rhonda Krick, a registered dietitian at Cedars-Sinai, reminds us that "We're all born with the ability to know when to eat and when to stop eating, and also know what is pleasurable and satisfying.” She goes on to say, "However, most of us start to become more disconnected and less trusting of our own internal wisdom with the influence of family, friends, media and diet culture." In this interview, which I have linked in the show notes, she reminds us of the abysmal long-term success rates with regular dieting, and points out that weight gain can actually be one of the side effects of dieting. I can attest to this, and I am sure many others of you can as well. 

One of my favorite expressions is, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Maybe 10 years ago I did throw out the baby with the bathwater. What I mean by that, is that I declared that Intuitive Eating – as great as it sounded – wasn’t for me. That was the baby. The bathwater was all the muck I had to wade through in order to learn how to make intuitive eating successful. Now, 10 years later, I have very sparkly and clean bathwater, and am ready to embrace the baby. My hope is that this episode will help you do the same, if you think trying intuitive eating might be one of the stops on your journey.

6:22.       What is Intuitive Eating?

The Intuitive Eating movement began – officially – with Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works,” published in 1995.  First, and foremost, it is not a diet plan, and they consider it the anti-diet. They do not assume there will be any weight loss if you follow this program, because its main goals are to make peace with food and with your body. It is based on ten principles 

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality
  2. Honor Your Hunger
  3. Make Peace with Food
  4. Challenge the Food Police
  5. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  6. Feel Your Fullness
  7. Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
  8. Respect Your Body
  9. Movement—Feel the Difference
  10. Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

 If you have been a life-long dieter, boy does this sound good. And each of the principles, on the surface, is what we dieters yearn for, mostly #3 which is make peace with food.  In preparation for this episode, I purchased the fourth edition, fully revised and updated. Each principle is explained and fully explored. I don’t have the original copy that I used to have, so I don’t know if a lot of what is in it now wasn’t available in 1995, or whether I was just blind to it. By that I mean, I was so focused on the fact that I could have cheesecake at 3AM if that is what I wanted, or French fries every day for dinner, that I might not have seen the educational and cautionary information that accompanied directions on how to eat this way. 

Neither here nor there. If you are interested in Intuitive Eating, make sure you get the fourth edition. Indeed, they talk about everything I apparently missed: coping with emotional eating; meeting your needs with kindness; emotional triggers; and chapters on “Honor Your Hunger” which is Principle 2, and “Feel Your Fullness” which is Principle 6. Principle 10, Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition is where I totally missed the boat – along with not having a clue what my hunger and fullness cues were. I just saw the flashing lights of “No bad foods” “Eat all the things.”

 I wish I had a copy of the original book because it can’t be that I missed so much of what they were offering and instructing. To the Miriam of 2022, Resch and Tribole’s program looks like a full, well-rounded program. I don’t know how I missed it in 1995. Like I said, maybe I just wasn’t ready and thought it would be a quick and easy fix to all my problems without doing the work. Now that I have more awareness, education and understanding all these years later, I would like to try it again and will explore it in full with you next season. 

 10:10.       The Difference Between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating

“Mindful eating (that is, paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment) is an approach to food that focuses on individuals’ sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food. It has little to do with calories, carbohydrates, fat, or protein. The purpose of mindful eating is not to lose weight, although it is highly likely that those who adopt this style of eating will lose weight. The intention is to help individuals savor the moment and the food and encourage their full presence for the eating experience.” This is an excerpt from a very interesting article written by Joseph Nelson. It is linked in the show notes and transcript.

Mindful eating is very much what I outlined in Episode 29, Mindfulness Practices, with eating slowly, using your senses and practicing gratitude to help you savor your food and the experience of eating. You use the tool of mindful eating in the practice of Intuitive Eating, but the terms are not synonymous.

11:22.       Michelle May’s Am I Hungry?

Michelle May is a recovered yo-yo dieter who struggled with her relationship to food and body image for nearly 25 years. She is a physician who saw her patients struggling with this as well. Her program is built on what she calls the Eat-Repent-Repeat cycle. 

The premise of this is that for every restriction, you will have a full and opposite binge (using that food or not). There are no good foods or bad foods. The only foods that should be on the NO list would be foods that are not good for your own body, mirroring the Gentle Nutrition advice given by Resch and Tribole. When I did my work with the “Am I Hungry” facilitator this was a hard thing for me to grasp. I couldn’t see how not allowing dairy (because I am dairy sensitive) worked with the idea that all foods fit. I was still the rebel asking, “But WHY can’t I eat cheesecake for every meal?”  I understand this now. I had a hard time wrapping my head around it about 7 or 8 years ago.

The part I like best about this program is about being in charge. What she means is that the food is not in control of you and even YOU aren’t in control of you. You are in charge. You make decisions. There is no will power or fighting with yourself or the food. That is something I missed when I did this program the first time around. Let’s take the cheesecake. I wanted it. I needed willpower not to have it because of my dairy sensitivity. I saw myself wrestling to have it because there is no off-limit food. When I dropped the tug-of-war rope and just came out in charge of the situation, I could see clearly that it was my choice. I could have it and suffer the consequences or not have it. I needed to be in charge of the choice. 

She asks you to ask about what you are hungry for. I do this with my clients and will go through the process in this week’s coaching advice. She explores aspects of emotional eating, what she calls fearless eating, and goes into great depth for each point of her Eat-Repent-Repeat cycle. Her point is that once you stop all the restrictions there will be nothing to repent and no reason to binge. Easier said than done, but it does make sense.

