Do you think you have tried and failed at intuitive eating? It’s important to understand that intuitive eating is NOT a diet. And if it's not a diet... you can't fail!
It’s about changing your mindset about food and learning how to eat normally again after years of restricting food and eating by the clock.
Creating a healthy relationship with food isn’t a quick fix and there is no end date to health. So let's unpack the challenges you might face along your path to eating intuitively and how you can overcome them.
P.s. Want help with binge or emotional eating? I think you'll get a lot of value from my FREE 5-day course, in which I teach you strategies that helped me to skip the cravings and feel in control around food. The course will be delivered via email straight into your inbox.💜
Want to feel more in control around food? My FREE webinar has my top 4 strategies to help you stop overeating.
Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy.
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Hello, this is the No Wellness Wankery podcast. My name is Jenna D'Apice. We talk all things wellness wankery and working out how to navigate the crazy health world. I'm joined by my co-host, Lyndi.
Hi, it's Lyndi Cohen here, dietitian, nutritionist and person who hates wellness flankering. So today we talk about why intuitive eating might not work for you, why it hasn't worked for you yet because I hear a lot of people who are like I've tried intuitive eating and I want to like it. I like the principles. I think it makes sense but it didn't work for me and I don't know why. And so there are some common traps that I think people fall into so let's make sure that you're not falling into any of those traps because
intuitive eating is the real deal. This is it. I feel like a big one for me is, I've probably fallen into this and I've heard people like kind of treating intuitive eating like a diet that you can fail and therefore it's another thing you can't stick to. It's you kind of apply old thinking about
other health protocols, other diets to intuitive eating. So what you're talking about is that it becomes a food rule. So like you're like, I can only eat when I'm hungry and I have to stop before I feel full and if I'm not doing that perfectly all the time, then I'm failing. That is such a common one and I think the very nature of intuitive eating is like you're allowed to be imperfect. It's the very thing, it's like you're allowed to like flow and thinking that you're going to do intuitive eating perfectly all the time is certainly a diet. And so there's no expectation that you're only going to eat when you're hungry. That's impossible. There are times where you have a delicious dinner, cake comes rolling out and you're like, that's a good idea. Are you hungry? No, you're absolutely not. And I think simply being able to recognize yourself, I'm not hungry, but that's delicious and I'm going to eat it. That's part of intuitive eating and part of that freedom and flexibility. I don't even want to put a number around how often you're meant to aim to eat when you're hungry and be okay with the fact of not eating when you're not hungry. Just to say that we aim for eating mostly when we feel hungry.
Because as you get into it, you kind of feel a groove of what works for you. Yeah. Sometimes when you kind of get more into intuitive eating, you'll be full from dinner and cake will come out and you know that cake is so allowed that you'll be like, I actually don't feel like cake right now.
Yeah, that's the sweet spot that you actually end up getting to.
And it's not, I don't feel like cake because I shouldn't have cake. It's like, I love cake, cake's great, I can eat cake whenever I want, and you know what, I really don't feel like it.
I can have cake whenever I want. I can love cake whenever I want. Let me just reiterate that. This is a very essential thing. What I find very interesting about intuitive eating is that it's quite hard when you get started, especially if you've been dieting your whole life because you want rules. Rules are easy. Rules are nice to stick to. And intuitively, it's like there are no rules. You're like, what do you mean there's no rules? I'm just going to eat everything. And so it is hard to get started also with the fact that you don't know how to tune into your hunger because you've been programmed and conditioned for all these years that a hunger is something we need to try and avoid, that we need to try and control, been told. And so you're like, I don't even know what hunger feels like. I don't know what fullness feels like. And in the beginning, you're still kind of coming out of this murky relationship with food period. So you're going to eat more than feels comfortable in your tummy. And you are going to eat when you're not hungry because you just feel like it and like the rate of not, I don't say not getting it right, but like you're not going to be the most intuitive eater in the beginning.
Yeah because when I know, for me personally, when I was coming out of dieting my whole life, there was all these foods I never allowed myself to have or do and I had to readjust to that. Like my partner was like when he was going to get KFC on the weekend because he felt like it, I was like oh well I suppose like maybe I could have some too. I've never been able to do things like that. So it's a new adjustment period.
And how long have you been doing intuitive eating for now? Probably like a year.
