young lady eats sandwich with spread and salad symbol of issue mindful eating vs intuitive eating

Mindful Eating vs Intuitive Eating: Your New Relationship with Food

Welcome to the world of mindful eating vs intuitive eating, two revolutionary approaches that are reshaping our understanding of nutrition and well-being.

Are you constantly worried about what you eat? Do you feel guilty after indulging in your favorite foods? It’s time to break free from the shackles of diet culture and embrace a healthier relationship with food.

These non-diet strategies emphasize mindfulness, peace with food, and a focus on your body’s natural cues.

This article will delve into the core principles of both approaches, their similarities and differences, and the benefits they offer.

We’ll also explore how you can incorporate these practices into your daily life, whether you’re dealing with overeating, emotional eating, or simply looking for a healthier relationship with food.

So, are you ready to embark on this journey of self-discovery and transformation? Let’s tuck in!

Table of Contents

Mindful Eating vs Intuitive Eating: Core Principles

What Is Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a practice that involves being present, non-judgmental, and aware of your senses when eating.

The core principles of mindful eating include paying attention to the food you are consuming, acknowledging the sensations in your body, and avoiding distractions while eating.

One of the main goals of mindful eating is to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the food you consume by savoring each bite. This means taking time to chew slowly and mindfully, focusing on the taste, texture, and aroma of each bite.

By practicing mindful eating regularly, you can develop a greater sense of awareness around your relationship with food. This awareness can help you identify patterns in your eating habits that may be contributing to overeating or unhealthy food choices.

What Is Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is another approach to nutrition that focuses on listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues rather than external rules or restrictions.

The core principles of intuitive eating include rejecting diet culture, making peace with food, respecting your body’s needs, and finding joy in movement.

Unlike traditional diets that rely on strict calorie counting or macronutrient tracking, intuitive eating encourages individuals to trust their bodies’ natural signals for hunger and fullness.

This means learning how to recognize when you are hungry and when you are full so that you can nourish yourself appropriately.

Intuitive eaters also learn how to distinguish between physical hunger (i.e., true biological need for sustenance) versus emotional hunger (i.e., using food as a coping mechanism).

By becoming more attuned to their bodies’ signals for hunger and fullness, individuals who practice intuitive eating can develop healthier relationships with food over time.

The Similarities Between Mindful Eating vs Intuitive Eating

Paying Attention to Hunger Cues

Both mindful eating and intuitive eating emphasize the importance of paying attention to hunger cues.

Rather than relying on external cues like calorie counting or diet plans, both approaches encourage individuals to tune into their bodies and recognize when they are truly hungry.

Listening to Inner Cues

In addition to recognizing hunger cues, both mindful eating and intuitive eating prioritize listening to inner cues rather than external ones.

This means that instead of following strict meal plans or diets, individuals are encouraged to eat what feels right for them in the moment.

Enjoyment of Food and Savoring Tastes

Both approaches also promote the enjoyment of food and savoring tastes.

Rather than feeling guilty about indulging in certain foods, individuals are encouraged to appreciate the flavors and textures of what they’re eating.

Tuning into Feelings of Fullness

Mindful eating and intuitive eating also prioritize tuning into feelings of fullness and stopping eating when satisfied.

This means that individuals are encouraged to eat until they feel comfortably full rather than overeating or restricting themselves.

Significant Overlap Between Approaches

There is significant overlap between mindful eating and intuitive eating, with many experts considering mindful eating as a component of intuitive eating.

Both approaches emphasize the importance of being present in the moment while eating, avoiding distractions such as screens or work while consuming meals.

The Differences Between Mindful vs Intuitive Eating

Mindful Eating vs Intuitive Eating: What’s the Difference?

Mindful eating and intuitive eating are two approaches to food that focus on being present in the moment while eating. While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences between the two.

Mindful eating is about paying attention to your senses while you eat. This means focusing on the taste, texture, and smell of your food, as well as how it makes you feel physically and emotionally. It involves being fully present in the moment and savoring each bite.

In contrast, intuitive eating is about listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. It’s about tuning in to what your body needs and wants, rather than relying on external cues like calorie counts or portion sizes.

Key Differences Between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating


  • Mindful eating emphasizes the sensory experience of food.
  • Intuitive eating focuses on internal cues such as hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.


  • Mindful eating can be used as a tool for weight management.
  • Intuitive eating is more focused on overall well-being and body acceptance.


  • Mindful eating may involve structured practices such as meditation or mindful breathing.
  • Intuitive eating is more flexible and individualized.

While both mindful eating and intuitive eating can help promote a healthier relationship with food, they approach this goal from different angles.