My lack of success with this was along the same lines as it was with Intuitive Eating. I thought I found the holy grail when I found this program, and indeed, it is wonderful. 

I’m not beating myself up or even finding fault. I just want to acknowledge that I did not take the necessary time to learn my hunger and fulness cues. I read about it, and it sounded great, but putting it into practice was another story. That’s why, in every episode of this podcast where I talk about the Hunger Scale, I ask you to put a number to where you are on the scale. Knowing something and doing something are totally different, and in programs like this one, it is absolutely essential that you identify where you are on the scale. If you don’t know when to start eating, when will you know when to stop?

I give both Intuitive Eating and Am I Hungry two thumbs up but with the caveat that it is not all rainbows and unicorns. They look like the answers to your prayers on the outside, all sleek and shiny and brilliant. But be warned that the personal work to make these programs a success is far more complex and difficult than following a diet plan. However, that being said, if you can crack the codes of “all foods fit” and “eating to your hunger scale,” then you are well out the door of diet prison. My goal with the Roadmap to Diet Success podcast, my course and my books, is to help you crack those codes.


This week, when you want something outside a meal, stop and ask yourself, “What do I want? What do I need? What do I have?”  Let’s take this through to its conclusion with three scenerios:


1)     I want popcorn.  I want to crunch and have the hand-to-mouth feel.

I don’t really need it.  I am just scratching an itch or feeding a habit.

IT ENDS HERE. This is where you ask “What do I want and what do I need?”


2)    I want popcorn.  I want to crunch and have the hand to mouth feel.

I don’t really need it.  I am just scratching an itch or feeding a habit.

But I want it.  What do I have?  I have some vegetables that will give me crunch and satisfy the hand-to-mouth feel.  OH HEAVENS.  I don’t want vegetables. IT ENDS HERE. This is where you ask, “What do I want, what do I need, and what do I have?”


3)    I want popcorn.  I want to crunch and have the hand to mouth feel.

I don’t really need it.  I am just scratching an itch or feeding a habit.

But I want it.  What do I have?  I have some vegetables that will give me crunch and satisfy the hand-to-mouth feel.  I will have a few pickles or make a small bowl of carrots, celery and cucumber sticks.  IT’S OVER. This is where you ask, “What do I want, what do I need, and what do I have?” but you have satisfied the need which is the crunch and hand-to-mouth feel. 

Whatever scenario plays out, the point is you have brought mindfulness to it.  That alone sometimes is enough to stop the chatter in its tracks.  If you are hungry EAT.  Putting a pause between thinking of the food and reaching for the food is sometimes enough to realize you are not hungry and you are thinking of food out of habit.  

18:34.       This week’s VFO (Valuable Free Offer) 

This week’s VFO is “Working with Your Hunger Scale.”  Friends, please download this booklet if you have not already done so. Out of everything I have given you in Season 1 of this podcast, this is the most valuable offer. It gives you the essential key to getting out of diet prison. I hope you have learned a lot this season, but if nothing else, I hope you come away with knowing when you are hungry and knowing when you have had enough. This key is going to be instrumental as we move forward in Season 2, which starts in January. Don’t just download and read the guide. From here on, at least once a day when it is time to eat, I want you to put a number to your hunger level. Then, when you are done eating, I want you to identify that level as well. No matter what eating style you decide to go with, the secret to never ever again having to weigh, measure or track your food, comes from knowing these numbers. 

You can download it at As always the direct link is in the show notes and transcript.

 20:00       Some advice for upcoming holidays

Before I talk about next week’s episode, I just want to say that I hope advice, especially about mindfulness and working with your hunger scale, will stick with you especially if you will be with family and friends on Christmas. It can be so easy to get caught up in all the festivities, family and yes, stress, of the holiday. Remember, eat slowly, chew, breathe. Ground yourself for just a few seconds before diving in. Take note of your hunger cues, and your satiety cues as they come up. Enjoy it all. And remember, overeating is not a moral issue. If you need to, listen to Episode 22, Forgiving Ourselves and Moving On. If you are alone and feeling sad, go back to Episode 20 on Triggers, Habits and Emotional Eating. Then listen to Episode 23, Self-Talk and Affirmations and remind yourself to be kind to yourself. I wish you all the best on December 25th, and every day!

 21:18.      Next week's episode

Next week is Season 1 in review. I have covered so much this season – 30 episodes’ worth. I will review the topics of each episode and explore how one ties into another. I have packed a lot of information into this season, all designed to make your roadmap to diet success a little easier because now you know things that I didn’t know when I was struggling on my journey. There are still plenty of detours and struggles, believe me, but at least I am better informed and can make better decisions. I wish the same for you.  Not the detours and struggles, but the ways to find your way. 

 So go share the show with your friends, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Roadmap to Diet Success.

 And, if you like what you hear, please like and subscribe, and remember to leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find the show. Also, don’t be a stranger. Come on over to my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show. Better yet, join my Facebook group page, Roadmap to Diet Success, that I set up especially for my podcast listeners.  You can also email me directly … I would especially like to hear about episode ideas you are interested in.

 Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.

Breaking Free From Diet Prison Book
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Course
THIS WEEK'S VFO:  Using your Hunger Scale
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Facebook page
Roadmap To Diet Success Instagram
Cedars-Sinai article

Joseph Nelson's article