Intuitive eating and weight loss? Is it the “anti-diet” you’ve been waiting for?

Whether you want to lose weight or eat better, there are a lot of diets out there vying for your attention. Keto? Whole30? Plant-based?

If all of the options have your head spinning (same), I’ve got just the thing for you. This diet actually isn’t a ~diet~ at all—but it can still help you with your eating goals. It’s called intuitive eating, and it’s a movement that’s gaining major followers.

What is Intuitive Eating?

On a basic level, intuitive eating is all about getting in touch with body cues (like hunger and fullness) and learning to trust your body when it comes to food, explains nutritionist Keri Gans, RD.

• There are no restrictions or forbidden foods; just an effort for you to eat well, feel healthier, and enjoy food more.

• For many people, the traditional diet approach leads to nothing more than years and years of weight loss and weight gain and a negative relationship with food and their body image. Intuitive eating takes a different approach.

• Clearly, there’s something to it. Instagram is filled with comments from people who rave about how intuitive eating has helped them stop obsessing over their weight, quit binge-eating, and end feelings of guilt around food.

Of course, there’s a little more to making this whole intuitive eating thing work. Here’s what you need to know about the eating approach—and how to make it work for you.

Is Intuitive Eating the Key to Weight Loss?

As the name suggests, intuitive eating is all about following your own innate intuition. Can intuitive eating and weight loss go hand in hand?

“The biggest difference between intuitive eating and diets—or ‘lifestyle changes’—is the focus on internal signals and cues rather than external rules,” says a well-known nutritionist.

“Intuitive eating uses feelings of hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and body knowledge to dictate eating choices in the moment. Traditional diets, meanwhile, use external factors like nutrient counts, calories, or food groups to plan food ahead of time without room for flexibility.”

While you can lose weight by following an intuitive eating approach, it’s not necessarily the goal. Instead, the goal with intuitive eating is to foster a healthier, happier approach to food.

Does Intuitive Eating Work Better than Dieting?

Yes, it sounds very simple—but it definitely takes work to achieve.

• We’re all born knowing how to listen to our body’s hunger and satiety signals but, as we go through life, our natural intuition is blunted on so many levels, says nutritionist Karen Ansel, RD.

• As children, adults are constantly feeding us snacks, whether we’re hungry or not; we’re told to finish our meals even though our bodies may be perfectly well-nourished; we’re rewarded with food for good behavior.

• At the same time, we’re told that hunger is an emergency, even though it’s a completely natural sensation, just like being tired.

Click here to read more about intuitive eating and weight loss.