Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Are you trying to lose weight?
Have you tried every diet, but none of them seem to work or least not for very long?
Well there’s a big craze that’s popular in the world of nutrition at the moment, and it’s called Intuitive Eating?
Well first, what is Intuitive Eating exactly?
To put it as simply as possible, it’s a method of eating that is about listening to what your body is craving, and then eating that food. Simple really!
It doesn’t have any limitations. You can eat at any time. Any place. Any food. Any quantity.
Yes, as much as you like of anything!
It sounds fantastic doesn’t it?
But what’s the catch?
That’s the thing. There really is no catch.
You see, dieting teaches us that there should be a catch with food. That we need to eat 6 meals a day. 3 meals a day. No carbs after 6. Run on an empty stomach. Calories in, means time in the gym to burn them off. No bread. No red meat. Only red meat and fat. Low fat. No dairy. Chocolate is a sin, and sugar is worse than cocaine. There are good fruits and danger fruits. Celery burns more calories eating it than it contains. Fill up on water and vegetables. Drink coffee to keep your appetite down, and do juice detoxes whenever possible.
That’s a lot of rules. Right?
Intuitive eating has no restrictions. Why?
Well because it believes that those rules are nonsense and that restrictions around food, rather than being healthy like we are constantly told, actually cause our bodies to fight back.
If you’re wondering how that fight back looks like, just think about every diet or restriction, or clean eating, or detox, you’ve ever done. If they worked, you probably wouldn’t be watching this, right?
That’s because our cravings are natural, and a very reliable source of what we need inside us to nourish us.
You might say, well sure, but I crave chocolate Sebastian. That’s not healthy for me. If I’m allowed to eat unlimited chocolate the I’m just gonna eat it until I’m sick.
That is a common misconception. The truth is, that everybody gets bored of any food eventually. THATS’S RIGHT! ANY FOOD! In fact, studies show (1) that within two minutes after eating any food, there’s a such a thing known in our bodies as 'sensory specific satiety'.
WHAT A TONGUETWISTER!
It basically means that your taste buds get bored of eating any food after two minutes, however, there are some things that can get in the way of this natural taste-bud boredom, and a big one is still thinking of foods as forbidden.
You see, as long as foods are taboo, or forbidden, you will always want them and even while you are eating them, you will fear that you will have to go on a diet and never have that food again, and so you will eat more of that food, and not taste it properly.
Do you get it? The novelty of the food is always there. You never allow it to become neutralised. With intuitive eating, every food is available to you, and YES, that means that you will eventually just be able to look at any food that you might binge on now, like a carrot stick!
But anyway, you wanted to know if Intuitive Eating could help you to lose weight, right?
CAN INTUITIVE EATING HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?
Well the answer is yes…for some people, and no, for other people.
It might actually make you gain weight!
That’s right. Because when you are listening to what your body is calling for, you might just find that you’ve been denying yourself the food that your body has been craving for so long, that your natural weight is actually higher than it was when you started. Others may stay exactly the same weight, and of course many people do lose weight. It’s really dependent on each person.
I practice intuitive eating, and sometimes I gain weight, and other times I lose weight. I fluctuate a fair bit depending on a variety of different factors including sleep, exercise for the week, work, and even the weather.
SO WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO INTUITIVE EATING IF YOU MIGHT GAIN WEIGHT OR STAY THE SAME?
Well, that has to be up to you. The reason intuitive eating gets so much good press, is because of the benefits. No more dieting is a big one, and we know that dieting is often linked to mental health issues like eating disorders, metabolism upset, as many gain weight as a result of dieting, and of course, a constant preoccupation with food.
From my perspective, it’s just a really relaxed way to eat, and enjoy food. To enjoy life actually. Food is meant to be pleasurable. To be sociable, and enjoyed with others. It has so much history and emotions and tradition around it, and it finally just becomes a way to eat anything you want, and really taste it, without feeling guilt, or shame, for just eating.
By the way, many studies (2) have shown that guilt and shame around eating and body image, are often linked to poor health. That’s right! Feeling guilty while eating can literally affect how well you metabolise that food!
If you would like to learn more about Intuitive Eating, then check out this video by clicking here.
If you enjoyed this piece, then please come and visit me on Instagram @thefoodandbodycoach.