I would like to be clear that I do not intend to provide a guide to Intuitive Eating. I am just detailing the basic concept, and my experience of it. If you like the sound of it, you should buy the book! You can read up on the 10 principles here.
Principle #1 – reject the diet mentality
This is a key part to intuitive eating, and one that pretty much led me to buy the book in the first place.
Diets don’t work long term. Of course reducing your calorific intake will make you lose weight, but if it were that easy, there would be no fat people struggling to lose weight. My mind is the issue here; not my body. The book is very strongly against people considering themselves “weak willed”, making the point that a huge number of people yo-yo diet, and struggle to control their eating on diets. The authors believe the fault lies with diets, which they feel are entirely the wrong approach.
The book offers all types of examples, including studies looking at rats and humans. People who restrict their calorie intake ultimately end up over-indulging when the opportunity arises; and this is reflected in many studies with rats. Regardless of the science, it is absolutely true for me.
People who avoid a certain food inevitably end up craving it, and often eating it uncontrollably.
I am concerned that my body and mind are fundamentally misaligned. My mind wants me to eat delicious and fattening food, and my body only needs a limited amount to run and be a healthy weight – and ultimately, it is the biology of my body which dictates my weight. Right? There’s no getting round that.
Nonetheless, it is my mind which controls what I eat, and this is the bit I have to work on. As I already said, we know that reducing calorific intake reduces weight. So why are there fat people? Why don’t I just not eat so much? Why hasn’t that just worked for the past 15 years, eh?
The stupid mind. I have one, and it’s totally in charge. I need to work on this, rather than circumnavigating it and just working on my body (whilst hoping my mind falls in line).
So I reject the diet mentality. Diets see me entering the negative cycle I mentioned on Thursday where I spend half my time starving and half my time eating everything sight whilst dying of guilt. Ultimately, I don’t lose weight – so both body and mind lose out. Diets have led me to this point where my binge eating could be described as epic, and my relationship with food is totally out of control. It probably takes up 60% of my waking thoughts. Maybe more. This just isn’t normal or healthy.
So – fuck off diets. No more.
Yes, I am worried I will gain weight, but another diet won’t fix that. I need to get a grip on my view of why I eat. It shouldn’t be because it’s a meal time which has calories allotted to it. It should be because I am hungry. How hard a concept is that to get??
We’ll see, as I head to principle #2 – Honor Your Hunger.