Intuitive Eating and Weight Loss - Diet Review

- POSTED ON: Jan 09, 2018

If your wish is to:
 
Eat what you want,
Enjoy every guiltless bite,
and Be happy with
whatever way your body looks,

Intuitive Eating works flawlessly,

… but it stops at that point.


Intuitive Eating is letting your body tell you What, When, and How Much to eat.
                             It is NOT a weight-loss tool. 

Intuitive eating means making decisions based on what your body wants, rather than what your mind thinks it should eat. 

The body has a survival mechanism that determines the weight it wants to be. 

When a person who is currently at the weight that their body naturally wants to be, begins to successfully eat intuitively, that body weight will be "effortlessly" maintained.

However, almost every person who is under a “normal” weight, or who is at a “reduced obese” weight, weighs less … sometimes far less … than the higher number that their body’s survival mechanism considers optimal or “normal” for them. 

This means that when those people begin to successfully follow their body signals, they are going to gain weight.  "Reduced obese" people will usually re-gain ALL of their lost weight.

The practice of Intuitive Eating is sometimes called the “hunger and fullness diet”.

When you believe that you can only eat when you are hungry, and that you have done something wrong if you have eaten when you were full, you are using Intuitive Eating as a diet.

When a person feels like they’ve “fallen off the wagon” after choosing to eat according to their desires, instead of their biological cues, they are using Intutive Eating as a diet. 

A person can ONLY “fall off a wagon” when there’s a wagon to fall off of.  The term, “wagon” is a metaphor for "diet": meaning a set of rules, ideals or beliefs around food that we let determine how we feel about ourselves. 

Resisting whatever weight that your body considers to be your natural weight, makes it impossible to get to a “neutral and intuitive” place with food. 

Any Intuitive Eating guru who teaches normal eating, but also promises-or-implies a weight-loss result, raises a big red flag. 🚩 Lessons on listening to your hunger will fall short if you are unwilling to gain weight. That’s a diet masked as “intuitive eating”.


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Existing Comments:

On Jan 10, 2020 oolala53 wrote:
Oolala53 here. Funny, I just saw a post by a rather established author- I can't remember her name- saying not to trust any IE counselor who promises weight loss. (I think the same should be said of anyone who promises that ending bingeing will net weight loss. Empirically unverified!) My observation on IE after decades- people were promoting this way back in the '80's at least and possibly before- is that it takes just about as much handholding and attention to live with IE as any diet. It's just different, and possibly more self-affirming, though God help anyone who develops a health condition that can actually be reversed or helped by a specific diet. What epilectic would be guided to choose a ketogenic diet, even though it was developed for that condition and only incidentally fostered weight loss? I can just imagine some IE advocate saying she would let her body do the guiding to combat diabetes. Stephen Guyenet (The Hungry Brain) reports that at this point, no mechanism in the brain determines smaller chemicals like vitamins and minerals, so the idea that the body will crave kale the same way it craves pizza is unfounded. And anyone who claims that she must have NEEDED fudge because she craved it does not understand the brain's bias for concentrated food. Also, I do actually believe, unfounded on life evidence, that if I lived in a moderate-eating culture, ate mostly non-modern processed foods, and got consistent exercise, I WOULD weigh less but it would like still not be media-thin.


On Jan 10, 2020 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Oolala. I agree. It's good to hear from you again. During the past 10 years I've found your comments to be thoughtful and wise, and have greatly enjoyed reading them.


On Jan 16, 2020 Dr. Collins wrote:
Oolala53 here. Funny, I just saw a post by a rather established author- I can't remember her name- saying not to trust any IE counselor who promises weight loss. (I think the same should be said of anyone who promises that ending bingeing will net weight loss. Empirically unverified!) My observation on IE after decades- people were promoting this way back in the '80's at least and possibly before- is that it takes just about as much handholding and attention to live with IE as any diet, even if the goal is not big weight loss. I'm being rather precise in my eating these days, at least for the first couple of months of 2020, trying to learn a different macronutrient ratio than the one I loosely aimed at for many of my years on No S. That one I tracked years before and got the general sense of so that I didn't track from 2010-2016, and only a few times a year after that, for a different purpose. I can't see my body's wisdom leading me to the meals I'm having! Hope you are well.


On Jan 18, 2020 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Oolala, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It seems rather clear to me that IE people tend to greatly exagerate "body wisdom" when it comes to "weight control". Survival is the body's ultimate goal, and fat storage is one of it's most effective survival methods. It is my opinion that fat and formerly fat people can only become and remain at the weight which our culture deems to be a "normal" weight through tremendous ongoing conscious effort. In the early 1980s, the IE pioneers asserted that following body wisdom would lead to weight loss and maintenance, but time has failed to prove that theory to be valid. Here in 2020, the majority of reputable "experts" have changed their position, and have stopped promising weight-loss and "normal" weight results. They say IE will lead the body weight to adjust to weigh "what it should". Some of them still imply that most fat bodies should fall into a "normal" BMI range, but a great many of them are now embracing "fat acceptance" and teaching IE merely as a tool toward the goal of emotional peace with food even when one's body is - and remains - morbidly obese. I've studied, experimented, and written quite a bit on the Intuituve Eating Issue, and am still of the opinion that for FAT and FORMERLY FAT people, Intutive Eating is an ineffective "weight control = weight-loss" tool.

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