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dc.contributor.advisorHorwath, Caroline Christine
dc.contributor.advisorHay-Smith, E.Jean C
dc.contributor.authorBarraclough, Emma Louise
dc.identifier.citationBarraclough, E. L. (2016). Qualitative Evaluation of Women’s Experiences of Learning to Eat More Intuitively (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground: Obesity is an increasing problem amongst mid-age New Zealand (NZ) women, and the traditional dieting approach has poor long-term success for weight management. Intuitive Eating (IE) is a non-dieting approach that is becoming an increasingly popular alternative, as both physical and psychological wellbeing is enhanced. However little is known about women’s experiences of learning to eat more intuitively. Objective: To explore women’s experiences of learning to eat more intuitively. Methodology: Two group (n=4, n=3) and four face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with women aged 41-51 years who had participated in ‘Mind Body Food’ (MBF), a web-based intervention programme teaching intuitive eating. The audio-recorded interviews explored women’s experiences of learning intuitive eating. Interviews were transcribed and subject to inductive Thematic Analysis. Results: One super-theme, ‘intuitive eating as natural or unnatural’ captured five major themes and described how women perceived and practiced intuitive eating. Many women perceived intuitive eating to be a natural way to eat. However, it could become unnatural through childhood experiences, and decreased awareness or deliberately choosing to ignore or override hunger/satiety signals by dieting. Women understood that recapturing intuitive eating and continuing to eat in this manner required conscious control. Intuitive eating required a combination of nutrition knowledge and intuition (trusting body signals) and women’s emotional connections with food affected their intuitive eating ability. A separate major theme, ‘societal influences’ described how intuitive eating is a social construct as much as it is an eating behaviour. Intuitive eating was bounded and influenced by social factors as much as physiological factors (i.e. eating is more than just satisfying hunger and energy needs). Two features of the entire dataset were identified as ‘organisation/planning’ and ‘applying intuitive eating principles to life.’ Conclusion: This is the first study to explore women’s experiences of learning to eat more intuitively via a web-based programme. Despite the fact that not all women completed every module of ‘Mind, Body, Food’, this online programme appeared to produce improvements in women’s knowledge, motivation and skills for intuitive eating. Time pressures and competing priorities may present barriers to intuitive eating that are difficult to overcome. It would be valuable for future qualitative research to explore these barriers further. Moreover, more effective ways to present or teach intuitive eating may be explored so that it is not interpreted as just another diet.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectIntuitive eating
dc.subjectweb-based intervention
dc.subjectwomen's nutrition
dc.titleQualitative Evaluation of Women's Experiences of Learning to Eat More Intuitively
dc.language.rfc3066en of Human Nutrition of Dietetics of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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