A diet is any plan, program or product that tells you when, what and how much to eat. Diets usually consist of rigid food rules and use labels including "good" and "bad." Some diets will require that you eliminate certain foods or even food groups and they send us messages that we cannot trust our own bodies.
Diets usually result in a slowed metabolism, long-term weight gain, increased preoccupation with food and increased depression due to feelings of guilt, shame and social isolation.
Intuitive eating, unlike dieting, is a process of increasing mindfulness in order to better connect with your bodies internal hunger and fullness cues. It is learning to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full, but it is also so much more than that. It's recognizing the psychology of eating, the importance of why you're eating versus simply what you're eating.
It's embracing the satisfaction factor with foods you enjoy and becoming curious about your nutritional needs from a non-judgmental place.
We are all born intuitive eaters. A baby cries when it is hungry and pulls off of the bottle when it's full. Then life happens and we grow up in homes being told to clean our plate or that there are starving children in Africa. We learn to eat lunch because it's noon and to avoid a nighttime snack because it's too late.
We learn that we can no longer trust our bodies.
In my practice, I use Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch as a foundational resource for helping individuals to reject the diet mentality and make peace with food.