With so much focus on weight, and dieting, wouldn’t it be nice to find a healthy, balanced, and enjoyable way to relate to food? One book that has changed the nutrition practice of many dietitians and the life of so many of our clients is Intuitive Eating written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD. With so much truth packed into these pages, it continues to revolutionize people and their perspectives all over the world.
Intuitive Eating says that we can actually trust the intuition of our bodies to tell us when we are hungry, what sounds good to eat, what we need to eat to sustain ourselves, and how much we need to feel full without continually overeating. In essence, Intuitive Eating teaches food is not the enemy and it is possible to not only enjoy food, but also be normal with it. Normal is not a word that many people, especially Americans, can truthfully use to describe their relationships with food. But, it’s possible. I have seen many people reestablish normalcy and make peace with food and their bodies and you can too. There are 10 principles of intuitive eating taught about in this great book. I will highlight the first two now.
“Reject the Diet Mentality”
is principle number one. “Reject is such an ugly and negative word,” you say. Yes! It is ugly and negative, but then again, so are diets! In order to begin the journey of intuitive eating or finding true freedom with food, one must let go of all diets, the propaganda, the illusion that there really is one diet that will work this time around, and the false hope that when that perfect number appears on the scale, all problems will be gone.
We have these incredible vessels called bodies which carry us around and help us accomplish our dreams and goals, but we are not always as caring of these vessels as we should be. We push them too hard by not sleeping enough, feeding them at times way too much, and at other times when we are dieting, way too little. We don’t exercise for months at a time and we exercise far too much at other times.
We believe that these incredible vessels are not to be trusted and so we deny hunger, create rules, restrict certain foods, begin to lose weight, get frustrated, hungry, and cranky, go back to our olds ways, gain weight again and 6 months later recommit to changing and “starting again” because “I have to do something about my weight.” In that entire vicious cycle, intuition and the art of listening to our bodies and honoring what they tell us is nowhere to be found. We have to reject the mentality that diets are the way to health and ultimately that thinness is the priority. We have to find another way!!
“Honor Your Hunger”
is principle number two. To honor something, by definition, is to respect something, to give it reverence, and to show esteem towards it. A few years back, Weight Watchers filmed a TV commercial where the ugly, orange, furry monster of hunger was shown to be lurking around an office building trying it’s best to get the subject of the commercial to be lured into the break room for a doughnut. In order to promote the brand, at the end of the commercial the subject was shown shoving the monster of hunger into a copy machine and essentially shutting him up. Not exactly the picture of honor. Hunger is a gift to be honored and esteemed. Just like our bodies so often give us signals that we have to sneeze, or go to the bathroom to name a few, they also let us know when it’s time we refuel. Hunger is not the enemy, but actually an incredible tool given to us to make sure our vessels are in optimal shape for all that is required of them. Hunger is to celebrated, honored, and satisfied.
If you have enjoyed this short synopsis of the principles of Intuitive Eating you can find more information at www.intuitiveeating.com and stay tuned for my next blog about the next two principles of Intuitive Eating, “Make peace with food” and “Challenge the food police.” Until then, may you begin or continue the journey to freedom with food and peace with your body!
If you have further questions or need direction about getting help for disordered eating or treatment for an eating disorder, please contact me HERE.