Mindful Eating Vs Intuitive Eating: Is There a Difference?

Mindful eating and intuitive eating seem to go together, but there are some key differences in these two approaches to eating that I will talk about in this article. In my own life, I prefer to use a mindful approach. I think that mindfulness is the key to living a healthy life, and the benefits of mindful eating are amazing.

I will get into these benefits in this article and why I think everyone should learn how to mindfully eat! So, let’s get started on the differences between mindful eating vs intuitive eating.

What Is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is…

  1. First about deciding to eat in a way that leads you into the direction that you want your life to go. That means having a deep awareness about what foods you put into your body and if they serve you on your path.
  2. Accepting that eating experiences are sometimes positive and can also be negative when we eat from a reactionary state to satisfy an emotional need.
  3. About making your choices without judgment or punishment of yourself.
  4. Having a beginner’s mind surrounding food and how we eat, nourish, enjoy the experience. Having a beginner’s mind simply means, that each time you step into an experience you decide to look at it as if it were the first time.
  5. Eating with a deep appreciation for the opportunity to nourish the body, to tune into your inner wisdom, and having respect for your life’s journey.

Is Intuitive Eating Different Than Mindful Eating?

Intuitive eating is different than mindful eating in a few ways.

When you are intuitively eating you are relying solely on the inner voice to tell you what to do in the moment. This can be powerful, but it can also be overwhelming and can put a lot of pressure on the need to always know instinctively what you should or should not want to eat.

In mindful eating I like to teach that there is more structure surrounding what you eat and when you eat. But, you get to decide what this is based on your own needs, body, and life journey.

Instead of the focus being “diet culture” driven, the focus is on boundaries for what we know to be unhealthy for us. We are better able to take our energy off of what and how to eat in general and be able to put that energy in other places in our lives.

This is really important when we think about trying to find joy and contentment. When we mindfully eat and our habits become intentional, then that energy we have that is typically used to decipher, contemplate, and stress over is free to be put elsewhere!

Hopefully this energy can be put to work in our lives in ways that bring us peace and happiness.

Mindful Eating Vs Intuitive Eating: What’s The Same?

There are several similarities when looking at mindful eating vs intuitive eating. I think the two approaches to food are mostly similar at their core ideas.

In both mindful eating and intuitive eating there is no need to count calories, macros, points, or weigh your food. They are anti-diet and anti-diet culture. Diets don’t work, and at the root of mindful eating and intuitive eating it is about letting go of the diet mentality and the race to be thinner.

Intuitive eating and mindful eating are both about having a deep connection and alignment with the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. This means that each decision we make surrounding food is about staying true to our health in all aspects – not just to lose weight.

These two approaches to eating are both about empowerment and acceptance. It is really about choosing what is best for you in the present moment, and learning to listen to yourself.

So often the premise of a diet is about doing the steps of a diet without taking into consideration all the complexities that accompany eating. We each are unique, we each have foods and ingredients that our bodies like and dislike.

Our connection to food and our bodies are each different based off of our previous experiences. If we learn to understand that there is no one size fits all way of eating, then we can open ourselves up to be more understanding of our bodies.

Both of these methods of eating were created to liberate you, and to allow your best health to be at the forefront over how you look. I like to say, mindful eating is about how I feel in body and how can I feel healthy, strong, joyful, and content.

Mindful eating and intuitive eating are both about honoring your inner voice.

What Are The Biggest Differences Between Mindful Eating and Intuitive Eating?

In my personal opinion, the biggest difference between intuitive eating and mindful eating is the approach to what to eat.

I find that mindful eating also involves being selective about the ingredients and types of foods that you put into your body. This is especially important for foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body, cause hormonal disruption, deplete our energy, and overall hurt our health.

When I practice mindful eating, I consciously and deliberately make the decision to not have these certain foods in my diet. This never feels restrictive. Instead, by making the decision to put my health first, I am being intentional with my decision on what to eat and what not to eat.

In intuitive eating, many people will teach that we should not restrict any foods from our diet and instead depend on the intuition and body cues to tell us if and when we should have a certain type of food. While this is a great thing to listen to our inner wisdom, there are certain foods that scientifically we know do not keep us healthy.

By understanding the science behind food, we can make informed decisions about foods that have no place in our health journey. For me, the biggest distinction between mindful eating vs intuitive eating is in the decision to remove certain foods or ingredients versus not removing them.

Mindful Eating Benefits

Below you will find a list of seven different benefits of mindful eating.

