Get Inspired with These 15 Intuitive Eating Quotes & Anti Diet Culture Quotes

15 intuitive eating quotes to inspire you to kick diet culture to the curb

Doesn’t everybody love a good quote? If you’re looking for some inspiration to help you stay dedicated to giving up dieting — in a culture where dieting and thinness are glorified — look no further than my list of intuitive eating quotes.

Many of these quotes come from Geneen Roth, whose books are near and dear to my heart. In fact, it was her bestseller Women, Food & God that started my journey giving up dieting many years ago. (See my favorite books on eating psychology for more recommendations.)

I organized these quotes into three categories: intuitive eating quotes, conscious living quotes that take intuitive eating to a deep level, and I even tucked in some anti diet culture quotes for parents at the end. Are you ready? Let’s rock and roll.

Inspiring Intuitive Eating Quotes

Many of these intuitive eating quotes also come from Evelyn Tribole, who wrote the Intuitive Eating book together with Elyse Resch. Each intuitive eating quote below has some commentary underneath to help you gain even more inspiration with the quotes that resonate.

“We eat the way we eat because we are afraid to feel what we feel.” ― Geneen Roth

intuitive eating quote #1: “We eat the way we eat because we are afraid to feel what we feel.” ― Geneen Roth

This is by far my favorite intuitive eating quote ever. It touches upon the very heart of overeating tendencies: a resistance to discomfort. This is what the Stop, Drop, & Feel is for. It’s my trademark tool for addressing the feelings behind a binge. 

This is actually one area where my personal philosophy, Psycho-Spiritual Wellness, begins to take deviate from intuitive eating. While “by the book” intuitive eating does encourage you to feel your feelings, I believe it overlooks how deep and complex this process is.

For example, when I was reading an intuitive eating book called Health at Every Size, I was honestly a bit appalled by the author’s advice on how to address the emotions behind compulsive eating. Many of the tips focused on self-care instead of leaning into uncomfortable emotions (a skill I call emotional tolerance).

In Health at Every Size the author lists “talking with friends” as a way to “feel your feelings” (page 211). I strongly disagree. While friends are certainly helpful and human connection necessary, talking with your friends is actually another buffer, just like food. While support is helpful and I advocate developing a support system, replacing one buffer with another does not solve compulsive eating.

“When you rigidly limit the amount of food you are allowed to eat, it usually sets you up to crave larger quantities of that very food.”

― Evelyn Tribole

intuitive eating quote #2: “When you rigidly limit the amount of food you are allowed to eat, it usually sets you up to crave larger quantities of that very food.”

This is an eloquent way of saying that, for every restriction there is an equal and opposite binge. When we stop restricting, we stop binge eating, not the other way around. Of course, this is hard to believe for those of us that are new to intuitive eating or haven’t yet given up dieting because we are afraid of weight gain.

That’s why I write lots of posts about the path to giving up dieting and even the taboo topic of intuitive eating and weight loss. It can be scary to let go of the food rules, and the more you mentally prepare yourself, the better off you’ll be. 

“When underfed—whether from a self-imposed diet or starvation—you will obsess about food.”

― Evelyn Tribole

intuitive eating quote #3: “When underfed—whether from a self-imposed diet or starvation—you will obsess about food.”

The more you restrict your diet, the more you are biologically and psychologically predisposed to become fixated on food and overeat as a result. Thinking about food 24/7 is usually the result of not eating enough food. 

Unfortunately, most of us have lost sight of what ‘enough food’ actually is. Instead of eating enough to sustain our energy needs, we eat for weight loss, which involves eating less than your body needs. Unfortunately, your body is wired to rebel against restrictive dieting by favoring weight gain.

This is part of the science behind set point weight theory, which is central to intuitive eating. In a nutshell, when you restrict your diet, your weight actually settles higher, not lower. If you want to reach your natural weight, you need to let go of the food rules.

“Food is a wonderful source of pleasure—but it will get you into trouble if it’s the only source of pleasure you have in your life.”

― Linda Bacon

intuitive eating quote #4: “Food is a wonderful source of pleasure—but it will get you into trouble if it’s the only source of pleasure you have in your life.”

When we don’t get pleasure from life, we will compulsively seek it from food because both pleasure and food are basic human needs. This is what hedonic eating is. Hedonic eating refers to the craving for high-fat, palatable foods — the foods that (biologically speaking) bring us the most pleasure — and compulsively eating them regardless of hunger and fullness.

