Intuitive Eating Q&A – Isn’t it unhealthy to eat whatever you want? Why IE is not working for me? (Part 2)

Last week I posted a about intuitive eating where we discussed things like how to stop eating when full, if intuitive eating helps people lose weight, and if it’s ok to eat when not hungry.

And today is part 2 of the Q&A where I will continue answering other common questions. A few things we will discuss in today’s video:

✔️  Isn’t it unhealthy to eat whatever you want?

✔️  There surely is a point when you have to stop yourself from eating, right?

✔️  I tried intuitive eating but why it’s not working for me?

1. Isn’t it unhealthy to eat whatever you want?

In intuitive eating when we say that you eat whatever you want it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will only eat “junk food” for the rest of your life if you finally give yourself unconditional permission.

Studies done on food habituation prove that if people are given free access to some types of foods and they can eat it every day with no restriction then over time those foods become normal, neutral, and ever boring to them. They wont keep eating it forever just because it’s allowed, they actually get tired of it.

food habituationBUT if you are a dieter and you never allow yourself some foods and finally have permission to eat whatever you want then of course at first you will want to eat all the foods you have been restricting. But over time the novelty of some foods will wear off and they will become more neutral and normal again.

And also, it’s a big misconception that intuitive eating doesn’t care bout health or nutrition at all. Actually, in the book “Intuitive Eating” there is a whole chapter dedicated to gentle nutrition and it definitely considers it an important aspect of our health.

But the big difference is that first you must heal from dieting and get rid of the diet mentality, otherwise, you will start focusing on “nutrition” and make it into another diet. This is why in the book “Intuitive Eating” gentle nutrition is the last chapter. Because first, you must go through all the other steps of intuitive eating – stopping the diet mentality, challenging the food police, giving yourself unconditional permission to eat, and so on. Otherwise, if you just focus on “eating healthy” without first physically and mentally recovering from dieting you will make intuitive eating into another diet.

2. There surely is a point when you have to stop yourself from eating, right?

It can be very hard to imagine that you can just stop eating when you are full and not have to use any willpower for it. I truly understand that because I still remember being in disbelief about this exact same thing.

I came from bulimia, binge eating, and overeating, I always felt I needed to be very very full to be satisfied. I just couldn’t believe some people can easily and effortlessly stop eating when comfortably full and genuinely not want more. I thought they just HAD TO be lying about it, it just couldn’t seem possible for me.

But yet it is possible – I can now stop eating when comfortably full, I’m satisfied and I can move on with my day.

And no, you don’t need to do something artificially to try to stop eating. But you need to keep feeding yourself enough food, you need to stop all restrictions, challenge all food rules, include back in your fear foods or the forbidden foods, you need to also give your body rest, not overexercise, lower stress, focus on having more sleep; also work on getting rid of the diet mentality and body image that is often THE thing that makes us want to restrict in the first place. And then you will absolutely restore your normal hunger cues and will be able to stop when full without having to use any willpower. But if it hasn’t happened yet you need to keep working on the recovery steps (everything I talk about in my book) and also be consistent with it and give it enough time. It won’t happen overnight.

3. I tried intuitive eating but why it’s not working for me?

Many people feel intuitive eating is not working for them and there could be many reasons for that.

recoveryFirstly, I talk a lot about recovery and how to recover from any disordered eating or dieting. This means that BEFORE you can be an intuitive eater you need to go through recovery. You can’t just stop dieting today and be an intuitive eater tomorrow, it doesn’t work like that. You need to actually undo a lot of the damage restriction has caused your body physically, like restoring your metabolism, restoring normal hunger cues, going through the refeeding phase, giving your body more rest, and also healing mentally from the diet mentality. Because if on a mental level you still believe some foods are “good or bad”, “healthy or unhealthy”, or you still focus on losing weight it will affect your hunger cues and cause problems with food pretty much the same way restrictive dieting does. Our body and brain are interconnected and they work together. So before you are able to just eat intuitively you must go through recovery and you can read my book to learn about it more.

And the second very common thing why intuitive eating is not working is that people approach it as this “hunger and fullness diet”. They think intuitive eating is all about “eating when hungry and stopping when full according to the hunger scale”. But this is not all there is to intuitive eating. It’s also about un-brainwashing from the diet culture, making peace with food, making peace with your body, healing your relationship with food. It’s not just about the hunger and fullness but it’s a whole new set of behaviors, lifestyle changes, and mental shifts you must make to be able to eat intuitively.

And to learn more about why intuitive eating is still not working for you I have a whole other video about this you can watch HERE.

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.

If you wish to work with me one on one, then I offer Recovery Coaching where I can help you go through your recovery step by step and offer support and accountability. Read more and apply HERE.

Or you can book a one-off coaching call with me HERE.

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