Intuitive Eating: Yes! You Can Stop Dieting and Still Manage Your Weight!

If you’re doing what you’ve always done (dieting), expecting that it’ll be different this time (you’ll keep the weight off and live happily ever after), but despite all your efforts, you just keep getting the same old results (weight regain and more food and body obsession), you aren’t alone. In fact, you sound just like me before I discovered that there are proven ways to ditch your diet and still achieve or maintain a weight that is healthy for you.

Now, it’s only fair that I’m VERY clear here. When I say “a weight that is healthy for you” I’m not referring to that ridiculous number on a scale you’ve been shooting for (ie. your high school weight, your weight on your wedding day after you dieted down to fit into your dress, some 3x/4x/5x your inches over 5ft calculation, Jennifer Aniston’s weight) or even some supposedly-official number your doctor pulled from an insurance chart. In fact, I’m not even talking about a number. I’m talking about the physical state at which you sleep and feel your best, have enough energy and drive to do all the things you want to do, and most importantly, a state your body will comfortably allow you to maintain without deprivation or food obsession. I know you are skeptical (I was too!) and if you’ve spent any time at all living in our weight-obsessed culture, it might take some time for you to come around to this way of thinking, but I am patient and you are worth it so stick aroundj…browse the posts and articles on this site. Ask a question. Learn about the challenges and rewards of giving up dieting forever. Give it a try. After all, what do you have to lose, right?

Intuitive Eating – Honor Your Hunger: Why Not Eating When You Are Hungry Is a Really Bad Idea

diet culture

 

Contrary to what we’ve been taught by the media and weight loss companies, going hungry will not help you lose weight. In fact, if weight loss is your goal, going hungry is more likely to be working against you. Consider the following…

  • Ignoring your hunger sets your body up to physically rebel by making you focus only on eating and food. Your attempts to push down your hunger cause your brain to focus more and more on eating and food. Your body has one driving goal – survival. To survive your body must sleep, eat and drink water. Attempts to deny your body of these most basic needs will be overridden by your survival instinct, which is much stronger than your willpower or your desire to lose weight — and not because you are weak, this is true for humans in general. We are only here on this earth today because our ancestors had strong enough survival instincts to drive them to eat, slept and drink water long enough to procreate!
  • Ignoring your hunger sets your body up to seek out higher calorie foods than you normally might look for if you ate when you were moderately hungry. The hungrier you are the more your body will search out foods that are higher in calories. Most attempts to put off hunger are met with cravings later in the day for foods high in sugar and fat which is why many dieters who eat a very small breakfast (or skip it completely) and restrict at lunch will find themselves binging in the evening on high-calorie foods.
  • Ignoring your hunger will make you more likely to choose poorly at your next meal. The hungrier we are the less time we will give ourselves to figure out what we really want to eat when we do eat. Extreme hunger will drive us to eat the first or most convenient food available, which is not always what you really would want to eat if you weren’t so driven to eat right in that moment.  The foods you choose when you are extremely hungry might fill you up physically and meet your body’s energy requirements but often aren’t psychologically satisfying, leaving you wanting for something else even after you are no longer physically hungry.
  • Ignoring your hunger will make you more likely to not savor your next meal. When we are extremely hungry, we are more likely to eat so fast that we cannot savor or enjoy the food. Like choosing foods that are satisfying, not savoring our food sets us up for overeating as we continue to search for the feeling of being satisfied even after the physical need of fullness has been met.
  • Ignoring your hunger will make you more likely to eat past fullness at your next meal. Eating quickly out of hunger doesn’t only mean that we won’t savor or enjoy the food we eat. When we let ourselves get too hungry we end up eating so fast that we miss the signs that our body sends telling us we are full, leading to eating more than we physically need.
  • Going hungry sends messages to your body to conserve energy. Even if you are able to refrain from eating when hungry and manage to override all your body’s attempts to get you to eat more and/or to eat higher caloric foods, your body has other ways of saving energy and protecting itself from weight loss (which it sees as a threat to its survival). Lowering your basal metabolism is one of these adaptations as is reducing your drive to exercise, move (and even get up off the couch!) and increasing your desire to rest and sleep more hours.  These adjustments are made to balance your energy output with the reduced number of calories you are consuming.

