A lot of people mistake me for an “intuitive eating coach.” Although I think intuitive eating is a wonderful communication tool, helping people “eat intuitively” is not really my ultimate goal, for reasons which I’ll explain in a moment.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about when I say the words “intuitive eating,” I mean a way of eating that is based on the body’s individual, internal hunger cues, rather than food groups or amounts that are prescribed by some external authority.
In essence, intuitive eating means making decisions based on what your body wants, rather than what your mind thinks it should eat.
Learning to connect with your body and listen to its needs, after years of dieting and over-reliance on the mind to make decisions about food is incredibly liberating, healing, and has massive implications for our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
There’s a ton of information about this on the internet (including this mega post I wrote about the topic), as well as many many books — none of which I’ll name explicitly for reasons that I’m about to get into; however, I DO recommend *learning* about intuitive eating as its often the best *first step* to getting off the diet-binge roller coaster. More on this here.
Now, all that being said, the following is why I’m NOT an intuitive coach.
Over and over again, I see women fall into the “intuitive eating diet” trap where they clutch tightly to “hunger and fullness” as a set of rules by which to judge their performance around food.
“But what if I’m at a dinner party and I’m not hungry? Am I allowed to eat?”
“I lost control and ate a muffin when I wasn’t hungry! I suck!”
“I had a spoonful of peanut butter when I wasn’t hungry and it turned into a full-on binge!”
Yeah…because binges are what happen when you think you’re doing something wrong. As long as you’re on the “intuitive eating diet,” there’s still a wagon to fall off.
I also call this the “don’t-eat-emotionally-diet,” where women “give themselves permission to eat what they want” except beat themselves up whenever they “eat emotionally,” (which by the way is a really fuzzy term, with a way worse rep than I think it deserves — another blog post for another time).
In summary, I’m not an intuitive eating coach, because I don’t actually care what you put in your mouth — I care about how you feel about what you put in your mouth; THAT’s the difference between “normal eating” and “feeling crazy around food.” And interestingly enough, there’s a lot of science to back up the claim that people who don’t feel ashamed of their behaviors with food, don’t binge-eat, and eat their feelings wayyyy less than people who beat themselves up for “eating emotionally.”
While intuitive eating is a wonderful communication tool that is teaching thousands of women how to connect with their bodies perhaps for the first time in their adult lives, the “intuitive eating diet,” doesn’t work. Get off of it now.
The principles of Intuitive Eating are just information, and your physical hunger cues are just communication from your body letting you know what it wants. Neither your mind nor your body should rule the other with an iron fist. It’s okay to eat a cupcake for no other reason than that you want one.