Ok, so what is intuitive eating?
Intuitive Eating is a non-diet approach developed to help people who have issues around food – from any type of disordered eating and orthorexia – to chronic dieting. Your body is the most knowledgeable nutritionist there is and your body is way smarter than your mind! Intuitive Eating allows you to become an expert on yourself, throwing away the rulebook and putting your body in charge of what you eat.
You were born an intuitive eater…
You were born an intuitive eater (just like every other animal) but you unlearnt this as you grew up. It is so important to re-learn how to become an intuitive eater if you are ever going to make peace with food and your body. However, there is more to healing your relationship to food and your body than only learning intuitive eating, which is why I’m not specifically an intuitive eating coach.
Many of us have ideals around what we should and shouldn’t eat based on past imprints (rules growing up, how you ate as a child, what body size you compare yourself to), which can leave us very confused and lost with what actually works for us intuitively.
Babies are experts at intuitive eating. When they are hungry they will let you know and when they have had enough, they will stop. But something happens to us in our toddler years, You say you’re hungry but Mum says to wait until dinner. You’re done eating but Dad says to eat everything on your plate until you’re allowed to leave the table.
At school and then later in the workplace, we are only allowed to eat at set times, whether we are hungry or not. Is it any wonder why most of us suck at intuitive eating? Intuitive Eating removes restriction and eating within a set food framework and works on principles such as honouring your hunger, making peace with food, respecting your fullness and in my work particularly, building self-love, trust and compassion.
In a nutshell, you eat what you want when you want when you are hungry and stop eating when you feel satisfied. The only drawback to this is that if you are a chronic dieter, you will have a diet mentality. This means that you turn everything into black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. And so when you feel you have ‘failed’ intuitive eating, eg eaten past fullness or eaten when you weren’t hungry, you self sabotage immediately. Let’s talk more about this:
Why I am not an intuitive eating coach specifically…
Although I think intuitive eating is a wonderful communication tool, helping people “eat intuitively” is not really my ultimate goal. Learning to connect with your body and listen to its needs, after years of dieting and over-reliance on the mind to make decisions about food is incredibly liberating, healing, and has massive implications for our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. However, as I said above, most chronic dieters still THINK like dieters even when they stop dieting…
Over and over again, I see women fall into the “intuitive eating diet” trap where they clutch tightly to “hunger and fullness” as a set of rules by which to judge their performance around food. “But what if I’m at a dinner party and I’m not hungry? Am I allowed to eat?” “I lost control and ate a muffin when I wasn’t hungry! I suck!” “I had a spoonful of peanut butter when I wasn’t hungry and it turned into a full-on binge!”
Yeah…because binges are what happen when you think you’re doing something wrong. As long as you’re on the “intuitive eating diet,” there’s still a wagon to fall off.
In summary, I’m not an intuitive eating coach, because I don’t actually care what you put in your mouth — I care about how you feel about what you put in your mouth; THAT’s the difference between “normal eating” and “feeling crazy around food.” And interestingly enough, there’s a lot of science to back up the claim that people who don’t feel ashamed of their behaviours with food, don’t binge-eat, and eat their feelings way less than people who beat themselves up for “eating emotionally.”
While intuitive eating is a wonderful communication tool that is teaching thousands of women how to connect with their bodies perhaps for the first time in their adult lives, the “intuitive eating diet,” doesn’t work. Get off of it now. The principles of Intuitive Eating are just information, and your physical hunger cues are just communication from your body letting you know what it wants. Neither your mind nor your body should rule the other with an iron fist. It’s okay to eat a brownie for no other reason than that you want one. Yes, really!
Why should I learn how to eat intuitively?
Are you done with dieting? Are you sick and tired of every diet you attempt ending in the same way… you knee-deep in cookie dough and Ben & Jerry’s wondering how you continue to be such a failure in life? In case you didn’t know, which I am pretty sure you do by now – DIETS DON’T WORK LONG TERM! So unless you want to be on a diet for the rest of your life then listen up! It’s tempting to believe that there’s a way to lose weight quickly, easily and permanently by taking drastic measures, eliminating entire food groups, radically cutting calories or going on a low-carb diet. But in reality, most people (studies show 95% of the whole population to be exact) can’t override their body’s natural biology and cravings for extended periods of time.
Instead of trying diet after diet only to feel like a failure every time you fall off the wagon, stop dieting altogether and do yourself a favour instead. Learn how to ditch the diets, break free from binge eating and actually like yourself (imagine that!) by scheduling a FREE consult call with me to see if coaching is right for you.