Contact us to learn how we can help you eat intuitively and leave dieting behind for good!

Intuitive Eating – Make Peace with Food: Thoughts On “Clean” Eating

clean eating

Eating “Clean” Will Not Get You into Heaven (and Other Thoughts About the Cleaning Eating Diet)

There is no definition of “clean” when it comes to nutrition. When somebody says they are eating clean it really just means that they are restricting themselves to a list of foods that they personally see as pure and good, whatever they have determined those are.

When people who consider themselves clean eaters cheat or veer from their clean eating strategy and eat something not-so-clean it implies that they are doing something bad or shameful by eating a “dirty” food.

When did it become sinful or immoral to eat sugar? or bread? Why are people being told to feel shame if they eat a doughnut?

You are not good because you only eat “clean” foods any more than that you are bad if you eat junk foods. What you put in your mouth does not determine the content of your character.

Eating clean is just a convenient way for people who consider themselves above diets to diet under the guise of being healthy.

Studies show that any way of eating that restricts you to a certain type or class of food will eventually drive you to crave and binge on the foods you do not allow yourself which is why people who “eat clean” find themselves cheating on their diet (that isn’t a diet) by eating junk food.

What about if we just ate when we were hungry and stopped when when we were full? Or if we just ate whatever we wanted… Not the food we “should” eat avoiding the food we “shouldn’t” eat — but the food we enjoyed and the food that made our body feel fueled and satisfied? Well, that nutrition philosophy is called “Intuitive Eating” and research says we’d not only be happier but we’d be healthier if we ate that way!

Want to learn more about intuitive eating? Start Here

Are your Food and Exercise Habits putting you at Risk for Developing Orthorexia?

For some people, interest in healthy food can transform into an eating disorder. The Authorized Bratman Orthorexia Self-Test below is designed to help you determine whether you have come close to, or have already crossed, that line.

The Bratman Orthorexia Self-Test

If you are a healthy-diet enthusiast, and you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be developing orthorexia nervosa:

(1) I spend so much of my life thinking about, choosing and preparing healthy food that it interferes with other dimensions of my life, such as love, creativity, family, friendship, work and school.

(2) When I eat any food I regard to be unhealthy, I feel anxious, guilty, impure, unclean and/or defiled; even to be near such foods disturbs me, and I feel judgmental of others who eat such foods.

(3) My personal sense of peace, happiness, joy, safety and self-esteem is excessively dependent on the purity and rightness of what I eat.

(4) Sometimes I would like to relax my self-imposed “good food” rules for a special occasion, such as a wedding or a meal with family or friends, but I find that I cannot. (Note: If you have a medical condition in which it is unsafe for you to make ANY exception to your diet, then this item does not apply.)

(5) Over time, I have steadily eliminated more foods and expanded my list of food rules in an attempt to maintain or enhance health benefits; sometimes, I may take an existing food theory and add to it with beliefs of my own.

(6) Following my theory of healthy eating has caused me to lose more weight than most people would say is good for me, or has caused other signs of malnutrition such as hair loss, loss of menstruation or skin problems.

 

If you feel you may be suffering from orthorexia, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: Do You Want to Be Thin or Do You Want to be Loved?

superficial

Do you feel like you have to be thin to feel loved, cherished, respected or cared for??? If so, ask yourself…

Who do you love because they are thin?
Who do you want to spend time with because they are not fat?
Who makes you laugh with their slenderness??
Who has changed your life, helped you when you needed it or saved you when you needed saving – with their shapely thighs?
And who will remember you when you are gone because you don’t take up much space?

I personally have never loved, cherished, appreciated, needed, respected or found anybody more interesting or lovable because they were thin, “in shape”, fit into a certain size jeans, weighed less than me, had a flat stomach or couldn’t pinch an inch.

Have you?

Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: What the Diet Industry Would Hate for You to Find Out

The diet industry is a 20 billion dollar a year industry.  In the US, 108 million people are dieting at any given moment in an attempt to lose weight and reshape their bodies. 85% of these dieters are women.