Yeah, it takes a long time to get into it.
And I'd say I still have moments like that where I gotta double check. That happens less often for me nowadays. But that's the thing is, intuitive eating is the kind of thing where it's a long process of unlearning and creating
new ways of thinking.
Yes, there are people who are like, well, I gave it a crack for three months and it didn't work because it's not at all a quick fix. It's like this lifelong commitment. And part of the thing I hate about intuitive eating is you have to reach a point with dieting where you have failed so much, you've gotten so disheartened by dieting that you're just like, well, literally there is no other choice. Like, I must, I must. And this is why when you try intuitive eating, so often we do crawl back to diets because we're like, well, maybe I'll just dabble in.
Maybe it'll be a bit different this time.
And then we do go back and we're like, oh, no, it failed again. And then you come back to intuitive eating. And so there is this process I find, a bit of like a little dance, where especially in the first little bit, you hop in and out of dieting and you come back to intuitive eating. And eventually you're like, no, I know this is the way. This is the way forward. So diets are very easy to start. We talked about this a little bit. Diets are quick because I'm going to give you rules. You're like, cool. From day one of starting a diet, you feel the best. I am head is in the game. I know what I can eat. I know what I can't eat. You're achieving.
You're kicking boxes. You're getting it done.
You lose weight. You're feeling smug.
It's so good.
The problem with diets is they get progressively harder and harder and harder to follow. Intuitive eating is the exact opposite. It is so hard to get started, but the longer you do it, the easier it gets. I think that is the hardest thing about it, is that you've got to be okay with failing. Failing is what we want, and imperfect eating.
I feel like the biggest positive to me for the whole intuitive eating way of living is the more brain space you get back. Because you could stay on dieting and being a personal trainer and counting your macros and succeed. You could do that for 30 years. You're going to spend that 30 years thinking about food, thinking about what you need to eat, how you need to track it. It just consumes your brain. And when you get into a more intuitive space you can think about
other things because it's not the focus of your life. I hear that and this is big stuff. Brody Ware wrote the book Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Really interesting, she's a palliative care nurse. One of the regrets of the dying is that I wish I had spent less time working. Another was that I wish I had the bravery to do what I wanted to do in life rather than what other people thought I should be doing. I wish I had more time to see friends. I tell you what is not one of the regrets of the dying was I wish I had thought about my weight more. I wish I counted more calories. I wish I had smaller size pants. I wish I had a smaller waist. These are not the regrets of the dying and I think when I look back to my 20s I can have regrets where I'm like, well I wish I didn't work so hard. I wish I enjoyed my 20s more. I wish I worried less and isn't that a thing we all have where we look back at our lives and go, I wish I didn't take it all so seriously. And I think weight stuff and body image stuff gets in so much way of us actually enjoying life. I think we keep our lives small because we're worried what other people are going to think about our bodies. We don't exercise because we're afraid of other people judging us and how we might look. Life revolves around trying to please other people with our body and occupy as little space as we possibly can. I think it's sad. It doesn't need to be like that. It doesn't need to be that way. Let's get away from that place where we're obsessed around food. So one of the things that I want you to kind of go, okay, well, maybe this is like intuitive eating didn't work for me. If you still feel like you're trying intuitive eating, but you're simultaneously still obsessed with food, that's a clue that you're still like one foot in dieting and one foot in intuitive eating. So you probably have all these heirloom trinket diet rules that are lingering like shitty souvenirs, and let's purge them from your life. And the first step to doing that is becoming aware of all these silly diet rules that are clouding your brain and your judgment, making food decisions so hard. So you're trying to eat intuitively, but at the same time, you shouldn't have too much sugar, and it has to be this portion size, and I don't like, I ate too much. So you're not actually intuitive eating, you're still dieting, but now you've got an extra food rule, which is to eat intuitively, which sounds very tricky. So what I would like you to do is create a list of all the food rules that you subscribe to, but also write down all the food rules that you don't subscribe to, but you've heard. For example, things that are just in your brain. Fruit is fattening, sugar is fattening, fat is fattening, you can't have coffee, you must
Carbs are fattening, pasta is fattening, potato is a treat food. Okay, just list and just you're gonna see you're gonna fill up pages probably this can go on and on and then and then every single time that you follow someone on social media and they're like giving you another diet rule even if you don't subscribe to it it sits there in your brain is like maybe I should be thinking about these things. So until we remove these diet rules from our life from our brain you can't eat intuitive. So that's a really kind of key step and it kind of brings me on to the other point is like this is why we should have a professional to help us when you go on an intuitive eating journey. Yeah, yeah, like you can't do it alone. You can't do it alone. It's big stuff, you know, this is like your relationship with food. Something that you're going to eat for the rest of your life, multiple times a day, it's worth investing a little bit in. It doesn't have to be super expensive. You can read a book. A book can be quite an affordable way for you to actually invest in it. Ideally, you could see a non-diet professional who focuses on intuitive eating and not weight loss. If they're promoting weight loss, don't go there. They're bad.
