Intuitive Eating 101: What Does It Mean to Be “Intuitive?”



As an EDIT-certified recovery coach, I know that your intuition is instrumental in overcoming disordered eating. EDIT stands for “Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy” for a reason: your intuition is the part of you that allows you to reject societal beauty standards and diet culture messaging, and reconnect with your own values and inner wisdom.


It’s imperative that you are able to access your intuition in order to let go of eating disorder beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve you. However, many times, my clients have been living an “outer-guided” life dictated by diet culture for so long, and are so out of touch with their body’s intuition, that they have no idea where to start.


So what, exactly, does it mean to be intuitive – and how do you lean into your intuition in a society that tells us to ignore our inner wisdom in favor of fad diets and intense exercise programs? Here’s how I help my clients rediscover their intuition using the EDIT method, and begin leading a life that better aligns with their most important values.

What is Your Intuition?

Our intuition shows up every day, in every choice we make, in every area of our lives. Some of us might refer to it as a gut feeling: it’s the instinctive inner voice that tells us “yes, this is a good idea!” or “no, this isn’t right for me.”


Intuition is a whole-person experience. Our mind, body, and spirit each play a role:


In the mind: We might have automatic thoughts, like “what a great idea!” or “oh no, this spells trouble.”

In the body: We might get a physical feeling when something isn’t right, like a queasy stomach or an achy head.

In the spirit: We might even have a sense that a higher power is guiding or influencing our decisions, ensuring we’re following the right path.

“Inner-Guided” vs. “Outer-Guided” Decision-Making

Sometimes, we get a “gut feeling” that we should take a particular action – for example, we might have a “good feeling” about accepting a job offer across the country. But our intuition doesn’t always determine the choices we make: we might also weigh external influences, such as our friends’ and family’s opinions or societal messaging about what we’re “supposed” to do, when making our final decision.


Take the previous example about taking a job in a new state. Even if our intuition says “yes,” we might still have reservations related to external influences:


In the mind: We might worry incessantly about what could go wrong. “What if I miss my hometown? What if I can’t bring all my belongings with me? What if my friends don’t stay in touch?”

In the body: We might get nauseous and lightheaded when worrying what our family members will say to us about the move. These symptoms are likely caused by anxiety, but we might confuse them with our intuition.

In the spirit: We might wonder if the anxiety we’re experiencing is a “sign” that we aren’t meant to make this decision, after all.


While we originally had a “good feeling” about accepting the job offer and making the move, our worries might get the best of us, and we may ultimately decide that it’s a bad idea. This is an “outer-guided” choice influenced by external factors, such as what our family and friends will say or do – whereas if we had listened to our intuition and taken the job, this could be described as an “inner-guided” choice made solely for ourselves.

Your Intuition in Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating disorders are either perpetuated or healed by dozens of tiny little decisions we make throughout our day. These decisions may be “inner-guided” – such as the decision to eat a snack when we are hungry, despite the eating disorder thoughts telling us not to – or “outer-guided” – like the decision to burn off dinner at the gym because a so-called friend said we looked like we had gained weight recently.


According to the EDIT method, disordered eating contradicts our body’s innate wisdom – a.k.a. our intuition. Eating disorders are inherently “outer-guided,” influenced by diet culture and other external messaging we’ve received about our bodies.


In order to overcome disordered eating, we have to learn to let go of other people’s opinions and reconnect with our intuition. From a holistic, whole-person perspective, this looks like:


In the mind: We might recognize disordered thoughts as belonging to our “eating disorder” voice, rather than our “intuitive” inner voice, and choose to ignore those thoughts if they are not supportive to our recovery.

In the body: We might observe hunger cues such as a growling stomach, lightheadedness, and shaky hands and decide that it is time to eat a meal, even if our mind says we haven’t “earned it” today.

In the spirit: We might choose to take care of our body – because even if we don’t love the way we look, we accept that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that a higher power created us to look this way for a reason.


The EDIT Method is an intuitive way to heal from disordered eating. By separating your “eating disorder” voice from your “intuitive therapist” voice, EDIT can help you reconnect with your intuition and make more inner-guided decisions from the mind, body, and spirit.


Mini-Exercise

Reflect: Can you think of a major decision you made where you listened to your intuition (“inner-guided”)? Can you think of a different time when you allowed yourself to be influenced by others instead (“outer-guided”)? Reflect on the differences between these two decisions and what you can learn from them. Are there certain situations where you are more likely to abandon your intuition versus honor it?


Honor Your Intuition with the EDIT Method!


As an EDIT-certified recovery coach, I help individuals struggling with eating disorders or chronic dieting achieve a full recovery by rejecting diet culture and rediscovering their intuition. Reach out today at nikki@liveedfree.com to learn more about personalized recovery coaching!


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