Why is Intuitive Eating So Challenging?!

Intuitive Eating Challenging Permission Stage.png

If there’s anything I’ve learned about intuitive eating from my own journey, my clinical experience and from my community it is this: intuitive eating can be really challenging.

It is a way of eating that sounds super easy and fun (which I promise it will be, one day!) but getting there can be quite the opposite…

Over and over again, I consistently here from you that intuitive eating is challenging because of the permission stage.


I totally get it, it's where I struggled, too. Just like you, I also took three steps back when I tried giving myself undeniable permission to eat all foods, years ago when I first tried to eat intuitively.

Let's be real, it is scary as hell to give yourself total, complete, unconditional permission to eat all foods. Not only that, but I often find when we enter into the permission stage we feel "out of control" around food and often overeat or binge eat on those foods we have deemed off limits for so, so long.

If there's one tip I can give you today it is this: do not let fear stop you from entering the permission stage. Do not worry if you feel out of control around food. Do not feel you are doing it wrong or messing it up.  You cannot mess up intuitive eating, there is no right or wrong way to approach it.

If you can give yourself the unconditional permission to eat all foods, you will notice that over time, that "out of control" feeling around those once off-limit foods will slowly begin to dissipate, and you'll be able to tune in to what truly satisfies  you and what does not. In the beginning though, anything and everything will sound amazing and it may possibly be hard to stop eating. It is okay. Trust yourself that your body will find equilibrium in time. Your body wants homeostasis. It does not want to be all or nothing around food. It is diet culture that has led us to believe that we need external sources, meal plans and calorie counts to find homeostasis. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The permission stage is a combination of the Intuitive Eating principles reject the diet mentality, make peace with food, challenge the food police and even a little bit of discover the satisfaction factor. Refer back to those chapters in the book or workbook when this stage challenges you. Use support groups such as our Nourishing Women Community to reach out for loving guidance. And if you find this stage is being particularly challenging, bringing up emotional distress or you are unable to enter it on your own know that we are here to support you.

My last thought for you today is this: intuitive eating is challenging, for a reason. Diet culture runs deep. Old ED patterns are hard to break. The thought of letting go of dieting can make you feel that you’ve lost control of yourself. It brings up a lot emotionally, and can be really challenging to take on all by yourself. I really, really want you to know that intuitive eating is challenging in the beginning and because of that- I want you to not fear reaching out for help. We all need a little extra support from time to time. If you are extra fearful of the permission stage, please know the process can go so much smoother and quicker with support. You do not have to go through this alone.

Tell me: What has been your experience with giving yourself permission to eat all foods? What holds you back?

More blog posts and podcast episodes on intuitive eating:

How to Reconnect to Your Body and Honor Your Hunger

Practicing Intuitive Eating in a World Obsessed with Dieting

Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size are Not Anti-Health

How to Finally Give Up Dieting for Good

NWP Episode 105: Intuitive Eating Principles Part 1

NWP Episode 106: Intuitive Eating Principles Part 2

Victoria Myers