At the end of recovery the goal is to be an intuitive eater (or just a normal eater) where you can eat when hungry, stop when full, have a normal relationship with food – no fear, no guilt, no overthinking but just eating, enjoying it and living your life! 🙂
I’m sure a lot of you are curious about intuitive eating and have many questions. So in today’s post, I will answer some of the most common questions about intuitive eating:
✔️ What is intuitive eating?
✔️ Is it ok to eat when not hungry?
✔️ Will intuitive eating help me lose weight?
✔️ How to stop eating when full?
This is part 1, the second video will be up next week so stay tuned!
What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating means that you listen and trust your body to guide you to eat. You follow the internal cues and signals from your body, instead of external rules and “shoulds” about eating that most often come from diet culture.
And this doesn’t mean everybody can be intuitive eaters overnight, no. At first you need to go through a recovery period. This means you first need to stop all dieting and restriction, both physically to stop dieting and also mentally to stop thinking like a dieter.
We need to make this physical and mental shift away from diet culture and to heal our bodies and minds from the damage dieting has done and then over time we can go back to intuitive eating where we can eat when hungry, stop when full without effort, and most importantly – we will have food freedom and a healthy relationship with food.
Answering Your Most Common Questions About INTUITIVE EATING
1. Is it ok to eat when not hungry?
Yes of course it’s ok to eat when not hungry sometimes. Because intuitive eating has to fit into your life, and you shouldn’t fit your life around intuitive eating.
This means that in our everyday life we often can’t plan every possible situation, and we shouldn’t feel like we must micromanage our eating or be “perfect” with our eating. Perfectionism with eating is actually part of diet mindset and it doesn’t fit with intuitive eating.
In real life all kinds of situations happen when you may eat when not hungry and it’s perfectly normal.
Lets say you ate your dinner at home before you went out with your friend. You maybe thought you will go out for drinks but she expected that you will go out to eat. So what do you do in this situation? This really depends on what you want to do but in this scenario, it would be perfectly fine if you choose to eat with her just for the sake of company, or because it would just be weird if you didn’t eat anything while she is eating, or because having something from the menu sounds delicious despite that you are techincally not hungry but just disiring something.
Or another scenario is maybe that you wake up in the morning and you are not quite hungry yet BUT lets say you know you will be going to work and you can’t eat in the next few hours so in this case I would definitely eat something beforehand just so I can prevent getting hungry an hour later and not having access to food. Just the other day I was talking about this with my dad because we went skiing over the weekend. And he said something like “we need to eat a big meal to fuel the activity we are about to do.” I wasn’t really hungry for it at that moment (we woke up quite early) but I ate anyways just so I have more fuel for later, and so did he. And he has always been a normal eater.
In real life, there are no perfect days or situations and sometimes unexpected things happen. So eating when not hungry sometimes is the best choice at the moment and it’s really not a big deal. It’s just called normal eating.
2. Will IE help me lose weight?
When you eat intuitively and start listening to your body to guide you how to eat then some people may lose weight, some people may gain weight, some people stay the same weight.
There really is no way to say how anybody’s weight will or will not change with intuitive eating.
But if you come from restrictive dieting, you are undereating, overexercising to keep your weight down then it’s very likely you will gain weight with intuitive eating as you are finally letting go suppressing your weight and eating to your full hunger without any compensation.
Some people may also lose weight with intuitive eating. Maybe they finally overcome binge eating and are now eating normally again, they eat when hungry, stop when full and feel satiafied, they nornalize their relationship to food, they have more balanced hormones and faster metabolism, better digestion, so some people may end up losing weight. But again, this is highly individual as everybody has their own unique set points and body shapes and sizes that are defined by their genetic makeup. Losing weight is not always a sign of improvement and better health the same way gaining weight is not always a sign of worsening of health or that something has gone wrong.
And some people stay the same weight. We are all different, it depends of your dieting history and what condition your body was in when you started recovery and intuitive eating. So it doesn’t always mean you will either lose or gain weight but you could also end up in a similar weight you started with.
But focusing on weight or weight loss is definitely not part of intuitive eating as it interferes with listening and trusting your body. Because intuitive eating is really an internal process, listening and trusting your body to guide you how to eat, not watching your weight and letting this dictate how much and what you “should eat” because that is called dieting. So for intuitive eating, it’s very important to let go of the weight focus because otherwise, it will really mess with your ability to eat intuitively.
3. How to stop eating when full?
It’s very normal that when we come from any disordered eating or dieting straight to intuitive eating it’s not like our hunger cues will become normal overnight. There are so many different aspects and levels to becoming an intuitive eater that we must address and work on first.
For example, for so many people who attempt intuitive eating don’t know that they need to go through recovery first. They expect to be able to eat when hungry and stop when full as soon as they stop dieting, but this is not realistic.
Stopping dieting is definitely the first step. But there are many other steps to truly recover from disordered eating and diet mentality to be able to eat intuitively.
If you come from undereating, dieting, compensating calories with exercise or any other ways you will likely go through a phase of extreme hunger that is totally normal after being deprived. It’s not just “bingeing” but it’s a body’s way to recover and restore itself after being restricted for so long. But as you keep eating and allowing it over time it will pass and your hunger will normalize. And you will stop eating when full naturally without having to use any control or willpower.
And many people don’t know that just *diet mentality* can mess up your hunger cues and result in overeating, not being able to stop when full. Because our body and mind are extremely connected and if you still don’t allow yourself to enjoy food but still have this “good and bad food” mindset, you still criticise and judge yourself for eating something, it still signals deprivation to your brain and it can cause overeating pretty much the same way restrictive dieting does. So healing from diet mentality is also a key to be able to eat when hungry and stop when full naturally without effort.
If you want to learn more about recovery and how to do it step by step then please read my book “BrainwashED”
You can check out my recovery online courses HERE.
Or you can book a one-off coaching call with me HERE.