Mindful vs. Intuitive Eating

What in the actual fork is the difference between mindful and intuitive eating?  My guess is you have heard these terms used interchangeably.   They both hold their own qualities and serve their own purpose, but these ideas also work well together if you aren’t sure if mindful or intuitive eating is more your style.  In this post, I’ll give a rundown of the general gist of each method to help aid in making the decision of which one is best in the battle of mindful vs intuitive eating.

Keep in mind that this is more of a summary of each method.  I have a separate post that goes in depth of both mindful eating and intuitive eating that I will link.  Before we dive in, it’s important to understand that these two methods are not diets.  In fact, they teach you to enjoy food without, stress, worry and guilt. 

White plate filled with salad filled with delicious toppings. This could be an option when applying intuitive eating to your life.

Deprivation is Detrimental

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I don’t believe in diet culture.  The fad diets we’ve all been subject to at some point in our life, restrict us from eating certain foods.  While obtainable for a short time, these are never solutions that are feasible long-term.  I have a motto – deprivation is detrimental.  When our bodies are deprived of foods, our bodies generate intense cravings.  These cravings lead to binging followed by feelings of guilt and failure.  Eventually, the diet gets slid under the rug until the next fad rolls around.  

Diet culture has also fed us with the notion that we need to be super model skinny to be happy.  This is just not feasible. Diet culture has taught us to obsess over the number on the scale, rather than how we look and feel.  Diet culture tells us cake is bad and to feel shamed if we eat it. 

It’s important to shift the way we think about food and our overall well-being.  We were born with natural instincts. Both mindful and intuitive eating teach us tools to give us the ability to tune into what our body tells us. They welcome all foods, including cookies. So let’s get in the ring and see which one wins the battle between mindful vs intuitive eating.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is taking the time to bring awareness to your meals in the present moment and eating with intention and purpose.   Pay attention to what physical sensations are you literally feeling as you eat your meal.

The ideology behind it is to cut out the distractions, and literally put the fork down between bites.  If mindful eating requires you to be fully present in your meal eating experience, it’s important to do these things.

Slowing down brings an awareness and allows you to be intentional with the task at hand…eating.  Tune into your five senses.  What are they telling you about your food?  Awareness about how you feel while eating gives you a deeper connection to your body and teaches you things you may have missed otherwise.  

Related post: What is Mindful Eating?

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is based on 10 principals that challenge our perception around food that diet culture has ingrained in our heads.  In order to fully embrace intuitive eating, it’s imperative to reject diet culture.  Open the mind to new ideas that there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” foods. 

Tune into your hunger cues and listen to the natural instincts your body tells you.  In short, when you’re hungry, you generally listen.  When you are full, it’s important to listen.  Nonetheless, in those instances, you do in fact over-indulge, be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.  Take note of how you feel, and consider it a lesson learned.

Movement is encouraged.  It doesn’t have to be intense movement.  The significance of this is to teach us how good we can feel when we move.  The proof is in the pudding.  It’s been proven that moving, even going for a walk, can reduce our stress and anxiety and improve our mood and brain function. 

Over time, without realizing it, our bodies begin to crave the movement and the nutritious foods that we have sub-consciously taught it to favor.  Wait, what!?  You mean my sub-conscious mind will tell me things?  You bet!  You will crave the nutrient-filled foods when you aren’t depriving of the sweet and salty snacks you love so much!

Related post: What is Intuitive Eating?

Mindfully Intuitive Eating – The perfect match 

What I love about these are the characteristics each method brings to the table.  You may also notice that some of the philosophy behind them is similar as well.  If you can’t decide which fits your lifestyle best, do both!  I call it being mindfully intuitive.

Intertwine both approaches. Create a personalized method that works for you.  In the end, you need to be happy.  You need to re-train your brain and the relationship you have with food.  The principals and ideology’s give you the tools needed to tune into your body and what it’s telling you. 

In reality, mindful eating requires much more attention than our busy schedules allow for.  I mean, unless you don’t have kids – young ones at least – this is going to be challenging.  However, there are great lessons we can learn from mindful eating.


When comparing mindful vs intuitive eating, you can’t go wrong with either approach.  The idea is to learn your body and its natural instincts.   Listen to what it’s telling you.  Be mindful and intuitive.  Let me know which method you favor. 

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