  1. Feeling full with less food
  2. Not judging our health based on diet culture – “good and bad foods”
  3. Tuning into how our bodies feel and less about a certain number on a scale
  4. Learning what foods our bodies tolerate, enjoy, and function our best on
  5. Eating until nourished and satisfied – breaking the habits of “cleaning our plates” or “eating because it’s there”
  6. Becoming less wasteful with our food
  7. Being more in tune to how everything we do including our thoughts, our eating habits, and the words we speak all connect to our quality of life

Full With Less Food

Before I learned to eat mindfully I was constantly thinking about food. I often binged on foods that I loved, restricted them the next day, and then repeated the process. I used to feel hungry a lot of the time, even though I was eating way more food on a “diet” than I do now as a mindful eater.

I used to eat until I was overfull. I would often “clean my plate” and eat everything on it even when I was already satisfied with my food. It was learning to listen to my body that helped me eat until I felt good. Many times that means I eat less than I used to and I still feel much less hungry.

The truth is when you remove foods that cause disruption like hormonal imbalance, poor sleep, and irritability, your body starts functioning at it’s best. When our bodies are working optimally, we need less food and we often fill satisfied with less.

You can get my FREE 3-day hormonal balance diet plan and try out how I like to eat.

Mindful eating often causes you to eat less, because your emphasis is on what is in what you eat and if what you are eating is taking you In the right direction. It is intentional.

When our energy is directed toward the things we love and how to feel our best, and less on how much we eat, then we are more aware of when we are hungry or satisfied typically causing us to eat less.

Removing the Idea of “Good” & “Bad” Foods

Labeling many times is the root cause of diet culture. Instead of saying I have been good or bad, I like to ask myself – “how do you feel?”

If I don’t feel great, then I know I need to look at the foods that I have eaten, and the practices I have been keeping, and make a change. It is not about judging yourself, but instead about always making little adjustments so you are on the path that feels the best to you.

Let Go of the Scale

Being at a healthy weight is important, but focusing on happiness at a certain number is detrimental to your mental and emotional health. When I stopped focusing on if I was at a certain number, but instead I concentrated on how I felt in body, I actually lost weight!

This is because I focused on feeling my best, then it was easier to continue the habits that kept me in that state.

Mindful eating vs intuitive eating.

Find the Foods That Work Best For You

When you do an elimination diet, you remove known allergens and inflammation causing foods. Then, you add them back in and see how your body responds. And, I teach you exactly how to do this in my Mindful Elimination program.

Learning that my gut pain, skin irritation, poor sleep habits, and low energy were connected to eating soy – changed my entire life! There is no one “diet” that works for everyone.

Instead, I teach people to get to know their bodies like never before to figure out what foods work best for them and their bodies.

Should I Try Mindful Eating?

My short answer is always a big fat YES! Mindful eating has changed my life in so many ways.

It does not seem that an anti-diet would cause you to lose weight, but it does. However, that is not really why I recommend and love mindful eating.

Mindful eating keeps me focused on what really matters – that I am healthy, that I am always moving my life into the direction I want it to go, and that I am fulfilled. When I dieted I always felt deprived, I felt I was missing out, and I felt extremely critical of myself.

Mindful eating is about taking the emphasis of food away from your weight or size, and about how to be the best person you can be. It is about deep understanding and awareness of who you are. It will not only change the way you eat, but it will change the way you look at the world.

If you haven’t tried mindful eating, then please join me in the journey! I teach a 40-day program that teaches you how to change the way you look at food forever.

Most of my clients do lose weight, some have lost 13 pounds in the first 30 days! But, what it is really about is changing your relationship with food and learning to remove foods that cause bloating, fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and a sluggish, unhealthy body.

We start by changing the way we eat, and then we learn to tune into our intuition to help us know how to intentionally decide what to eat and what not to eat. If you have ever struggled with diets or body image – mindful eating can help you.

If you know that you should feel better than you do, then I can help you remove foods from your diet that may be wreaking havoc on your body.

Check out my Mindful Eating program, or if you are just not ready for that grab my FREE 3-day hormonal balance diet plan. After teaching in small groups and privately in person for years, I have finally taken it completely online. You can start the program at any time on your own!

There are differences between mindful eating vs intuitive eating, and understanding them can be important to your success with either program.

Most importantly ditching diet culture and approaching food in a new way can really help you find the mind and body alignment that will help you live more content and happy.

Mindful eating and living mindfully are the first steps in living the life that you have always wanted for yourself.