Intuitive Eating Principle 8 (Respect Your Body)

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Of all the Intuitive Eating Principles, the 8th principle, Respect Your Body has been the hardest for me. Learning to respect my body is a process I am still working on, so as I share more about this principle, please know I am still figuring this all out.

Woman in jeans and a white sweater who is barefootI used to HATE my body.

Absolutely hate it.

I would criticize it openly and awfully to whoever was in earshot. I think about the way I would speak about my body years ago and it makes me cringe.

How awkward it must have been for people I would share my “real feelings” with. I was constantly making fun of myself for being “fat”, “cheating on my diet”, “not good enough”, etc. This was even during moments of my life that I was at a “normal” weight… I’m not just talking about when I was in a larger body.

Learning to respect your body if you have spent years hating it, is a process.

I am slowly learning to appreciate my body more and more. Notice I didn’t say love my body, I think that is a common misconception.

You can respect your body and still work on learning to love it.

I am thankful my body carries me throughout the day and allows me to do the things I enjoy.

I am thankful my body has given me 2 boys, and a little girl on the way.

I am thankful for a healthy body that is free of disease.

I do not love everything about my body, but I respect my body because of all it does do for me.

Two women holding up their hands and spelling the word loveIf you set the standard that the only way to move forward is to love your body, I have a feeling you’ll give up before you give yourself an honest chance at making peace with it.

As long as you are at war with your body it will be difficult to be at peace with yourself and food. -Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Learning to respect your body means that weight loss needs to become a secondary goal, and for most of us, this is difficult to swallow.

I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to be a thinner person.

So, to take several months and focus on healing my relationship with food and my body has been an enlightening experience. I have said to my husband time and again that I am so thankful I am doing this work while pregnant. It hasn’t given me the option to “sneak” back into diet culture.

This doesn’t mean I am disregarding my body and my health, in fact, I’m respecting it more and paying closer attention to it’s needs than I likely ever have. I’ve had to have patience with my body during pregnancy, which has meant I’ve had to be patient as I’ve learned how to eat more intuitively.

Three women walking along the beach and smilingYou don’t have to like every part of your body to respect it. Respecting your body means treating it with dignity and meeting it’s basic needs. -Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

How have I learned to respect my body? Here are just a few ways.

  • Thank my body for carrying this baby. When I’m really hungry (which has been often) remind myself I’m caring for another human being besides myself. This isn’t about how much I weigh right now, this is about meeting the needs of my daughter who is growing in my womb.
  • I am still attending Bar Method classes in my 3rd trimester. I’m modifying a lot and there are days it feels really hard, but I am always so proud of myself for continuing an activity I love and enjoy that is helping me feel better than I ever have in pregnancy. I exercise because I respect my body enough to make time to move in such a way that makes it stronger.
  • Drinking water. Water used to be really hard for me. Now, I know how much better my body feels when it has enough of it so it’s much easier for me to include it in my day. Plus, I don’t tie it to weight loss anymore… it’s just something I drink because I physically feel better.
  • Going to bed at a decent time. When I was losing weight I slept very little. I would be up late and up early to workout and drink a lot of caffeine to offset how my body really felt, which was exhausted. I make myself go to bed earlier than I was and I also allow myself to sleep later in the morning and fit my workout in at a different time during the day because my body needs that rest right now. I love early morning workouts so I hope to return to those someday, but for now, I need my rest for myself and my baby. When I do start working out again early, I will make it a priority to go to bed much earlier than I used to.
  • Limit “body fat” talk. I wish I could tell you that I never talk bad about my body anymore. My hope is that someday I will get there. There are days I struggle still though. I am committed to not making comments about my body in front of my kids and I try not to point out areas I hate to my husband either. Rather I will tell him I’m struggling with how I feel about “insert body part here”. This is a process for me, and I know it is for a lot of women.
  • Buying clothes that fit. This is actually something they discuss in the book that I think is SO important. When we wear clothes that are too tight it feels awful. When I wear things that fit my body properly and are comfortable I am much happier. I’ve really worked on this and it’s been helpful to me to dress according to how my body feels at the time instead of squeezing into something that is uncomfortable.

This chapter talks about so much I can’t possibly cover it all. I just wanted to share a few things that I am doing in regards to learning to respect my body.

This journey looks different for all of us.

Our struggles are not all the same, therefore fixing them is not going to look the same either. That’s the beauty of this kind of work is finding what works best for our own personal journey’s.

I’m at a point in my journey that I’m confident that I have finally broke up with diet culture for good.

Two women sitting down facing the sunI have come too far to turn back now.

Learning more about myself and how I was in diet culture and now studying intuitive eating, it’s giving me so much assurance on how I can move forward in such a way that is best for my journey and respecting my body.

You have to do that work to find your “happy place”.

I don’t have all the answers for you, but I can tell you if you are willing to take the time to work through your own past and where you are today, God will lead you exactly where you need to be.

To learn more about the Intuitive Eating Principles you can click the links below to read about how my journey has been impacted by them.


  1. Reject the diet mentality
  2. Honor your hunger
  3. Make peace with your food
  4. Challenge the food police
  5. Feel your fullness
  6. Discover the satisfaction factor
  7. Cope with your emotions without using food
  8. Respect your body
  9. Exercise- feel the difference
  10. Honor your health with gentle nutrition


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