Yeah, because I think the whole intuitive eating reasons why it could have failed, again, you're focusing on weight loss and not focusing on fixing your relationship with food.
Yeah. So if you're still holding on to this idea that I need to lose weight, it is impossible to eat intuitively. Because when you're trying to lose weight, you're going to have things like, oh, but I'm only allowed this portion size, which is in direct counterbalance to what intuitive eating tells us, which is eat according to your hunger on that day, in that moment. It's going to be very, very hard, near impossible to delete those food rules if you still are holding onto the weight loss desire, if you're still weighing yourself, if you're still keeping a food diary by tracking your calories or your points or any of these things. And I know if you've actually dieted a lot, like let's say you've done Weight Watchers, it's very hard to forget points. Like, it's very hard. You're like, oh, I can still remember like calorie amounts off the top of my head. But it's like, do you lie in bed at night and allow yourself to go through and digest how good or bad you were that day. Are you actively weighing yourself? Try to pull back from all these things in ways that you are actively pursuing weight loss. Could be very helpful.
Just like changing the thought in your brain again and again and again, it'll get easier.
It does get easier. Rewiring that brain is certainly gonna get a whole lot easier. So I think there are so many things that we can be doing here that's gonna help you make intuitive eating a whole lot easier. Number one, we're going to get rid of those diet rules to make sure that we're not still holding on to them. We're not still trying to diet and intuitively eat at the same time. Intuitive eating can't become yet another food rule. Enlist help. Get a professional. Of course, this is something that I do. I teach people about intuitive eating. You might want to check out my program, Keep It Real. If you use the code PODCAST, you get 20% off on your website, on the website. So check that out. And I think you have to expect that it's gonna go slow, that it's gonna be harder in the start, that it's gonna get easier. You can always come back to intuitive eating. It's not a club where you're gonna get kicked out of.
There's nothing to fail, so you can always just come back.
Yeah, exactly. So it's a really gracious kind of thing. And just quickly, I just wanna throw out this idea of intuitive exercise while we're here. Intuitive eating, we know what that is. This is an interior body responding appropriately. The same thing applies with intuitive exercise. Intuitive exercise is listening to, hey, it feels a bit niggly in my body today. Maybe I don't need to push myself as hard. Oh, I've got loads of energy. Maybe I push it a little bit and I get a little bit saucy with my exercise today. So the benefit of this is we're preventing injuries, we're improving how we feel in our bodies, and we're getting really exercise that we really enjoy. So intuitive thinking can apply to many areas of our life. It is listening to advice but mostly it's listening to our bodies because the real expert on how you should be eating and how you should be moving is your body. It's constantly giving you clues about how to take care of it and what we need to do is tune out of the diet rules and the noise and tune into your lovely body instead. Just learn
how to listen to it. And thank you so much for listening to us today. This has been No Wellness Wayne Creek. If you're loving the podcast, you'd love to leave a review.
We'd love to hear it, read it, see it. Thanks for listening, guys. Do you feel like you know what you should be eating, but you feel completely out of control with food? You're either eating perfectly or you're face planting into the fridge. Well, if you've got binge eating or you're struggling with emotional eating, I can help. Check out my program, Keep It Real. I've got lots I can teach you and hey, you don't have to be a binge eater for the rest of your life. You can get 20% off Keep It Real when you use the code podcast when you check out via the website. And because I don't want this to be just another failed attempt for you, I'm offering a 30-day money back guarantee because you know what? You just got to give these things a go, no risk. Give it a try. Give it a try. Check out Keep It Real.