Please note: This quote came from the book Health at Every Size. While I really love the concept of HAES and support it’s ideology, I actually really disliked the book. I know I already mentioned this, but I’m saying it again for my skimmers. 😉

“Having a healthy relationship with food means you are not morally superior or inferior based on your eating choices.”

― Evelyn Tribole

intuitive eating quote #5 “Having a healthy relationship with food means you are not morally superior or inferior based on your eating choices.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a coaching client say something like, “Well, I got the salad because I didn’t want to look like a total slob.” I feel that! When you’re overweight, there is so much unfair stigma placed on you for eating a burger in public. So we opt for salads. And I love this intuitive eating quote because it reminds us that we are not bad people for eating foods that other people consider bad. Food is food.

“The moment you banish a food, it paradoxically builds up a “craving life” of its own that gets stronger with each diet, and builds more momentum as the deprivation deepens.”

― Evelyn Tribole

anti diet culture quote #6: “The moment you banish a food, it paradoxically builds up a “craving life” of its own that gets stronger with each diet, and builds more momentum as the deprivation deepens.”

This intuitive eating quote is all about the importance of permission to eat. When we don’t give ourselves permission to have the foods we love and crave, we end up craving them even more, and often eating them in larger quantities.

The popular ketogenic diet, which limits carbs, has arguably created a population of people that eat even more carbs than before! Because the more you restrict carbs and sugar, the more you crave carbs and sugar and binge on them as a result. Studies have shown this!

Conscious Living + Intuitive Eating Quotes

“Diets are based on the unspoken fear that you are a madwoman, a food terrorist, a lunatic…The promise of a diet is not only that you will have a different body; it is that in having a different body, you will have a different life. If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being.”

― Geneen Roth

anti diet culture quote #7: “Diets are based on the unspoken fear that you are a madwoman, a food terrorist, a lunatic…The promise of a diet is not only that you will have a different body; it is that in having a different body, you will have a different life. If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself. If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being.”

Once I gave up dieting, I realized that thinness does not equal happiness. Also, I am not thin. I’m not saying this because not-dieting helped me get skinny. Instead, I finally got an objective look at how much expectation we place upon thinness. It will never deliver, and the sooner we realize this, the better off we’ll be. The more inspired to give up dieting we will be.

Like I said earlier, Geneen Roth just makes too much sense. This one is definitely a favorite among these anti diet culture quotes.

“When you ignore your belly, you become homeless. You spend your life trying to erase your own existence. Apologizing for yourself. Feeling like a ghost. Eating to take up space, eating to give yourself the feeling that you have weight here, you belong here, you are allowed to be yourself — but never quite believing it because you don’t sense yourself directly.”

― Geneen Roth

anti diet culture quote #8: “When you ignore your belly, you become homeless. You spend your life trying to erase your own existence. Apologizing for yourself. Feeling like a ghost. Eating to take up space, eating to give yourself the feeling that you have weight here, you belong here, you are allowed to be yourself — but never quite believing it because you don’t sense yourself directly.”

There was day that I had a mini meltdown when I sat in the bathtub and placed my hands on my belly… I broke down and sobbed. I heaved. Because I realized that, before I gave up dieting, I was living my life like a floating head, completely detached from my body. And when I finally placed some attention toward my belly, from a place of love not hate, it cracked me open. I wrote about this in my book Daily Reminders on Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.

“For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment, that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love.”

― Geneen Roth

intuitive eating quotes #9: “For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment, that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love.”

We cannot shame ourselves thin. We cannot diet our way towards happiness. Happiness is the way. Love is the way. And I know it sounds cheesy, but food can be your love language, and it doesn’t have to involve eating past fullness.

“Weight loss does not make people happy. Or peaceful. Being thin does not address the emptiness that has no shape or weight or name. Even a wildly successful diet is a colossal failure because inside the new body is the same sinking heart.”

― Geneen Roth

intuitive eating quotes #10: “Weight loss does not make people happy. Or peaceful. Being thin does not address the emptiness that has no shape or weight or name. Even a wildly successful diet is a colossal failure because inside the new body is the same sinking heart.”

Have you ever read someone’s personal story where they became thin and then hit rock bottom because they still felt miserable?

And if you think this doesn’t apply to you, because your life is perfect except for the food thing, I can’t help but notice that this is how everyone feels until they start doing the work and feeling their feelings. And then life falls apart. Or at least, life seems to fall apart. Except it’s not. (See: phase #3 of the stages of giving up dieting.)

