Principle 3: Make peace with food

Welcome to day 3 of the IE Principles & Practice series!


Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt. ⁣

I like to describe this as the paradox principle. When you finally have permission to eat, it removes the urgency & excitement. You really get to taste the food, and see how it feels in your body. ⁣


A few things before we dig in. It’s important that you go at your own pace. If you don’t feel ready for any of the following activities, it’s okay. Come back to this when you feel ready.⁣

If you’ve already made peace with food, PLEASE SHARE your experience in the comments. It can really help others, because this is the scariest IE principle for most folks. (Plus I LOVE these overcoming forbidden food stories!!)⁣

  • To practice this principle, I invite you to inventory what foods you currently forbid or restrict. Rank them from scariest to least scary.⁣
  • Next, plan a time to try one of the foods. (I suggest starting with the least scariest food). It’s best if you could do this experiment:⁣ -in a calm environment (if possible)⁣ -a couple of hours after a meal, so that you don’t have primal hunger driving your experience. ⁣
    Before you begin eating, remind yourself that this is a journey of discovery—not pass or fail. Also, come from the perspective of curious, nonjudgmental awareness. Notice, bite by bite—how does this food taste? Am I enjoying it? Does it meet my expectations? Does anything surprise you?⁣
  • If you are further on the Intuitive Eating path, ask yourself: Are there certain foods I feel more comfortable around than others? If so, why might that be?⁣

Please share your experiences!

Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN

Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN is an award-winning registered dietitian, with a nutrition counseling practice in Newport Beach, California. She has written nine books including the bestsellers Healthy Homestyle Cooking and Intuitive Eating(co-author). Her newest book is the Intuitive Eating Workbook:Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food.

1 Comment

Chloe · January 30, 2020 at 9:25 am

I keep thinking I’m done making peace with food. I’ve been doing this about a month and a half. Just when I think I’m done I find another food that I’m compelled to eat a lot of for a while. I’ve been doing some type of restricting on and off for 35 years. So I guess it’s going to take a while before my eating balances out.

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *