How Intuitive Eating Promotes Your Health
You don’t have to choose between intuitive eating and your health. Intuitive eating promotes your health and that very fact is why I practice through the lens I do.
Let's get some definitions clear so this message makes sense and resonates.
Intuitive eating is essentially just eating in the absence of the diet mentality. Diet mentality is when you approach food and your body from a place of manipulation, punishment, and complicated math—which all implies that you (and by default, your body) can't be trusted. Intuitive eating, on the other hand, promotes a intrinsic motivation for your nutrition (whereas diets are extrinsically motivated) and promotes a sense of connection with your body called interoceptive awareness. Just like your body communicates it's time to go to the bathroom, your body also communicates its needs with food (and even exercise, rest, creativity and more once you start to really pay attention).
A few other really important things to understand:
The diet mentality is NOT the same thing as health. In other words, diets take you further away from health both in the short and long-term. There is nothing health-promoting about restriction, deprivation, guilt, cutting out entire food groups, or having anxiety and stress around food.
Intuitive eating isn't a checklist: rather, it's about finding what will work for you long-term with how you approach food and how you feed yourself day-to-day. It's not a matter of "following it" or "doing it right" it's about experimentation, curiosity, connection and a willingness to continue to adapt and shift as you learn more about yourself.
Your weight is not the ultimate marker of your health. Diets are typically directly aiming to alter your weight, whereas intuitive eating encourages you to put your concerns about your weight on the back burner. Here's the cold, hard truth: weight loss breeds chaos with food. Wanting to lose weight does not help you improve your nutrition in a sustainable, positive, healthful way. Conversely, pursuing connection with your body, attempting to rid yourself of the diet mentality, and feeding yourself consistently, all while allowing your body to be the weight it is, all lead to greater behavior change over time and improved health status.
I love intuitive eating because it works. It helps people break out of harmful cycles with food. It helps people cultivate a positive connection with food and their body. It leads to improved overall patterns with food. It helps people free up precious time and energy they were spending on food and allows them to go into the world and do what they're good at rather than obsessing about food and body. All of these things add up in a huge way, leading to better overall health and wellbeing.
I work with people with elevated cholesterol. I work with people who have GI issues. I work with people with PCOS. I have clients who have a diabetes diagnosis. I work with people who are fascinated by nutrition and want to learn how to incorporate positive nutrition into their lives. I also work with people who have eating disorders.
I’ve seen the power of rejecting dieting, finding peace with food, centering satisfaction, honoring hunger and fullness, etc. make all the difference for people from all walks of life, with all kinds of different health conditions. Intuitive eating promotes health whereas diets tend to lead to stress, weight cycling, and overall poorer health outcomes.
It’s a powerful framework.