Are you googling “how to get abs and a bigger ass with intuitive eating?” While intuitive eating is a viable tool to repair your relationship with food, it’s not meant to drop weight from your frame. You are about to learn why.
Let’s be clear about something:
Intuitive eating is not a dieting tool! It’s a tool to improve your relationship with food and relationship with yourself. It’s for breaking the cycles of yo-yo dieting or emotional eating.
However, when you type “intuitive eating” in Google, you get almost 30 million results. Top ones are “Intuitive eating before and after” and “intuitive eating results.” It’s absolute fuckery because it means people expect to lose weight while eating intuitively.
At the end of this article, I’ll show you how can you both lose weight and keep a healthy relationship with food at the same time. But first, you need to understand what intuitive eating is for and what it’s not for.
What Intuitive Eating Is & What It’s For
Intuitive eating has 4 main components:
- Unconditional permission to eat any food you desire when you are hungry;
- Eating for more physical rather than emotional reasons;
- Relying on your internal hunger and satiety signals for deciding on how much you are going to eat;
- Honoring your health.
To put it all in one capital-A Awesome sentence:
Intuitive eating is a way of eating where you are eating based on your intuition while giving yourself unconditional permission to eat anything guilt-free but still paying attention to your overall health1.
Egis R., Abs Science
Since we now have Instagram “influencers” writing fat loss books, there is a lot of confusion about intuitive eating and how it should be used. Here is what I beg you to understand:
Intuitive eating IS NOT meant to be used as a weight-loss tool. It’s a self-care framework and its purpose is to facilitate a normal eating pattern that has been damaged. It allows you to heal your relationship with food, break dieting cycles, and get more in tune with your hunger and satiety signals.
Intuitive eating states that if at the end of the day you feel like eating a bowl of salad, it’s not because you think: “A salad is a low-calorie food, it might help me lose weight, therefore, I’m going to dig it.”
You eat salad because you know it’s highly satiating food and you want to get health benefits a salad provides.
Intuitive eating can also help you to have greater body appreciation2, lower body image concerns and lower disorder eating that come from chronic yo-yo dieting and doing stupid things while dieting.
If you struggle with binge eating, this article might help.
What Intuitive Eating Is Not For
If your goal is to buckle down and lose the extra 50 pounds around your waist or gain muscle, it can’t be achieved through intuiting eating.
Why? Because intuitive eating is associated with weight stability3.
The premise of intuitive eating is eating according to your biological cues like hunger and satiety. However, your body wants to keep homeostasis (maintaining internal stability in a body). Your body doesn’t give two shits about gaining muscle nor getting shredded. It wants to stay THE SAME.
What the shit, right?
Now, if your goal is to get lean, you have to DISRUPT homeostasis by reducing calorie intake (read The order of priorities for fat loss about that). This is against what intuitive eating stands for. It’s not a viable tool for improving your physique or performance.
I assume, Einstein himself would mumble out something like this:
Trying to lose weight and pursue intuitive eating is like spinning wheels on a bicycle in two different directions. These goals are incongruent. It can’t work together.
While it’s okay for weight loss to happen while eating intuitively as a side effect of pursuing health-seeking behaviors, the amount of weight people lose is minuscule and hardly worth dancing over.
Fucked Up Part About Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating proponents state that one of the strongest predictors of developing an eating disorder is dieting behavior. Even though it’s not supported by empirical studies4. Still, that’s what intuitive eating extremists have decided to focus on…
They see any approach that’s applied to reduce body size as diet culture, thus, it shouldn’t be employed no matter how much you weigh and how harmful being overweight is to your health. According to some, not all, extremists, you can be healthy at every size.
It ignores the fact that… you CAN’T be healthy at every size because one of the most predictive indicators about health is fat levels that you are carrying (adiposity)5.
So, the idea that it doesn’t matter whether you weigh 150, 170 or 300 pounds as long as you are good in your head is, well, verifiably bullshit.
Next, not all dieting is bad. As long as you’re not being completely stupid with dieting, you’ll be fine. If you approach it intelligently and strategically, it can be effective. I’ve even written an article on creating a sustainable diet plan to help you out.
Imagine you see a man get killed driving a race car and everyone is like:
And you are like:
Once you chill the F down…
I believe that intuitive eating is a great starting point for everyone. I also believe that it’s okay for some people to push it a bit harder and lose weight as long as it’s done right, gently and strategically.
The problem is when losing weight becomes all about numbers. When this Uranius (the real name) shoves a number into his head and says: “This is the number that you’re after, do whatever it takes to achieve it, you fat cunt. Until you are fat, you’re not enough as a person.”
To keep you from this evil mindset, let’s get into the way of losing weight while still having a healthy relationship with food.
Drop Weight With A Healthy Relationship With Food
If a diet that you follow is so invasive and reducing your quality of life, you are doing it wrong. You don’t have to eat a certain way and hate your life doing it because a brainless fucknut celebrity on Instagram told you.
