Review: Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First and foremost, this is not a "diet" book and it's not a book to resolve issues about your unhappiness with your weight, per se. That's made evident repeatedly throughout the book that their goal is not to help you lose weight. That, I think is one of the book's most powerful and important messages and hope that others will understand what they are trying to do.  The entire framework of the book settles on the belief (and mounting evidence) that part of the problem with body image, eating disorders, and feeling unhealthy in our bodies stems in part from a loss of listening to our bodies express what they need and acting on it.  The authors draw out a wide range of ways this happens, emphasizing the issues through specific anecdotes and research. The book contains a lot and definitely recommend taking it in (get ready for a bad pun) small bites. Each chapter tackles a different facet of the problems and approaches to unpack the confusing messages we get about food.  At its center, the authors hope to empower readers (or listeners) to take a bit more time to understand their own internalized messages about food and eating, begin to unlearn them and develop a trust and relationship with themselves to understand what their body needs and how to meet it appropriately.  One lesson that was most poignant for me was the scarcity mindset that I have with food, wherein I feel compelled to eat something and eat it as much as possible because there may not be more. As an adult with reasonable means, this is not a logical thought, but it is something that clearly sits within me.  Naming this idea and allowing me to be aware of the idea that this is what is going on in my head was more than worth listening to the entire book (though there were many other useful elements from this book, to be clear!). The book is really useful in helping to name things and identify the thinking behind why and how we might eat more (or less) than our body needs.  However, two small critiques of the book. Some research they use is from research that is currently under question as part of the larger replication crisis in some of the social sciences--I am interested to see if in a new edition, how adjusting their writing in light of this, what changes.  The other issue is that while it is not a "diet book", it falls into the trap of all diet books which is, it argues that it is the one-solution-to-solve-all-things. That is, it provides no solid discussion about who this might not be ideal for or why it cannot work for everyone. Still, the book has a lot of great insight that I found valuable and recommend it strongly to others.

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