If you are reading this, then I’m guessing that you have often wondered, ‘Is Intuitive Eating a weight loss diet?‘
It’s an alluring thought… food freedom AND guaranteed weight loss?!
Most people are familiar with dieting. You know, counting calories, weighing food portions, or cutting out entire food groups. But what if there was a way to eat without restriction?
Intuitive Eating is not only the practice of listening to your body’s hunger cues and eating when you’re hungry – it’s also a therapeutic process that helps you heal your relationship with food.
If you’re tired of restricting yourself from foods that you enjoy or that make you feel satisfied and want to learn how Intuitive Eating can help you have a more positive relationship with food, then keep reading!
What is Intuitive Eating
I wrote about Intuitive Eating in my previous post, ‘Why should I try Intuitive Eating,‘ so be sure to also check that one out! But, let’s do a quick refresher.
Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating framework that has 10 principles:
Reject the Diet Mentality
Honor Your Hunger
Make Peace with Food
Challenge the Food Police
Respect Your Fullness
Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Honor Your Feelings without Using Food
Respect Your Body
Exercise—Feel the Difference
Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition
Many people confuse the Intuitive Eating process with mindful eating, but it is much more than that.
It’s not simply a fullness/hunger diet. It’s a way of really getting to the root cause for the current state of your relationship toward food.
So… is Intuitive Eating a weight loss diet?
One thing that tends to get misconstrued (even among the dietetics profession) is the idea that you can use Intuitive Eating as a way to INTENTIONALLY lose weight. Notice that cap lock? I emphasize the word intentionally because while some people may lose weight while becoming a more intuitive eater, it is not the focus, not the goal, not the point.
Some may even say that they are in the ‘gray area’ of nutrition and that they believe you can use Intuitive Eating as a way to ‘stop dieting and still lose weight.’ But, again that is missing the point and completely goes against what Intuitive Eating is at its core. This quote is straight from a blog post by Evelyn Tribole:
“The process of Intuitive Eating is a practice, which honors both physical and mental health. Intuitive Eating is aligned with Health at Every Size, because the pursuit of intentional weight loss is a failed paradigm, which creates health problems: including weight stigma, weight cycling, and eating disorders. All bodies deserve dignity and respect.”Evenlyn Tribole MS, RDN, CEDRD-S
How to use Intuitive Eating for health & wellness
So, if we aren’t going to use Intuitive Eating for weight loss, then what will we use it for and how can we reach our health goals?
The first (and most difficult) step is to stop thinking that weight loss is the only measure of health. If you take that out of the picture, then what is health for YOU? Is it being able to move more? To get stronger? Improving your mental health? Being more flexible (physically AND mentally)? Then these changes will inevitably improve other areas of your health, like your blood work/heart health/blood pressure, etc.
By taking the focus off of the scale, we are better able to focus on what really makes our bodies feel good. By taking certain foods off a pedestal, we are then able to have that bag of chips in the house without worrying about binging on them and feeling guilty.
We can start thinking about what kind of movement and exercise we really ENJOY and that makes us feel good. That means it doesn’t have to look like a traditional visit to the gym. It can be walking trails, gardening, playing tennis with friends, taking your dog on a walk, or even playing your favorite song and dancing!
My hope for you is that you will be able to embrace Intuitive Eating and give up the diet-binge-restrict cycle. There is so much more to life than how much we weigh on the scale and by removing this focus, we are able to truly live and FEEL BETTER.
Don’t forget to grab my 10 Tips to Finding Food Freedom to get started!