As a person with a large body, can I adopt intuitive eating?


Intuitive eating: is it applicable when you suffer from a chronic illness?

To begin with, we would like to clarify that this answer is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have a difficult relationship with food and/or suffer from a chronic illness, we recommend that you consult a nutritionist, who can guide you.
Since intuitive eating is an inclusive approach to weight, you can adopt it regardless of your body size. The question is why you want to change your diet: to improve your health, improve your relationship with food, modify your body, adapt the content of your plate following a new diagnosis of chronic disease, etc.

Most of the time, weight tells us neither about the relationship with food, nor about the quality of the diet, nor about the health of a person. We therefore need much more information to intervene as nutritionists.

If you raised an eyebrow reading the previous paragraph, it may be that you entertain the idea that living in a large body automatically means that the person is not healthy, does not eat adequately or has a relationship. difficult with food. However, this is false.

Some want to adopt intuitive eating in order to lose weight. Diet culture has unfortunately popularized some restrictive variations of this approach. On the other hand, you should know that even if weight loss can happen for some people by following the intuitive diet, it is not a method of weight loss. It is the body itself that decides where its natural weight is (the one at which it is good). Only diets (including “watching” your diet) provide weight loss, albeit temporary most of the time. They cause after a few years for the majority of people a resumption of the lost weight and even more. For some, they even lead to long-term weight gain… That said, your hope of losing weight does not have to prevent you from trying intuitive eating.

In case you want to try this approach because you’re worried about your health, know that changing lifestyle habits (which intuitive eating takes into account!) can improve it regardless of weight. We encourage you to consult our two recently published articles: The link between weight and health: what do we think? and The link between weight and health: does weight loss really contribute to overall health? In summary, living with a fat body does not automatically condemn you to being in bad shape. health and undertaking weight loss does not necessarily lead to better health. For a large number of people, weight loss comes at the expense of the relationship with food and mental health since it results from the restriction. The yoyo effect (the alternation of weight gain and weight loss associated with diets) is linked to risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Not helpful in the long run!

Your concerns for your health can be taken into account in intuitive eating as demonstrated by its tenth principle “Honor your health”.

Regardless of body format, it can also help to have:

  • Better listening to our hunger and satiation signals
  • A decrease in food guilt: by stopping classifying foods as good or bad
  • Improved body image

According to research, this approach is associated with higher self-esteem, a more positive body image and less compulsive eating.

In short, intuitive eating can benefit people of all body sizes. Do not hesitate to make an appointment with one of the nutritionists on our team to start putting the principles of this approach into practice.


Linardon J, Tylka TL, Fuller-Tyszkiewicz M. Intuitive eating and its psychological correlates: A meta-analysis. Int J Eat Disord. 2021 Jul;54(7):1073-1098. doi: 10.1002/eat.23509. Epub 2021 Mar 30. PMID: 33786858.

Mauldin K, May M, Clifford D. The consequences of a weight‐centric approach to healthcare: a case for a paradigm shift in how clinicians address body weight. Nutr Clin Pract. 2022;1‐16. doi:10.1002/ncp.10885

Van Dyke N, Drinkwater EJ. Relationships between intuitive eating and health indicators: literature review. Public Health Nutr. 2014 Aug;17(8):1757-66. doi: 10.1017/S1368980013002139. Epub 2013 Aug 21. PMID: 23962472.

Maude Martinez, Nutritionist, Dt.P.

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