For example, if you struggle with emotional overeating or mindless snacking throughout the day, practicing mindfulness while you eat could help you become more aware of these habits so that you can make changes.

On the other hand, if you struggle with chronic dieting or disordered eating patterns, learning to trust your body’s internal cues through intuitive eating may be more helpful.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Benefits of Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating

Enjoy Your Food More

Mindful eating and intuitive eating can help you enjoy your food more.

When you’re not distracted by external factors like TV or work, and instead focus on the taste, texture, and smell of your food, you’ll be able to savor every bite.

This can lead to a greater appreciation for the food you’re eating and a more enjoyable meal experience.

Increased Satisfaction with Meals

Both approaches can lead to increased satisfaction with meals.

When you eat mindfully or intuitively, you’re paying attention to your body’s hunger signals and eating until you feel satisfied rather than full.

This means that you’ll feel more content after meals because you’ve given your body what it needs without overdoing it.

Tune in to Your Body’s Hunger and Fullness Signals

Mindful eating and intuitive eating can help you tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals.

By paying attention to how hungry or full you are before, during, and after meals, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about when to eat and how much.

Reduce Overeating

These approaches can help reduce overeating by encouraging awareness of physical hunger cues versus emotional triggers that may cause us to eat unnecessarily.

By practicing mindful or intuitive eating, we learn how our bodies communicate their needs through sensations like hunger pangs or feelings of fullness – which helps us avoid overeating.

Promote a Healthier Relationship with Food

Practicing mindful or intuitive eating may lead to improved overall well-being by promoting a healthier relationship with food.

When we pay attention to our bodies’ signals rather than relying on external cues like calorie counts or societal norms around dieting, we become more attuned with what our individual bodies need for optimal health.

Mindful Eating and Diabetes

In his article, published in Diabetes Spectrum, Joseph B. Nelson (aka Mindful Joe) discusses mindful eating and its potential benefits, particularly for individuals with diabetes.

The article suggests that mindful eating can help individuals manage chronic conditions like diabetes by changing their overall approach to eating.

It emphasizes that behavior change is crucial for any diet or eating plan to be effective in the long term. Mindful eating, being a process-oriented behavior, can potentially facilitate this behavior change.

Mindful Eating for Beginners

Imagine you’re eating your favorite snack:

  • Instead of just eating it quickly while doing something else, you really pay attention to it.
  • You notice how it tastes, smells, and feels in your mouth.
  • You’re not worried about anything else, just enjoying your snack.

This is what mindful eating is all about.

So, why is this a good thing? Well, mindful eating can help you really enjoy your food. It can make eating a fun and interesting experience. Plus, it can help you understand your eating habits better.

For example, you might notice that you tend to eat really quickly when you’re stressed. Knowing this, you can try to find other ways to deal with stress.

Or, you might find out that you’re not really hungry, but you’re eating because you’re bored. Again, you can use this information to change your habits.

So, mindful eating is not just about eating. It’s about understanding yourself better and enjoying your food more. It’s like turning mealtime into a cool moment of discovery and enjoyment!

How Mindful Eating Works and How It Can Work with Intuitive Eating

How Does Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating Work?

Mindful eating works by bringing awareness to the experience of eating. It involves chewing food slowly, savoring each bite, and noticing how different foods make you feel.

Intuitive eating involves paying attention to hunger cues so you can tune into your body’s signals for hunger and fullness.

Mindful eating also involves becoming aware of emotional triggers that lead to overeating or unhealthy food choices:

  • When we are stressed or anxious, we may turn to food as a (negative) coping mechanism.
  • By practicing mindful eating, we can identify these triggers and learn healthier ways to cope with our emotions.

Complementing Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a philosophy that encourages individuals to trust their body’s internal cues for hunger and fullness. Mindful eating can complement intuitive eating by helping individuals become more attuned to these cues.

By practicing mindful eating regularly, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of their hunger and fullness signals. They can also learn how different foods affect their energy levels and overall well-being.

This knowledge can help them make more intentional choices about what, when, and how they eat.

Making Mindful Eating Work for You

If you’re interested in trying mindful eating, here are some tips:

  • Start small: Begin by setting aside 10-15 minutes for a mindful eating experience each day.
  • Eat without distractions: Enhance your eating experience by turning off the TV or putting away your phone while you eat.
  • Pay attention: Notice how the food tastes, smells, feels in your mouth, and how it makes you feel.

Incorporating Mindful and Intuitive Eating into Your Life

Ways to incorporate mindful and intuitive eating into your daily practice

Mindful and intuitive eating are both practices that can help you develop a healthier relationship with food.

Here are some ways you can incorporate these practices into your daily life:

  • Take a few deep breaths before starting each meal or snack.
  • Turn off any distractions (TV, phone) while eating.
  • Chew slowly and savor each bite.
  • Use all five senses to fully experience the food.
  • Stop when you feel satisfied, not stuffed.

Techniques for practicing mindful eating with different types of foods

Practicing mindful eating can be challenging with certain types of foods, such as sweets or fast food.

However, it is possible to apply these techniques to any type of food:

  • For sweets: Try taking small bites and letting them dissolve in your mouth. Pay attention to the sweetness and texture.
  • For fast food: Take a moment before digging in to notice the smells and colors of the food. Eat slowly and take breaks between bites.

Tips for people who struggle with overeating or emotional eating

If you struggle with overeating or emotional eating, incorporating mindfulness and intuition into your diet may be especially beneficial.

Here are some tips:

  • Check in with yourself before reaching for food – are you actually hungry?
  • Notice how different emotions affect your appetite.
  • Practice self-care activities like yoga or meditation instead of turning to food.

Mindful eating for kids

When we talk about mindful eating, we’re talking about being present and aware of what we’re eating and how it makes us feel.

Intuitive eating says it’s important to pay attention to our hunger cues and eat when we’re hungry, not just because food is available or because we’re bored.

Mindful eating also means taking time to savor our food, enjoying the flavors and textures. When we rush through a meal, we don’t give our bodies time to register that we’re full, which can lead to overeating.

By teaching kids about mindful eating, we can help them develop a healthy relationship with food. They’ll learn to listen to their bodies and make choices based on what their bodies need, rather than what they think they should eat.

This can help prevent overeating and unhealthy habits later in life.

Additionally, when kids are taught to appreciate the taste and texture of food, they’re more likely to try new things and develop a diverse palate.

So, let’s start teaching our kids about mindful eating and set them up for a lifetime of healthy habits!

Choosing the Right Approach for You – Mindful or Intuitive Eating

In conclusion, both mindful and intuitive eating have their own set of core principles, similarities, differences, and benefits.

  • Mindful eating emphasizes being present in the moment while eating and paying attention to physical hunger cues, whereas
  • Intuitive eating focuses on trusting your body’s natural signals and rejecting diet culture.

The key takeaway is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It ultimately depends on what works best for you and your lifestyle. However, incorporating both approaches can be beneficial as they complement each other well.

To start incorporating mindful and intuitive eating into your life, try implementing small changes such as slowing down while eating, tuning in to your body’s hunger and fullness signals, and rejecting the idea of “good” or “bad” foods.

Remember to prioritize your overall health and well-being over strict diets or restrictive food rules. Listen to your body’s needs and trust yourself.

FAQs on Mindful and Intuitive Eating

1. Can I lose weight with mindful or intuitive eating?

While weight loss is not the primary focus of either approach, some people may naturally lose weight as a result of becoming more in tune with their bodies’ needs.

2. Is it okay to indulge in my favorite foods with these approaches?

Yes! Both mindful and intuitive eating emphasize getting rid of restrictive food rules and allowing yourself to enjoy all types of foods in moderation.

3. Do I need a nutritionist or dietician to practice these approaches?

While consulting with a professional can be helpful for some individuals, it is not necessary for everyone. The principles behind mindful and intuitive eating are simple enough for anyone to incorporate into their daily lives.

4. How long does it take to see results from practicing these approaches?

Results vary from person to person but focusing on overall health rather than quick fixes can lead to sustainable changes in the long run.

Further Reading: Experts on Mindful and Intuitive Eating

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

He is a well-known figure in the field of mindfulness and has written several books on the topic.

Kabat-Zinn’s work has been influential in the integration of mindfulness practices into mainstream medicine and society.

Elyse Resch

Elyse Resch is a nutrition therapist, author, and speaker. She is known for her work in the field of nutrition and eating disorder treatment.

Resch is one of the co-authors of the book “Intuitive Eating,” which promotes a balanced and compassionate approach to food and body image.

She advocates for the rejection of diet culture and encourages individuals to listen to their bodies’ natural hunger and fullness cues.

Evelyn Tribole

Evelyn Tribole is a registered dietitian, author, and speaker. She is best known for co-authoring the book “Intuitive Eating” with Elyse Resch.

Tribole’s work focuses on helping individuals develop a healthier relationship with food and body image, moving away from diet culture and restrictive eating patterns.

She promotes intuitive eating, which encourages individuals to tune into their body’s natural signals for hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.

About the Author

Jane "Cosmic" Campbell, is the heart and soul of Imperfect Spirituality.

She's been through the spiritual wringer and came out the other side with a degree in Spiritual Psychology and a mission to help others navigate their spiritual journey without getting lost in the cosmic sauce.