When we stop dieting and start feeling the feelings that drive compulsive eating, it feels like everything falls apart. But this is actually what authenticity feels like. And if authenticity hurts sometimes, but is necessary to honor my body, sign me up. 

“If we think our job here on earth is to fix ourselves, we will keep looking for the broken places. If we believe our job is to be kind, we will keep lavishing love on ourselves.”

― Geneen Roth

intuitive eating quotes #11: “If we think our job here on earth is to fix ourselves, we will keep looking for the broken places. If we believe our job is to be kind, we will keep lavishing love on ourselves.”

What you focus on expands. I’ve definitely found this to be true, in good ways and bad ways. The more I used to focus on my weight, the more insecure I felt. And once I gave up dieting, my body confidence naturally improved, probably because I stopped thinking about my flaws so much!

In fact, in my recent post about weight loss affirmations, I preached about how the best affirmations don’t even focus on food or weight. They focus on your mindset, because that’s where you conquer the psychology of weight loss.

"Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet - thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing - consistently."

—Lance Secretan

intuitive eating quotes #12: "Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet - thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing - consistently."

Perhaps the most seemingly far removed from intuitive eating quotes, this one speaks directly to emotional eating. When we stop buffering our emotions with food, we end up feeling more discomfort, but it’s an authentic discomfort. Instead of feeling tortured by diets, we are feeling our true feelings. This alignment actually leads to better places, because it encourages you to address the problems once avoided — like an ostrich pulling its head out of the sand.

“And if you worry that not finishing the food on your plate is a slap in the face of all the hungry people everywhere, you are not living in reality. The truth is that you either throw the food out or you throw it in, but either way it turns to waste. World hunger will not be solved by finishing the garlic mashed potatoes on your plate.”

― Geneen Roth

intuitive eating quotes #13: “And if you worry that not finishing the food on your plate is a slap in the face of all the hungry people everywhere, you are not living in reality. The truth is that you either throw the food out or you throw it in, but either way it turns to waste. World hunger will not be solved by finishing the garlic mashed potatoes on your plate.”

How can I write about making peace with food without mentioning the most controversial topic? The fear of wasting food is a touchy subject for many of us. I know I’m not alone when I say I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve eaten past fullness for the sake of avoiding food waste (and “flavor waste”).

By now, I hope you can see why Geneen Roth made this list of intuitive eating quotes many, many times.

Anti Diet Culture Quotes for Parents

“Children deprived of food in an attempt to be thin become preoccupied with food, afraid they won’t get enough to eat, and are prone to overeat when they get the chance.”

― Evelyn Tribole

anti diet culture quotes #14: “Children deprived of food in an attempt to be thin become preoccupied with food, afraid they won’t get enough to eat, and are prone to overeat when they get the chance.”

Also known as Last Supper Eating. Maybe you’ve experienced this when you throw away a “good week” of eating on Sunday and binge through Sunday night until you “start fresh” Monday morning…  That’s yo-yo dieting, and that the cycle that intuitive eating helps you stop.

“In fact, groundbreaking work by therapist and dietitian Ellyn Satter has shown that if you get the parents of overweight kids to back off and let them eat without parental pressure, the kids will eventually eat less.”

― Evelyn Tribole

anti diet culture quotes #15: “In fact, groundbreaking work by therapist and dietitian Ellyn Satter has shown that if you get the parents of overweight kids to back off and let them eat without parental pressure, the kids will eventually eat less.”

Studies show that when we make foods off-limits, we psychologically crave them more and we biologically are more inclined to binge eat. When all foods are allowed, it reduces the chances of craving and overeating the foods we once placed off-limits. This means we get to go back to eating like normal people (aka. eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, and living your life without thinking about food all the time).

If you’d like to heal your relationship with food, I have the perfect next step now that you’ve finished these quotes. Join my community by downloading my free ebook The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide to Stop Binge Eating. My approach is similar to intuitive eating but distinctly different, and my free emails will tell you all about it.

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Some say ‘feel it to heal it’ but this workbook takes it a step deeper and helps you ‘see it to heal it.’ If you’re the kind of person who logically knows how to live a healthy lifestyle but you compulsively do the opposite, this workbook will illuminate what’s standing in the way. Then, you know exactly where to focus your energy.

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