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Intuitive Eating- Does it Have a Place in your Cancer Journey?

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES November 1, 2022Nutrition Education Services Center Blog

Intuitive Eating, sometimes called Mindful Eating, is a popular topic online and in magazines. In a 2019 Food & Health Survey, the International Food Information Council reported that 49% of Americans ages 18 to 34 years are familiar with Intuitive Eating. This approach to eating was first given its name in 1995, when dietitian Evelyn Tribole and nutrition therapist Elyse Resch published their book by the same title, Intuitive Eating. The fourth edition, which was published in 2020, is my favorite as it embraces satisfaction with your food choices and a healthy relationship with your mind and body.

What is Intuitive Eating? 

Intuitive Eating is an approach to eating and body acceptance that revolves around ten principles explained by Tribole and Resch. These ten principles encourage you to embrace your body’s biological signals and needs related to food, instead of following rigid eating rules and weight loss diets that are so prevalent in our world. The ten principles also focus on practicing respect for your body and your size and enjoying the taste of foods that support health and well-being.

Does Intuitive Eating have a place on your cancer journey?

Cancer treatment and some types of cancer can change your body’s ability to digest food, so your healthcare team may suggest rules and dietary restrictions that are recommended for your safety and nourishment.

Beyond restrictions recommended by your healthcare team, Intuitive Eating can be practiced during cancer treatment. Learning to listen to your body and to enjoy eating different foods that promote healing can help support your nutritional needs. For example, you can honor your health by adding more nutrient-rich vegetables to your meals, which can reduce the risk of cancer and recurrence. You can start to form a healthy relationship with food and your body. Although it may be difficult, it is important to accept your body where it is on your cancer journey. Resist the urge to compare your body to the image of what society says a body should look like. Say “No” to fad diets and ultra-restrictive food regimens. Give yourself permission to eat, knowing you don’t have to be perfect. Give yourself grace and aim for progress, not perfection, with your food choices.


To learn more about Intuitive Eating during cancer treatment, visit:




Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

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