Intuitive Eating VIII: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, respect your body

Contributed By: Amber Sullivan UGA Dietetic Student


What is Intuitive Eating: Intuitive eating is the art of listening to your body and eating whatever it desires whenever it desires it. Most importantly, intuitive eating is not a diet.

Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality
Principle 2: Honor Your Hunger
Principle 3: Make Peace with Food
Principle 4: Challenge the Food Police
Principle 5: Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle 6: Feel Your Fullness
Principle 7: Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness

Principle 8: Respect your Body

The 8th principle of intuitive eating is respecting your body. This starts with accepting the genes you were given. Have realistic ideas about your body shape and size. If you don't, it will be challenging to stop dieting because you'll still believe that you can achieve the body you desire if you just eat right.

This change in mindset is difficult in a fatphobic society filled with weight stigma, shaming individuals, and discriminating actions against people with larger bodies in all aspects of their life: healthcare, schools, grocery stores, beauty industry, fitness industry, family, and friends. Besides learning to accept your body, you should also treat your body well with movement or exercise. Not for the weight loss or achieving an unrealistic body, but for your overall health. It's important, however, to realize the limits of exercise. It won't change your body shape, it won't spot reduce fat in certain areas, it can't change fat into muscle, it may not result in any fat loss, and it won't give you the same results as someone else. No matter how much they promise it will.

Once you've done the hard part of accepting your body as it is, you next have to do the harder part, learning to appreciate the body you have. Genuine respect for your body means appreciating the things that your body can do. It values the body that allows you to wake up in the morning, breathe, savor the foods you enjoy, and participate in movements that you enjoy. 

The Aspects of Respecting Your Body:

  • Your body deserves food
  • Your body deserves to be treated with dignity
    • Stop comparing your body to other bodies and thinking your body can look like their's. There's no such thing as one size fits all. There are so many factors affecting people's bodies: genetics, chronic diseases, eating disorders, etc.
    • Stop comparing your eating habits to others. Doing so can put you into a diet mentality (Principle 1)
    • Stop bashing your body. 
    • Stop looking for imperfections in your looks.
    • Stop dreaming of an unachievable body. Your favorite celebrity's dream body is not your body. Sorry.
  • Your body deserves to be dressed nicely and comfortably 
    • Wearing clothes that are too tight and dig into your skin only spur on thoughts of dieting by giving you the impression that you need to lose weight to fit into clothes comfortably. When all you have to do is buy clothes that fit better.
    • Don't use smaller, non-fitting clothes as a way to measure progress towards weight loss. That's not our goal here. Our goal is to respect our bodies. Better yet, just get rid of those ill-fitting clothes because you don't need them.
  • Your body deserves to be touched with affection and respect when you've given consent
    • Treat your body to massages, saunas, and whirlpools
    • Buy lotions, creams, bubble baths, and bath salts
    • Choose respectful and caring lovers who respect your body just like you should
  • Your body deserves to move comfortably, to whatever capability it has. Hiking! Biking! Walking! Swimming! Kayaking! And so much more!


Respecting your body is simply learning to take care of your body and not beating it into submission of some ideal body image you have. Take care of it by eating nutrient-dense foods, taking care of your mental health, and participating in movements you enjoy. And hopefully, through learning to respect your body and treating it with dignity, eventually, you'll fall in love with your body. Because all bodies, no matter the shape or size, deserve to be loved and celebrated.



Tribole, Evelyn, and Elyse Resch. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach. Fourth Edition ed., St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2020.