• 5 Myths About Intuitive Eating – Busted


    In a culture steeped in diet-mentality, the principles of Intuitive Eating go against the grain. We’re bombarded daily with the notion that the key to happiness was weight-loss and the method of achieving it was a diet – or deprivation, over-exercise, and always-changing rules. Intuitive Eating strips away all that and goes back to the start, before dieting got its hands on us – when we ate naturally and enjoyed activities without checking our fitness monitors. Here are 5 myths about Intuitive Eating – busted.


    1. It Means You Can Eat Whatever You Want, Whenever You Want

    Yes and no. There are no diet rules with Intuitive Eating. A big part of it is giving yourself permission to eat anything and everything. Take a moment – how does that make you feel? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Fear? Perhaps you feel like such freedom would leave you gorging on Hostess cakes and cheesy loaded burgers at every possible chance. Here’s the thing – When you truly give yourself permission to eat without rules, hidden agendas, or timelines, the whole game is changed. Food isn’t bad or forbidden or good and cloaked in morality. Yes, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, but before you go crazy at the sundae bar, hear this. Nutrition still matters. Eating non-stop cookies will eventually make you feel, well, crummy. So will eating non-stop so-called “zero calorie” food. It’s eating with attunement to your body and its signals.


    1. You’re Going To Gain Weight

    Part of Intuitive Eating is disconnecting from the scale. You cannot heal your relationship with food if you’re caught up in weight loss. Like everything in life, there’s going to be ups and downs. The big difference is there isn’t going to be fat-shaming, food guilt, or investing in another diet plan. Weight fluctuation is a part of eating habit changes. If you’ve been restricting yourself to minimal foods for ‘X’ amount of time and finally grant yourself permission to eat, you may go through a Honeymoon Phase. That’s okay. Like actual honeymoons, it’s short-lived and it’s back to reality just a couple short weeks later. If part of giving yourself permission involves eating cheesecake – go for it. Each time, eat it without rushing through each forkful because you’re trying to “hide the evidence.” Feel its texture and creaminess. Is it everything you’d hoped for? Do you love each bite or just finishing it because it’s a rare treat and who knows when you’ll have it again? (P.S. You can have it again, as much as you want, whenever you want). Take notice of the thoughts and feelings that come with the experience. If you want it again the next day, eat it again. Do it until that cheesecake no longer has a pull on you and is just…a food. This doesn’t mean you have to get sick of something to never want it again. It’s an exercise to tell your mind and your body that this food isn’t forbidden. The cheesecake has no special allure associated with it anymore. It’s a food like any other and if there’s cheesecake in the future, I can have it or not without judgment or deprivation. There is no pressure to have it or diet-praise for not having it. It’s your choice to eat and that’s all it is.


    1. Nutrition isn’t Minded and Exercise Isn’t Important

    Yeah, that’s a no here. Nutrition still matters. Too often eating healthfully is interpreted with diet-related, restrictive, “eat this, not that” thinking. Instead, healthy eating is what makes your body feel good. As much as it’s listening to your cravings, it’s also understanding that protein will keep you fuller longer. It’s knowing that eating a carb-protein-fat balanced breakfast will have you set for that big mid-morning presentation. Hello, coconut-cream oats with almond butter and blueberries. It’s getting that after a couple handfuls of candy corn your stomach may be hurting, but that doesn’t mean they’re off-limits forever. It just means you’re listening and learning. Nutrition still matters.

    Exercise is also important, but let’s take a moment to talk about it. Exercise is not punishment for what you ate that day. Exercise is not about FitBit goals, #fitspo, or spending hours at the gym because #goals. It’s not feeling pressure to do lunges down the aisles of Target because a large publication posted a video on IG of a woman doing just that (it was ridiculous and when I called it out for it perpetuating the idea that women should always be working out, i.e. altering their physical appearance at every possible moment, even while shopping -I was called a bitch…I kid you not.) It is okay to exercise. It is okay to rest. It is okay to lift heavy weights. It is okay to walk around your neighborhood. Exercise, or movement as I’d prefer to call it, is about moving your body in a way that makes it feel good. If you like dancing, then dance. If you like running, do it. Do not do it if it becomes a chore – something you HAVE to do. Your choice of exercise is also not your entire identity. It is okay to change, to try something else, to be a cross fitter-turned-yoga convert. You are never one thing and that goes for your eating and exercise habits too.


    1. You Only Listen To Your Body, Not To Your Brain i.e. Cravings Rule

    Like I said previously, nutrition is still vital. Listening to your body is key. But say it’s 2pm, you have an afternoon flight, and you won’t be eating an actual meal for several hours. Now, you may not be super hungry at this moment, but it’s important to have something or else you’re setting yourself up to be ravenous later and facing primal hunger. That’s the kind of hunger where you are so hangry that you eat ANYTHING, EVERYTHING and before you know it, you’ve eaten a ton, aren’t entirely sure what you ate, and aren’t even close to feeling actual satisfaction. Now, what do you eat before that long flight? You may be craving a donut, but know that it won’t keep you satiated for that long, so it’s best to go for the turkey wrap – you could get a donut later after all. Listening to your body is huge, but so is listening to your brain.


    1. It’s Another Diet in Disguise – aka the “Hunger/Fullness Diet”

    We just love do this – we try to put things in boxes. It’s no surprise that people try to put Intuitive Eating into a diet box. After all, if it’s a diet, we can have rules, and that’s the only way to lose weight…SCREEEEECH. Nope. Part of Intuitive Eating is the hunger/fullness scale. It is a tool for gaging and reconnecting with hunger and fullness signals, because so many of us don’t know what they feel like anymore. It does NOT mean only eating when hungry or no eating when you’re not. Like the airport example, you may have to eat when not hungry to ward off primal hunger in the near future. It also means that you may be full from dinner, but you REALLY want that dessert, so you have that too. There is no black and white here; it’s embracing the grey. Intuitive Eating is not a diet and trying to make it one is missing the point completely.

    What busted myth surprised you the most? Are you still unsure about any?

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