Intuitive eating is not a diet. Intuitive eating is not a diet.
Intuitive eating is not a diet.
I cannot say this enough times - because here's the highly-simplified scoop on the nutrition/diet/fitness/"wellness" world: it operates based on trends and fear. We are culturally programmed to believe that we should always be in pursuit of being something we're not. And right now, intuitive eating is getting a moment in the spotlight and being shared in a way that doesn't reflect its principles, capitalizing on those trends and fear and promising a more freeing way to control weight. Many people who take the idea of intuitive eating at face value believe that it is essentially eating when hungry and stopping when full - but really, it's so much more than that. To truly understand intuitive eating, you have to zoom out for the whole picture.
INTUITIVE EATING IS UNDER THE HAES UMBRELLA
The diet mentality almost entirely depends on wanting to control one's own weight and appearance. Therefore, in order to reject it, we have to also embrace health at every size and size diversity. By embracing HAES and intuitive eating, we allow our bodies to become the weight that they can comfortably maintain. But weight loss is not the goal. It's possible that that comfortable weight will be either higher or lower than the weight you start at - but there's no guarantee that it will be lower and therefore, no guarantee of weight loss. So, to truly become an intuitive eater means that we have to first make peace with our current weight and the possibility that our body would like to be a different weight. To market intuitive eating as a weight loss tool would be completely ignoring both its core principles, and the physiology that runs our bodies.
IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK...
If you browse through some of the social media surrounding intuitive eating (which I strongly advise against), there's about a million and one posts that are incorrectly labeling themselves as being pro-intuitive eating - BUT if it looks like a diet, it's a diet. Anything that attempts to prioritize external cues over our own internal body cues when it comes to food is a diet. And in a similar light, anything that preaches some, but not all, of the intuitive eating principles is still a diet. So to say that eating when hungry/stopping when full regardless of satisfaction or cravings or emotions is intuitive eating is not giving you the full picture.
Similarly, advertising intuitive eating as one service provided in a list of diet-centric or weight loss services is also not actually intuitive eating because the philosophy as a whole is not in line with HAES or weight neutrality.
IN PURSUIT OF WELLNESS
It used to be cool to be on a diet and "the thing to do." And in 2017, dieting isn't cool - but "wellness" and "health" are. I use those words in quotes because the things I see being pursued are very black-and-white descriptions of wellness and health and don't take into account the whole person or mental/emotional health. So, any kind of cleanse/eating pattern/elimination without medical reason is still a diet, even if it's taboo to blatantly call them that. Supplements that promise to block absorption of nutrients are a form of dieting, as are suggestions like drinking water to "fill up" before a meal (this won't work and if you're hungry, please eat). Even though something promises to be in your best interest and be healthy, if it's making crazy claims or promoting restriction, it's not coming from a loving, healthy perspective and will cause you stress - which no amount of green smoothies or kale can fix.
CREATING AN INTUITIVE EATING BUBBLE
Knowing how to recognize true intuitive eating from mislabeling of IE as a diet is key to creating a sort of IE bubble around yourself when it comes to social media. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to unfollow accounts that preach dieting, restriction, weight loss, etc. and fill up your feed with non-diet and whole health goodness like Kylie, Robyn, Haley, Rebecca, and Christy.
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