5 Myths of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive Eating is not a new trendy diet. It is LIFE. We have already discussed What Intuitive Eating is and How do I let Go of dieting and move to Intuitive Eating. If you haven’t read those go back and read those first!
Since intuitive eating has become so popular lately, there have been developments about it that are not true. Let’s discuss a few of the most common myths so I can allay your fears on what intuitive eating is NOT.
1. Intuitive Eating is a diet.
NO! Intuitive Eating is not a diet. It is the anti-diet. Intuitive eating is eating when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re full or satisfied. Intuitive eating has no rules, meal plans, calorie goals, or food lists. If your goal is weight loss, OR weight gain, intuitive eating is not for you. Intuitive eating means eating intuitively what your body wants (link to post). Does weight loss or weight gain sometimes occur from intuitive eating? YES! But if you have either as a goal you will not be able to move to intuitive eating. Trust us.
2. Intuitive Eating means you can only listen to your body, never your brain or cravings.
No no no… Intuitive eating means you listen to your body most of the time, but sometimes we also listen to our brains. Let’s say you eat your typical eggs and toast with butter for breakfast and this usually holds you over until lunch, but today you know you’ll be working through lunch due to a long meeting. You decide preemptively to eat a larger breakfast to hold you over longer. You decide to add a small yogurt, fruit, and granola cup to breakfast which causes you to feel slightly overly full after breakfast. Your body doesn’t know it will have to wait longer for lunch but your brain does. Good job! This is better than sitting in your meeting with your stomach growling and feeling like you’re going to eat your hand off.
3. Intuitive Eating=eat whatever I want whenever I want
False again, although it might be true for a small amount of time at the beginning. When you finally choose to move away from dieting to intuitive eating you might feel like you’ve finally given yourself permission to eat WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT. Finally! No more restrictions. But after years of dieting and limiting foods your brain will want ALL THE FOOD. Chill out. This is normal. Our brains react to this like feast and famine. When you were dieting your brain thought you were starving. Now that you are giving it what it wants it might want Hershey bars all the time because you never allowed yourself to eat chocolate prior. You must listen to it. This is a stage of intuitive eating and it is necessary. However, after a month or two you will likely just naturally get tired of said Hershey bars after having 3 a day every day and think ‘maybe an apple sounds good?’ I promise this will happen. Our bodies naturally crave a variety of foods and nutrients. So you will not continue to eat everything all the time.
4. Intuitive eating=gaining weight.
The beauty about intuitive eating is that your body will naturally return to the size YOUR BODY wants to be, otherwise known as your set point. When we restrict food our body sometimes falls to a weight that is not natural for our body, and our bodies fight us. That is why it is so hard to maintain the new low weight and restrictive eating patterns. Our body wants to be at our natural set point which causes ghrelin (the hormone that tells you hungry) to kick in, and thus we feel hungrier and gain the weight back. When you allow yourself to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, your body will return to the weight it was meant to be. Maybe this will mean you will gain weight, or maybe you won’t.
5. Nutrition doesn’t matter
Nutrition is important! We all need to be aware of the unique nutritional needs of our body. However, with intuitive eating it’s taking nutrition into account along with how our body feels when we eat something. Do I love to eat chocolate all the time? Sure! But my body doesn’t love it. When I eat too much sugar I feel sluggish, foggy, and have digestive issues. It doesn’t mean that I never eat it, but I keep into account what my body needs. I know that protein helps my muscles stay strong and for helps me stay satisfied, I need carbohydrates to think clearly and have enough energy, and fat helps me stay fuller for longer. And I know that if I eat a meal that is missing one of those components I don’t feel as satisfied from my meal.
Intuitive eating feels SO good. Don’t believe the myths about it. Eat what your body wants when you want and you will discover how free you can feel around food so you can do all the other things in your life that are way more important than worrying about food all the time.