Monday, May 7, 2012

"Intuitive Eating? That Sounds Dangerous"


That is exactly what my close friend's doctor said after their most recent visit this week.  Apparently my friend has gained some weight over the past two years and the doctor said she was concerned about the trend.  My friend mentioned that I'm a dietitian and of course what did the doctor say, "You should have him make you a meal plan." My friend, who has been trying to become an Intuitive Eater, tried to explain some of the basic principles.  That is when the doctor laid out the gem that is the title of this blog post.  Her next sentence was, "I would intuit to have a candy bar every day."  Well doc, maybe that is just what your body needs.

Intuitive Eating (IE) is scary for some people.  Imagine what it must be like after years of dieting and the constant good vs. bad fight going on in your head to then say, I can eat whatever I want.  The answer is yes...yes you can.  One of the basic principles of IE is to make peace with food.  This means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat.  When we don't have permission to eat what we crave, we hide what we eat, we binge and most of all we feel guilty and like a failure when we do "cheat."  Until you break down all the existing food rules and diet mentality, you can not learn to listen to your body and choose the foods that honor your health.

I feel horrible now because my friend is once again obsessed with the scale.  They are once again looking at diet books and different tools to help that silly number on the scale go in the right direction instead of focusing on their health.

I think what upset me the most about the doctor's comments was two things.  First, the doctor dismissed IE like it's just some trivial notion...that eating what we crave and making peace with food is something from a science fiction movie.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.  IE is written by accomplished RDs, it's based on research and we are finding that Intuitive Eaters are healthy individuals.  The second is that doctors have influence over people.  And to make a comment like that to someone who is struggling to listen to their intuition is a real set back into their diet mentality.  This is the exact sort of situation that believers of Intuitive Eating struggle with all the time.  It is part of all of our journeys.

If you would like to read some of the research on IE, just click here.  Also, weight is not the only determinate of good health and some would argue that weight is actually a very poor indicator of health. If you are interested in learning more about that go here and here.

As always I welcome your comments.

1 comment:

  1. "Until you break down all the existing food rules and diet mentality, you can not learn to listen to your body and choose the foods that honor your health." Love that thought. Thanks for sharing, Aaron!

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