Thinking about signing up for another diet or wanting to try some form of restriction that worked for you before?
Have you heard about intuitive eating but you’re not really sure if it’s for you or why it’s different than lifestyle diet programs?
Tired of feeling disconnected from your body and like you are an alien invader?
Maybe you’re sick of having so many of your thoughts focus on food?
Well you’re in the right place.
Lifestyle diet programs are things like Noom, BodI (formerly known as Beachbody), WW or even just the influencer or wellness coach telling you it’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle. All of these are diet culture trying to hide in body positive clothes. They still want you to pay them to shrink your body and their success stories and marketing all include some sort of weight loss or shrinking.
Unfortunately, we know that focusing on restriction and exercise as punishment or to earn food creates an unhealthy relationship with food and your body, often progressing to disordered eating or in severe cases an eating disorder. Our bodies were not designed to process self-created famine.
Intuitive eating is a framework to help you reconnect with your body and heal your relationship with food. It’s a deep dive into emotions and food, mindset around food and body image, movement, self-care, self-worth and attunement to your body’s biological signals.
It’s an amazing feeling to make peace with food and your body and one of my clients mentioned earlier this month she was so excited to go into the holiday season not feeling the pre-guilt for the food she was going to eat. She got to be present.
So before you decide to buy a new diet plan or lifestyle program, or whatever it’s calling itself, with the main goal being weight loss, here are some reasons to consider intuitive eating.
#1 Intuitive eating is not a one size fits all diet or meal plan.
Many diet or lifestyle diet plans don’t take into consideration that you are unique. They go yup you are this weight and this height and your weight loss goals are x you say you have more muscle or less muscle to your frame so your Calorie intake should be ___. This calculation is quite simple and very Google-able. The macro distributions is where these different groups typically deviate from each other. These can all sound realistic at different points in our lives and can create feelings of enticement for people. Like oh I just wasn’t eating enough protein/fat/fibre, that’s why I wasn’t losing weight before.
What’s interesting about this is that protein, fat, and fibre are known to improve satiety or lasting fullness. And the cool thing about intuitive eating is you learn this for yourself. You get to experience it and increase your awareness of it instead of trying to meet or stay within parameters set by someone else.
#2 Intuitive Eating is not a copy me program.
This is your story and your journey and I am here to guide you to a place of self-knowledge you probably didn’t even know was possible with intuitive eating. This is not a follow me, eat what I eat, do what I do or do what I say kind of program. I have clients tell me all the time, I can’t believe that I’m over 30 years old and I didn’t know these things about myself.
The reason we don’t know these things about ourselves is because we’ve followed these diet, lifestyle or weight loss programs that someone says is what they did to look a certain way and if you want to look like them all you have to do is what they did.
I was talking to someone a couple months ago about one of my reels and I had more than the usual comments on it. But they were all about my calf muscles. This got my thinking wheels going and I thought about how a lot of diet programs probably start. In this specific case, I received positive reinforcement for my calf muscles so, I could create a program to help you get calf muscles like me. Just do what I do and you’ll get toned calf muscles too.
Then when you don’t, it’s your fault, you didn’t do it right, you weren’t committed enough, etc. Meanwhile, I currently do nothing to get toned calf muscles. They are a part of my body and I have had toned, muscly calves for pretty much my entire adult life and have no intention of creating this program but it’s a thought exercise.
I want you to think about this in the context of these lifestyle diet programs. There are usually some weight loss success stories that are promoted but you don’t know their life story, you don’t know how much money they make, how much support they have, what their genetics are like. The people selling a lot of these programs are also saying, hey look it worked for me, it’ll work for you. With intuitive eating you get to focus on what feels good and what works for you.
#3 Intuitive eating takes your health into consideration.
It’s ironic that a lot of people do weight loss or lifestyle programs to feel healthier. But when we talk about healthy eating a lot of the foods that are truly beneficial to you from a health perspective are villainized or made very unappealing by these programs.
For example, fruits and vegetables. Some of the diets only allow very limited fruits and others restrict the types of vegetables or what you put on your vegetables. If you hate vegetables, you probably aren’t going to eat them and even if you kind of like vegetables you might feel limited here or like you need to stick to one or two dishes.
Without a doubt eating fruits and vegetables (any kind of fruits and vegetables, frozen, fresh, canned, organic or not) has been consistently shown to have better health outcomes.
In intuitive eating you get freedom to try different foods prepared different ways including fruits and vegetables without the restriction of forbidden foods or mandatory eating. This lets you explore foods in a very different way and you get to figure out what you actually enjoy eating.
Do you like this food or are you only eating it because one of your food rules says you have to? Do you think you really love that food and are borderline addicted to it or is it just that you have been so afraid of someone taking it away you’ve never actually even tasted even the food? Intuitive eating helps you find something called authentic health, where you have a healthy relationship with food and a healthy balance of foods.
#4 You cannot do rehab for your addiction to food.
You are probably not addicted to food, is there a very small percentage of individuals who could be considered addicted, maybe. But for the most part it’s not actually an addiction even though it can feel that way,
Food is necessary for our survival, so it makes logical sense that our brain and other organ’s preferred source of energy, carbohydrates, lights up the pleasure center of our brain. YES, your body wants you to eat those things. Does it want you to eat to uncomfortable fullness, no. That’s why it tells you that you aren’t hungry anymore and that you’re full.
Most of the time however, the problem is that you go into meals or snacks ravenously hungry. Asking yourself to stop eating at comfortable fullness in that situation is like asking a 2-year-old to have patience on Christmas morning. It’s just unrealistic and there are going to be uncomfortable feelings.
The other reason treating food like an addiction isn’t helpful is that it’s unavoidable. You need food to survive and so does everyone else you know.
#5 Intuitive eating is something you can actually do for the rest of your life.
It’s not a 30 day fix or an until you lose x lbs or reach a certain goal weight. There is no end date. Which for some of you that might be terrifying, that’s ok.
Some lifestyle diet programs will tell you too that this is for the rest of our life and it is, until you gain weight because of hormone changes, hello menopause, or a huge disruption to your life.
When you learn the Intuitive Eating framework and the skills, when you come home to your body and make peace with food, these things serve you for the rest of your life. Intuitive eating helps you navigate any bumps with self-compassion and curiosity and gives you energy and space to flourish.
Your body doesn’t need to be tamed.
It needs to be understood.
It deserves to be respected and loved.
This doesn’t mean you only eat food that makes you feel yucky, or that you never move your body again. Many intuitive eaters actually find a balance with food they never thought possible and learn to enjoy moving their bodies and actually look forward to it. One of the really cool things here is that you get to pass that on to your kids instead of body hate and the message that food is the enemy.
I want to be really clear here though, the goal is not weight loss. You may lose weight, or your may not. You may gain weight, or you may not. The focus is not on weight loss goals but instead on more achievable, attainable and fulfilling goals. To learn more about goal setting check out this blog.
If you do decide that intuitive eating is right for you a new group in the FED Mamas program is starting mid-January 2023. The waitlist is currently open and you’ll save $100 just for being on the list. Grab your spot at here until December 31, 2022.
With kindness and compassion,