Let me be the first to say, I am big fan of intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is the practice of taking cues from your body to naturally understand hunger signals to achieve a healthy weight. I’ve been on board with it for a long time and have had a lot of success. But, in reality, I am not the norm. Many have tried intuitive eating and in their mind failed. Why?
Why doesn’t it Work
First off, intuitive eating can sound like a care-free Zen way of living but in reality, many people practicing it are still essentially dieting. How so? They are trying to naturally allow their bodies to tell them what they need while still paying attention to their weight, there physique and beating themselves up when they feel like they have fallen off the band wagon. Call it what you want but in my opinion those behaviors do not go hand in hand with intuitive eating.
One of the reasons intuitive eating is so hard for many has to do with our natural habits over a lifetime of experiences. You don’t just wake up one day and decide to implement this and have success. If you do, congrats, but that’s not the norm. Our ability to intuitively eating is based on years and years of practice. We are the sum of many small life time moments. Every healthy food with which you have fueled your body, every workout you’ve completed, every time you have stopped to enjoy your food and consider from where it has come, every time you have turned the T.V. off and sat with you family to really enjoy a meal, every time you have stopped to really think about how the food you just ate made you feel. All those things count over the years. If those haven’t had strong patterns that have been embedded over many years you are probably going to struggle at first with this practice. And for a while, it probably won’t work.
Another reason it doesn’t work is intuitive eating is designed to bring your body to its optimal state. There are a whole lot of women out there running around trying to chisel an unusually lean, slim physique.
News flash!!!! We are not supposed to look like that.
The vast majority of us cannot get to that point without manipulating our body in an unhealthy way. Our bodies will rebel and often give us cues it’s not on board. That’s why women who excessively train and diet lose their period, lose their hair and in many cases end up with autoimmune disease. It’s also sometimes the reason young women can’t get pregnant. The body doesn’t work like that. Everyone has a natural set point. The point where your body feels like it’s in its optimal state. When you try and push that boundary your body will challenge you. That’s why many people in that scenario end up taking strange supplements, fat burners and other means to accomplish this goal. Sorry, but intuitive eating is not going to work to help make you leaner than you really should be.
Finally, many women have never really learned enough of the basics to be able to jump to an intuitive eating plan. In the society we live in it’s very hard to even know what is considered a healthy food and what we should eat for optimal performance. Everyone is a little different in that respect. Some thrive on higher levels of protein, some people can tolerate dairy better than others and some feel best when they eat a vegetarian diet. However, no one really has even run around preaching that a Twinkie helps you become your best self. In the same breath, there is a little room for some foods we know aren’t ideal. The body tolerates that, when having it isn’t the norm for you.
- You need to educate yourself first before you jump into intuitive eating.
- You really need to follow a plan and track how you feel.
- You need to examine the macro and micro nutrients you are consuming so you know what is in food.
- You need to meticulously read labels for a while so you are well aware of the ingredients…. And, you need to read up on what those ingredients are so you know how they WILL or WILL NOT serve your body.
- You need weigh and measure food so you know what a serving size is.
- You need pay attention to how much sugar is in food and beverages.
- You need to keep a food journal with not only what you ate but how it made you feel.
And once you have done that for a while, you will understand how things effect your body. You will be educated on how food not only impacts physique but also your mental state. You will learn how proper nutrition can cure you from almost any ailment you have. You will understand!
It is not an easy path. I’m sorry, but just like getting in shape, you are going to need to put a little work in. And after you understand these things, you will be successful with intuitive eating, because you get it. You will know when you are giving your body something it doesn’t like, even if it tastes good, and you will limit those things. And finally, you will need to work on loving your body and every state. The body naturally wants you to be in optimal health and will guide you in getting there if you listen. However, its definition of that is probably not 10% body fat, so you will need to accept that and be happy with the amazing person that you already are.
We created Our Fit Mom Guide to the Body you Love and Our 10 Day Flat Belly Plan to help you on your journey. We believe these books are valuable tools to help you better understand your body and eventually be able to institute an intuitive eating practice that works. Our plans are designed to nourish the body with healthy foods and will help you better understand how to eliminate unhealthy food cravings to best achieve your optimal weight.