I Don’t Believe In Intuitive Eating
I want to bust this philosophy wide open for a second, not to make enemies, but rather to support you in your eating decisions.
If you are feeling guilty for giving in to cravings, please remove the guilt! It doesn’t serve anyone.
A lot of the time, we aren’t totally in control of what we’re eating.
We eat because we are stressed, we eat because we are happy, we eat because we are sad, we eat because of habit, and of course (you knew this one was coming), sometimes we eat things because they are inherently addictive – this is well beyond your control.
Some of the basis of intuitive eating is that you eat what your body feels like…
Well that works for some people.
But here’s the thing.
If you make a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, you “intuitively” want to eat a lot of them. This is how humans are wired. We are wired to gorge on energy dense (aka junk) food.
I see some counsellors suggest people have “just one Tim Tam” and enjoy it and move on.
Look, I’ll admit some people can actually do this… Weirdos!
But for most people, my past self included, that is incredibly difficult. Anyone with me?
And the reason is that Tim Tams are addictive. So you want more and more and more. Maybe your willpower is strong enough that you actually can just have one…. But let’s be honest it’s a struggle and willpower is a finite resource so this doesn’t last. And this leads to bingeing and uncontrollable eating.
But if you’re sitting there thinking, I’m not a chocolate biscuit person, hot chips and burgers on the other hand…
It’s not just sugar that leads to uncontrollable eating.
It’s any food. And sometimes it’s just the actual practice of eating, regardless of what food it is.
Food is delicious. And junk food is often seriously delicious – I’m not a fast food kind of girl, but salted caramel gelato, sweet potato chips, sourdough pizza… I love all of these things.
If these things are put in front of me… Intuitively I want to eat them! I’m only human!
And while I love indulging every now and then (because I’m at a place where I can do it with peace and pleasure and happiness), it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the best choice for my body at the time.
The point here is not that you should never ever eat anything that isn’t perfectly healthy – I very much believe in an 80/20 approach – but it’s that when you do decide to indulge, it should be just that – a conscious decision. In comparison to just eating something because it’s there. There is a big difference.
Which brings me to my next lot of bad advice. I hear a lot of nutritionists saying – before you eat, sit down and think “is this helping my body or hindering it”… Ummm… Big no on this.
If someone is eating something as an emotional response to cope with stress or sadness, they aren’t in a position to stop and think rationally about this.
A better approach is to give them methods to coping with the stress that don’t involve turning to food.
And for my last lot of bad advice… Is to “keep junk food out of the house.”
This is a nice bandaid solution that works in the interim, but here’s where it begins to crack…
You will never live in a world where you can just avoid junk food. It’s everywhere you turn! It’s at the petrol station, at restaurants, on the counter as you order your coffee, in lolly jars at receptions desks and at every event you go to.
To address this at the core issue, you need to work on your internal locus of control so that no matter what situation you are in, you still make the right eating choices for you at the time – whether it’s to say no to junk food or to consciously decide to enjoy it with peace and pleasure.
I don’t want you to blame yourself for not making the right choices all the time.
You are only human! And we are all just doing the best we can.
So before you move on with your day, release any blame or guilt and approach yourself and your diet with love and gratitude.
Want help with this process? Join me and find the Sweetness Beyond Sugar. I created this program exactly for this purpose!