There are a ton of misconceptions about what intuitive eating is and who it would benefit.
Is intuitive eating right for you?
The short answer? YES. But if you’ve been following me for any length of time now, you probably know that I never just stop at the short answer.
The reason why Intuitive Eating is for everyone is that we were all born intuitive eaters. If you’ve ever seen a kid eat, you know there is zero concept of dieting, “self-control”, or body image influencing what and how much a kid eats. Babies cry when they’re hungry, stop when they’re full. Kids will have nights where they are intensely hungry and other nights when they can’t be bothered to sit down for dinner.
We learn through diet culture (read my post about diet culture here) that we need to fix and control our bodies. Doctors tell us we have to lose weight to live longer, the media tells us that everyone is capable of being skinny and that it’s your fault the diets don’t work, and our friends and family tell us they’re concerned about our health when we can’t seem to keep the weight off.
Why Your Diets Don’t Work
The problem with all of the diet-focused advice is that none of these messages take into consideration the fact that dieting is the number 1 predictor of weight gain over time and that there is no conclusive evidence to show that ANY weight loss diet works long-term. 95% of dieters regain the weight lost within 5 years of completing the diet, and anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 of dieters experience what is called rebound weight gain, meaning they regained more weight than they initially lost on the diet.
In fact, your diet is probably sabotaging your health goals. Calorie restriction creates a number of physiological changes in the body that cause you to crave high-fat, high-calorie foods and put you at a greater risk for overeating and binge eating. When your body thinks it’s starving, it goes out of its way to save your life. Not only does dieting slow down your metabolism (a fact which everyone knows by now and yet we still try to diet), but it also suppresses your fullness hormone Leptin, increasing your appetite and making it harder to know when you are full.
Some side effects of dieting include: binge eating, emotional eating, low self-esteem, food obsession, depression/anxiety, and physical issues related to weight cycling. If doctors took the time to actually look at the research and question their own weight bias, there’s no way that they would ever ethically recommend weight loss diets for health.
What We Can Control
At this point, you’re probably wondering, what about health? Is there really nothing we can do? That’s where intuitive eating comes in.
If you take weight out of the equation, there is actually so much MORE we can do to promote health and wellness. Here are just a few of the things my clients have achieved while working with me:
- Improved relationship with food or exercise
- Stopped binge eating and emotional eating
- Improved body image
- Increased desire to take care of themselves
- Improved knowledge about how to eat to regulate hormones and prevent chronic disease
- Reduced LDL cholesterol, increased HDL cholesterol
- Improved blood sugar control
- Lowered stress and increased happiness overall
Not only that, but I’ve even had 2 clients switch jobs once they decided that they were tired of being treated less than they deserved (after realizing that the way they saw their bodies was getting in the way of their happiness in all aspects of life).
If this seems strange to you, think about how much time you’ve spent dieting and trying to control your body. Probably a lot right? Every single one of my clients has come to me with a laundry list of diets they’ve tried (and failed). That is SO MUCH TIME spent worrying about your body.
When we start dieting, thoughts of dieting, weight loss, and food take over our lives completely. Sure, you’re still getting your responsibilities done and taking care of everything you need to, but you don’t have space to truly live and excel in life.
Intuitive eating helps you fully show up in your life. Once you make this shift, you will be blown away at how much time and energy you get back to do the things you love (or find things in your life that you didn’t even know you loved).
How do we achieve health without dieting?
Drum roll please…
Well, a combination of intuitive eating, Health at Every Size, and professional support (from me!). I like to use a variety of tools, research, and experience to help you achieve your best health and relationship with food.
Intuitive eating will teach you how to reconnect with your body’s hunger and fullness cues. It will help you stop feeling so guilty all the time about what you eat, and it will help you stop emotional/binge eating and start actually addressing the emotions and motivations underneath these behaviors.
Within the intuitive eating framework, we will also talk a lot about intuitive movement and gentle nutrition. As you probably know from my posts on emotional and binge eating, I take a curiosity-based approach to health, rather than a judgment-based approach. No more “good” and “bad” foods, only “how does this food make me feel?” and “how does eating align with my values and goals in life?”.
This approach allows us to be FLEXIBLE in life and actually enjoy ourselves without being worried that every meal out is sabotaging our weight loss goals.
A note about gut health, hormones & age:
I work with people of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, sexual orientations, body sizes, and genders. That being said, I specialize in helping people who binge eat, people who struggle with IBS and other chronic GI diseases, and women who struggle with hormone changes related to menopause, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, blood sugar control, and high cholesterol.
All of these conditions can be managed with Intuitive Eating. If you are struggling with any of these conditions, or are just not feeling your best anymore, we’ll spend extra time diving into HOW the body reacts to certain foods, using your lived experiences to help you understand how the science applies to your life. This will empower you to take your life back so you don’t have to spend hours upon hours researching contradicting nutrition information or wondering what you’re doing wrong.
So if you’re ready to finally take your life back from dieting and learn how to eat intuitively, book your discovery call here.
And as always, if you have any questions you want me to answer on the blog, please drop me an email and I will try to get to them as soon as possible!
p.s. If you liked this and want to learn more, I created a free quiz to assess your relationship with food, plus a free quiz breakdown that goes through each question to help you better understand your results. Click here to download it!
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