Intuitive eating has gained significant traction in the last few years. Due to this, a great deal of people is still confused about this new buzzword in the vocabulary. Should you care about it at all?
You could hear nutrition coaches suggesting intuitive eating to lose weight, and personal trainers dismissing it completely. Is this revolutionary program an amazing weight-loss method, a falsehood, or something in-between? We are breaking down 5 myths on this, a bit controversial topic, that will clear up your dilemma.
The Philosophy of Intuitive Eating
Everyone is talking about diets, counting calories, and exercises. Do you think dieting could be the answer to your weight loss prayers? Or, could it be eating intuitively?
The philosophy behind this practice is rather simple. You know best what you need to lose weight. Your body is sending you signals about what and when to eat.
Some people would say this is ridiculous, others – confusing. Yet, are you an intuitive person by nature? Do you trust your instincts? If so, trust them about what they suggest your meals-wise.
Babies and kids are intuitive eaters. Youngsters ask for food when they are hungry and refuse when they are full. The little ones enjoy certain foods but ignore everything else their caregivers are trying to make a habit (avocado, carrots, chocolate – everyone’s a different story).
See? You were an intuitive eater not so long ago. Since then, you have adopted different eating models based on external factors. People are, in general, obsessed with their bodies they pay attention to internal influences before external ones. The thing is – you can go back to your roots, as this whole philosophy is not that unfamiliar as it seems.
Although eating by intuitive rules takes some patience and practice, it can help you escape endless yo-yo effects and give you some more execution freedom. This kind of “wiggle room” is what makes intuitive eating so tempting. However, you can easily slip into the unhealthy zone, which is why it is so important to understand the whole method and set the most common falsehoods about it straight.
Falsehood #1: Intuitive eating has no structure.
Just because there are no hard and strict rules, it doesn’t mean there’s no structure at all. People are encouraged to tailor their diet to their needs but they should still follow 10 principles (better said – guidelines) of this nutrition counseling practice created by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch back in 1995.
Some of these guidelines include being respectful of your body, fullness, and your feelings when consuming food. With time, you will learn how to recognize the satisfaction factor, reject the diet mentally, and make peace with food.
However, the beauty with this all is that you will, eventually, acknowledge what works best for your body and find a perfect blend between these guidelines and your preferences.
Falsehood #2: You can eat whatever you want, wherever you want – completely guilt-free.
Technically, it looks like so but intuitive eaters are actually honoring their bodies by being mindful of the signals they receive from within. Being on a diet involves food restrictions. People who’ve just started eating intuitively usually overeat foods that were forbidden – it’s just a matter of human psychology.
And then, an interesting switch arises. People binge eating junk food all until they feel so guilty about the fact they are not giving their bodies what they need. Intuitive eating allows you to eat restricted foods all until your body (mind) puts restrictions itself.
We are prone to convincing ourselves we are addicted to eating bountiful amounts of carbs. When there are no limits, your brain will instinctively send you a signal to eat all the junk food. However, shortly after, it’ll change to – “Bruh, I’m tired of this, give me some veggies”.
You will find a balance between rigid restrictions and eating boxes of McDonald’s’ donuts easily with some faith and practice.
Falsehood #3: I will gain weight if I eat intuitively.
We have to stress out practicing intuitive eating to lose weight will get you nowhere. Yet, there is no indication you will gain any if you practice it either. The point is – you should reconcile with food and learn how to eat while being watchful of your body’s signals.
Weight loss depends on factors such as hormones, physical activity, genetics, etc. You may be having unrealistic expectations of how your body should look like without taking these factors into account. Let go of unhealthy views and embrace yourself as you are. There is no need to give up your pursuit of weight loss but start with listening to how you feel primarily.
Falsehood #4: Intuitive eaters are setting a bad example by neglecting the need for exercising.
Speaking of the guidelines again, intuitive eaters are supposed to focus on their bodies and eating habits at first but exercise comes along shortly after. Exercising is not about working towards one’s obsessive portrayals but feeling joyful and more energetic. It involves self-care, not self-control.
Once you heal your relationship with food, you can focus on exercising without bothering yourself with the number of calories you are going to burn.
Falsehood #5: You can’t listen to your body and brain at the same time.
The truth is – you can’t feel at your best when your body and brain are not working together. Let’s say it is mid-afternoon and you feel kinda hungry. A small snack would do. Yet, you also know you are going to have a busy day and you wouldn’t be able to eat something that would satisfy you all until dinner. In this case, your brain would suggest having a large meal right away that will keep you full during the day.
You see? There is no need to think obsessively about food once your body and brain are making decisions together.
Being caught-up in dieting won’t bring you peace in the long run. Sticking to clear dieting rules seems simpler but it can’t help you build sustainable, non-toxic habits. Intuitive eating is all about un-learning harmful concepts, accepting temporary discomfort, and reconnecting with our bodies. We are glad we helped with clarifying these 5 common falsehoods on this concept so you can finally start your bold and beautiful journey of self-discovery that allows you to play by your own rules to a large degree.