In this episode of How to Live a Life of Peace with Food, I’ll recap on what Intuitive Eating is, and then answer the question about whether it works.
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Welcome to my bite-size video series on How to Live a Life of Peace with Food. I often get asked if Intuitive Eating ‘works.’ In this video I’ll recap on what intuitive eating is, and then answer the question about whether it works.
My name is Vania Phitidis and I am the founder of Peaceful Eating, where I help people stop obsessing about their bodies and what, when and how much to eat, so they feel relaxed around food, at ease in their bodies, and use all that freed up energy to do the things that really matter to them. I’m a certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, a qualified mindful eating coach and I’ve been mentoring and coaching people for over two decades.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating consists of 10 principles which help you to relearn how to trust your body to guide you with your eating and exercising. It helps you to identify and let go of all the internalised rules you’ve learned through dieting about what, when and how much to eat and exercise, as well as harsh criticisms about your body and how you should look… all these learned messages need to be recognised and challenged.
Intuitive Eating also involves learning how to meet your needs and manage your emotional life without resorting to food by default, and over time, getting into a balanced and nurturing relationship with food and exercise.
So, does Intuitive Eating work?
The first thing to think about when you ask, does it ‘work’ – is to ask:
What do you mean by work? Work in what way?
The most likely thing you mean when you ask this, is ‘does it work for weight loss’.
If that’s the question, then I’d have to say it might, and it might not. It depends on whether you’re within your set point weight range which is a range of weight that everyone has, that your body can comfortably maintain, when you’re eating mostly when you’re hungry, stopping mostly when you’re comfortably full, not restricting any food groups, and doing regular movement that you enjoy.
If you’re above your set point weight range, then you may lose some weight.
If you’re within your set point weight range, you may lose a little, you may gain a little, or you may stay the same. If you’ve been suppressing your weight with restriction, which means you’re below your set point weight range, you’ll likely gain some weight.
Some people gain weight to begin with, when they remove all those restrictions around their eating and start learning how to make peace with all the foods they’ve been fearing, and then, as they feel calmer around these foods, and the foods start to lose their appeal to some degree they may lose the weight they put on.
If, however, when you ask if Intuitive Eating works, you mean ‘will I stop binge eating’ – I’d say ABSOLUTELY – because if you stop dieting, stop making yourself go hungry, stop mentally and physically depriving yourself of foods, and learn to meet your needs and deal with your emotions without defaulting to food all the time – then you will stop binge eating.
When you ask if Intuitive Eating works and you mean ‘will I be able to stop thinking about food all the time?’ – I’d say, ABSOLUTELY – because when you’re eating in response to your body’s cues, and you’re not forbidding or demonizing any foods, your brain stops being so fixated on it. You get on with your life!
If, when you say ‘does it work,’ you mean ‘will I be able to put food in its proper place in my life and feel neutral about it most of the time, and actually enjoy eating again’ – I’d say YES! ABSOLUTELY!
It all depends on what you mean by ‘does it work?’
If you want all the things Intuitive Eating DOES work for, but you find it really hard to let go of the idea of losing weight, I think it might help you to know that intentional weight loss FAILS for about 95% of people who attempt it. People lose weight to begin with and may even be able to maintain it for a while, but within a few years, almost everyone has regained the weight, and up to 60% of people regain MORE than their starting weight.
And hear this: One of the most consistent predictors of weight gain, is ever having dieted. Any kind of intentional weight loss plan, even if it’s called ‘a lifestyle change’, is considered a diet.
The question is, do you want to continue to spend your life on the weight-loss-weight-regain roller coaster?
There is a way to make peace with yourself, your body and food, and it’s not by dieting! It’s by learning how to eat with attunement and how to separate your self-worth from your appearance. That is where the freedom lies! I’m here for you. And I can’t wait to support you to do just that.
I’d love to know if this was useful to you. Please leave your questions and comments below and I will do my best to reply to them personally. If this video was helpful, please share it, it might help someone else.
Visit my website where you’ll find hundreds of helpful blogs and links to my free eBook and Facebook Community. If you want tailored, expert and compassionate support in making peace with food, eating and your body – book a free Discovery Session to explore working 1:1.
Until then, bye from me, and I’ll see you in the next bite-size video on How to Live a Life of Peace with Food.