Dieting and Our Wellbeing
by Registered Dietitian and Intuitive Eating Advocate, Emily Marr.
Dieting has made us all a little crazy, don’t you agree? Even if you have never been on a diet, I'm sure you have unconsciously retained enough of our ‘diet-centric’ culture to have opinions about "good" and "bad" food, along with when, how, and if you should eat them. “Dieting is a dangerous delusion we have all bought into, and understandably so.” (1) If you eat less, biologically you will lose weight, at least temporarily. However, statistically, most diets fail, and the dieter gains back the weight within two years, and then some. ‘Intuitive Eating’ can change everything! (1)
Intuitive eating is an approach created by two registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. Intuitive Eating is not a diet. It gives people unconditional permission to eat whatever they want without feeling guilty. It is a way of eating that has nothing to do with diets, meal plans, discipline or willpower. It’s about getting back to your roots and learning to trust your body again and heal your relationship with food. It teaches you to focus on your internal hunger and fullness cues, trusting your body to tell you when, what and how much to eat. (2)
“We are all born natural intuitive eaters. Babies cry, they eat, and then stop eating until they’re hungry again. Kids innately balance out their food intake from week to week, eating when they’re hungry and stopping once they feel full. Some days they may eat a ton of food, and other days they may eat barely anything. As we grow older and rules and restrictions are set around food, we lose our inner intuitive eater. We learn to finish everything on our plate. We learn that dessert is a reward, or can be taken away if we misbehave. We are told that certain foods are good for us and others are bad – causing us to feel good about ourselves when we eat certain foods and guilty when we eat others.” (2)
There are 10 principles of intuitive eating:
- Reject the Diet Mentality
- Honor Your Hunger
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Respect Your Fullness
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
- Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
- Respect Your Body
- Exercise–Feel the Difference
- 10 Honor Your Health
(read more of the explanation of these principles here)
“Intuitive eating is a peace movement. It’s ending the war with your body, learning to accept our diverse genetic blueprint.” (3) Diet culture has us believing that all the rules we place around food are “truth,” because diet culture focuses on the ‘thin ideal;’ that a body that is not “thin” is not worthy or is somehow wrong. These rules cause us to place an emotional value on food and when we do this, we then internalize it as we eat, leading to thoughts like, “I’m so bad because I ate X.” (3)
Let’s be clear, food is not “good” or “bad” and labeling it this way can cause a lot of problems. Yes nutritionally, all foods are different, just like all bodies are different. Emotionally though, all foods need to be equal. There is no single food that should make you feel as if you are bad, and no food that should make you feel as if you are good! (3) “If we can approach ALL FOODS as emotionally equal, we can truly begin to connect with our own inner wisdom. Intuitive eating is about making peace with food and giving up the needless war against our body and how we eat.” (3)
- Miller, Kelsey. “Why Intuitive Eating Could Change The World.” Refinery29, www.refinery29.com/en-us/2013/12/58356/intuitive-eating#page-1.
- Rumsey, Alissa. “What Is Intuitive Eating?” Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, 24 Aug. 2018, alissarumsey.com/intuitive-eating/what-is-intuitive-eating/.
- Flores, Aaron. “What Does Intuitive Eating Mean?” National Eating Disorder Association Blog, 2018, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/