There are a lot of things the diet industry would hate for you to realize like…

  • 95% of all dieters regain the weight they lost within 5 years. Many gain back even more weight and end up heavier than when they started. Why would you starve yourself for weeks or months on end to just end up further away from your goal?  Well, it might not work for you but guess who it DOES work for? Yep! The diet industry – now they get to sell even more programs, plans, pills, etc to even more desperate dieters!
  • The average dieter goes on 4-5 diets a year. Why is this? Because diets don’t work obviously. If they worked you’d go on one diet, lose the weight and never have to diet again right?
  • Diets are harmful to your health. Studies show that losing and regaining weight is harder on your body and more unhealthy than maintaining your initial heavier weight without ever having dieted.
  • Dieting is a set up for failure. Most people blame themselves and a lack of willpower for their diet failures when really the fault lies with the diet itself. Falling off a diet has nothing to do with willpower. Diet failure is simply the body responding to hunger and a state of semi-starvation or starvation. The body and mind react to a diet in the same way they would to starvation — the body’s metabolism decreases and cravings increase.
  • Diet companies profit when you fail at your diet, blame yourself and pay to sign up again to start the diet anew. What a racket! Would you take your car to a mechanic if he never actually fixed the problems but just kept your car running good enough to drive it back to the shop? How about it every time you took the car in to be “fixed” the car came back with even bigger and more expensive problems?
  • Diets lower your basal metabolism, making it almost impossible to keep off the weight you’ve lost and even harder to lose weight in the future.
  • In addition to continuing to diet, dieters who do manage to lose 30 lbs or more and keep it off for more than 5 years spend on average 1 hour or more a day exercising in an attempt to maintain their new weight.
  • Dieting is a precursor of eating disorders like bulimia, binge eating disorder and orthorexia. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and that 20-25% of those individuals develop eating disorders.
  • You do not have to diet to arrive at or maintain a healthy weight. Intuitive eating teaches individuals how to look inside themselves and listen to internal cues AND provides guidance on how to form a healthy relationship with food. It is an anti-diet approach to eating. There are no rules to break and no temptations to resist. Intuitive eating, unlike dieting and meal planning, is not a set up for failure. Intuitive eaters have been shown to be happier, healthier and to have an easier time managing their weight than dieters.

Ready to ditch dieting and the diet industry and start learning to eat intuitively? Contact us today (or click here) to learn more about our Intuitive Eating coaching.

 

 

Sources: John LaRosa of MarketData; National Weight Control Registry; American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery; Eating Disorders Hope.

 

 

 

Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: Why ‘Diet’ is Just ‘Die’ with a T.

Alisa Anokhina is a doctoral researcher in clinical health psychology at UCL.  Her work covers new areas of eating disorder research at the intersection of the conscious and the unconscious. Her core interest is in understanding how we eat, what we believe about weight loss, and how a ‘diet’ is just ‘die’ with a T.

 

Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: 7 Reasons Not to Diet

dont dietThere are more than enough reasons to ditch your diet and to start eating intuitively instead. Here are a just a few…

1) Diets don’t work for 98-99% of dieters which means only 1-2 people out of every 100 dieters will keep the weight they lose off. Most dieters regain almost all of what they lose (if they lose at all) and many regain even more weight.  In fact,  your odds of being fatter 6 months from now if you go on a diet today are greater than if you don’t go on a diet.

2) Diets set dieters up for binges. Restrictive diets make for deprived dieters. Deprived dieters are more prone to binge on foods that are restricted in their diet, whether that be sugar, carbs or fats. Binges make these now-stuffed-dieters feel guilty and ashamed and even more committed to start another diet, starting the vicious dieting cycle over again. (You know the drill!)

3) Dieting can be very bad for your health. Dieting in general has been linked to an increase in high blood pressure,  type-2 diabetes and increased cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”).   More intense dieting can increase hormones such as insulin and estrogen causing you to put on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance and heart disease. Yo-yo dieting (losing and then regaining weight over and over again) has been shown to increase obesity, shorten life expectancy and lead to depressive disorders related to successive failures.

Additionally, in order to cause weight loss, diets must restrict energy (calories) which can decrease immune system function. Many diets also restrict at least one food group which can result in a loss of important vitamins and minerals. Low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets may increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, in addition to causing problems such as dehydration,  headaches and constipation. And finally, low-fat diets can raise triglycerides and lower HDL (good) cholesterol and testosterone.

