I often get asked if I eat ‘intuitively’, as I don’t follow a diet.
It seems people assume I must follow some set guidelines (and I have a couple), but Intuitive Eating is definitely not it.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Intuitive Eating has gained popularity as a ‘non-diet’ eating style over the last couple of years. It basically advocates listening to your body’s instincts, no restrictions, eating what you want when you are hungry and stopping eating when you are full.
Sounds pretty good, right? Definitively better than the traditional eat-x-number-of-calories, count-your-raisins diet approach.
There are more-than-a-couple of MAJOR flaws with this approach which means it is a major NO-NO in my book.
- Intuition is open to interpretation
You can kinda argue that anyone who doesn’t diet is eating intuitively, but that definitely doesn’t mean they eat are healthily.
The truth is, people aren’t connected to their bodies to truly understand what their bodies are telling them.
Your body will never specifically ask for junk food, BUT junk food looks good when you are hungry. In this case your body is asking for any food and your brain is able to choose what you have.
It’s pretty damn easy to rationalise that your body wants burger and fries when hunger strikes.
- Most ‘food’ is designed to override your hunger and fullness
You can only trust hunger and fullness fully when eating whole real food – otherwise you need to self-regulate.
Processed food is much easier to eat and massively ups the ability to over consume. Even food which pretty healthy is a risk e.g. cashew nut butter (hand me a spoon) is a lot easier to eat in butter form than as whole nuts.
And it gets a lot worse when it comes to processed junk food, which is specially designed to keep you wanting more.
- Food is not just about hunger and fullness
Intuitive Eating purely looks at food in terms of hunger and fullness, how boring is that!? It totally ignores the social side of food, or the fact that sometimes it is not the worst thing to keep eating something delicious even when your tummy is technically satisfied.
No one is gonna stop me eating the best dessert in world even if I am full. And you shouldn’t feel you have to.
- It is a short sighted approach to eating
Viewing food purely in terms of sating hunger is a majorly blinkered approach. It pays no heed to how your body feels after eating besides the level of fullness. What is your digestion like? Do you feel sluggish? Or energised?
Intuitive eating does not encourage you to explore the long term affects of food on your body which is a major mistake; food is way more than a belly-filler, it travels through you, becomes part of you; it has an effect on you which goes way beyond eating.
- It totally disregards your goals
First and foremost, I want my body to be healthy. But I have some other goals, including – strong, lean and sexy.
Therefore I need to eat with those goals in mind; a cookie once in awhile is great, a cookie every time I feel like one (which can be whenever I see them) is not.
Likewise, I need to ensure that I am getting a good range of nutrients that my body needs e.g. plenty of fat, a good amount of protein, and lots of veggies. I need to consciously choose these to maintain the body I want, rather than trusting my body to ask and assuming I will hear.
- Food is not always the solution to hunger
There are plenty of things which make you hungry which have nothing to do with needing more food, for instance a lack of sleep leads to carb cravings.
Intuitive eating tells you to give your body the carbs that it is what it asking for.
But your body doesn’t really want food, it wants sleep. The carb craving is its coping mechanism as it functions on a lack of sleep.
When it comes to hunger, things are definitely not always black and white.
Bottom Line – Like any diet, Intuitive Eating is still a freaking set of rules for you to follow.