Here are two ways that I get my clients to lose weight while also holding on to a healthy relationship with food:
1. Food Does Not Go To Jail
Do you see Ben & Jerry’s, white bread, brownies, or chocolate as “bad” foods? Have you tried to eliminate them just to end up eating way too much of them on a weekend?
If you said yes, then you need to heal your relationship with food if you want to have sustainable and lasting results.
This is the very first thing I want my clients to do. I want them to realize there are no “bad” foods. Food does not go to jail. Food is not “bad”. The DEVIL is in the DOSE.
Eating the whole tub of ice cream at one sitting? Definitely stupid. Having a mini tub after a balanced dinner? No problem.
Like my fellow Australian Astrid Naranjo once said:
No one ever got fat from eating a donut and no one ever got skinny from eating a salad.
If you are in this mindset of “bad” foods, you need to change it. Stop giving power to food. Stop letting food control your life. You have to get the power back.
You do that by breaking the cycle of restriction and fear. You need to learn how to incorporate these “fun” foods into your life. It might mean eating smaller portions, playing with your calorie budget, having them less often, making food swaps, etc.
This is how you take the power back. Any food can be part of a healthy diet. ALL FOODS CAN FIT!
If you have a hard time achieving food freedom, reach out for help at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Ditch A Diet. For A While
I have two clients whose progress is slower than an Amish drag race. But guess what? They are the ones that are going to maintain their weight for life!
The reason why they are progressing slowly is that they are using diet breaks6. This is just a fancy saying of having weight maintenance periods within dieting periods. For instance, these clients are in a calorie deficit for three weeks and then have one week off.
This is the time where intuitive eating can be applicable. This is the time when you can get to a normal life forgetting about tracking & weighing both food and yourself. It’s the time when you can get in touch with your hunger and satiety cues.
The idea of diet breaks has been around for about five years. Not only they can provide flexibility and breaks from dieting but it might support a healthy metabolic rate which makes further dieting more effective7.
To me, diet breaks are all about relieving the psychological stress that dieting can create.
Even a week off dieting can reset your head so that sustainability and adherence to a diet improves. When you know you only have 3 weeks of eating in a calorie deficit, binging like a 10-year old let loose in Willy Wonka’s factory every weekend all of a sudden isn’t necessary.
There is no right or wrong way to use diet breaks. Two weeks on a diet, one week off. Five weeks on, two weeks off, etc. If you don’t have a weight loss timeframe in mind (which you shouldn’t), you can be more flexible taking diet breaks as frequently as you like.
If your diet is some keto nonsense or juice cleanse that allows you to drink nothing but grass until you shit out all of your guts, don’t wonder why you develop eating disorders.
Can intuitive eating help with fixing them? Possibly?
Do you know what’s even better? Dunno, maybe not developing eating disorders?
Don’t be like most dumbfucks. Don’t think you know it all. Don’t try losing weight yourself. Dietitians study nutrition ~4 years (7 in my case) and you think you are an expert after reading “Good carbs, bad carbs”?
Find someone who can help you both lose weight and not fuck up your relationship with food. When done right, gently and intelligently, diet can work without the need to repair your head with intuitive eating.
So, I dunno, hire me to coach you?
For all the illustrations that I’ve made, the least you could do is sign up for FREE 14-Day Fat Loss For Life Course and leave a quick comment. Bye.
This Post Has 2 Comments
Then why did I lose weight with intuitive eating, and exercise, and why accepting myself at the size I was helped me get healthy in the first place? And why any calorie defict I’ve done with a dietician turned back into the binge-purge cycle? I think the problem is that people don’t realize telling someone to accept oneself if the person is overweight does not mean the person should stay that way, it means they should accept that state that they are in now, in order to actually get healthy. And it’s always changing the way we think and feel about ourselves first, before we can get any results from changing any habits.. and well I’m not sure why I even read that article because if eating intuitively has helped me then I should just do me and ignore the people invalidating my experience (as well as others) just because something didn’t work for them :p And honestly me eating intuitively is actually me eating healthy, when I let myself eat sugary foods and stopped with restricting is when I stopped needing as much of them as well, I’ll get one chocolate bar and I’m good for the next few days because my body trusted me that I will never starve it again or not allow it have something it wants, and so it doesn’t need to fight for calories by making me have a binge.
I agree with most of the stuff you’re saying – accepting yourself is definitely a must before actually changing; giving unconditional permission to eat anything you want, etc. I have a few notes, though:
1. And why any calorie deficit I’ve done with a dietician turned back into the binge-purge cycle? – calorie deficit always works. It’s the methods that may not work. Intuitive eating just happened to be a method to induce a calorie deficit that worked specifically for you. Calorie deficit worked for you because the method you chose was right specifically for you.
2. When I let myself eat sugary foods and stopped with restricting is when I stopped needing as much of them as well, I’ll get one chocolate bar and I’m good for the next few days – why do you attach this to intuitive eating? This concept has been around for ages as a core principle of flexible eating. You can find this recommendation in almost every article that I’ve written.
3. I will never starve – that’s your answer why calorie deficit never worked for you. It worked, it’s just you starved yourself which is the opposite of sustainable eating.