4) Dieting can lead to obsessive thoughts about food and body image, disordered eating and even full-blown eating disorders. One particularly sad study followed young dieters over the course of a decade and found that the younger they started dieting, the more prone they were as adults to engage in self-harming behaviors like alcohol abuse and self-induced vomiting.

5) Diets make you feel bad. In order to lose weight even temporarily,  a diet must restrict calories so that your body burns more calories than you consume.  When you eat fewer calories than your body needs,  you don’t feel your best.  Common side effects of dieting include lethargy, sleepiness, physical weakness, headaches, leg cramps, depression and anxiety.

6)  Diets teach you to ignore your body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness, overriding your innate ability to know when to eat and when to stop eating. Following a diet means you aren’t learning how to eat on your own so if you go on a diet to lose weight, you will need to stay on a diet to maintain your weight loss. Translation: you can never stop dieting once you start (without regaining).

7) Every time you lose weight and regain it, the regained weight is increasingly difficult to lose. The body remembers the effects of deprivation caused by the succession of diets over the years, and stores more in reserve in preparation for future diets. Studies show that when dieters lose weight and then regain the same weight, they end up with more body fat and less muscle than when they started.

So how do you manage your weight without a diet?

By learning to eat intuitively…. rejecting the diet mentality, learning to honor your hunger (and fullness) and eating what is physically satisfying to you. Learn more by reading through more of our blog articles l and then contact us to discuss setting up an initial coaching consultation.

Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: Decide Here and Now that You Will Never Diet Again

diet cycle

The first principle of intuitive eating (a strategy that utilizes your body’s inherent knowledge, genetic programming and instinct to help you manage your weight) is to Reject the Dieting Mentality.

This oh-so-important step is where you decide here and now that you will never diet again. Never. Ever.

Easy enough since nobody likes to diet, right??? Well…

Unfortunately, for many of us this could be the most challenging of all the Intuitive Eating principles. And why would we expect it to be easy? Over 100 million Americans are on a diet at any given moment. Little girls as young as 5 put themselves on diets, mimicking their mom and other female role models. Supermodels get thinner and thinner and airbrushing/photo-editing take more and more off of bodies in ads and other public images, slimming them into ideals that can only be obtained (theoretically) by dieting. We live in a superficial culture flooded by media messages intended to sell us products that promise us the moon and because we’ve believed for so long that there isn’t another option – we diet.

We diet, depriving ourselves of all the foods we love until we can’t resist any more and we cave. We fall off our diet and eat all the foods we’ve restricted while dieting…which makes us feel guilty and ashamed – which either drives us right back into another diet or drives us to eat even MORE of all the foods we’ve been craving. It is a vicious, vicious cycle that ends up making us fatter with each go around. Been there?

So….how do you get off this crazy train?

Decide not to ever diet again. Accept the fact that diets are futile. Rebel against the 61+ billion dollar diet industry that puts out diet after diet and diet product after diet product while never helping anybody lose weight and keep it off.

Choose today not to play the game anymore. Look at your own history of dieting – are you any thinner now than when you went on your very first diet? Who do you know who has lost weight and kept it off for a significant amount of time without continuing to ride the diet roller coaster? Call up Jenny Craig or the Atkins people or Weight Watchers or any of your favorite weight loss companies and ask for them to send you statistics on how many of the people paying them their good hard-earned money ever actually lose weight and keep it off – but please don’t hold your breath for them to get back to you.

And if your own diet experiences and the failures of all the “experts” aren’t enough to convince you that diets don’t work it’s hard to argue with researchers at UCLA who did a meta-analysis (a study of 31 other long-term studies) and found that the majority of dieters regained ALL weight lost and THEN SOME and that they would have been better off in the long run simply maintaining their heavier weight rather than dieting in the first place!

Wouldn’t you be happier if you could manage your weight by eating what you wanted when you were hungry and stopping when you were full? Don’t you LOVE the idea of never counting another calorie, carb, fat gram or point? Imagine yourself NOT checking a nutrition label for once or choosing from a menu based on what you really felt like eating, not on what you think you are “supposed” to eat. Free yourself of the shame, guilt and obsession of dieting by vowing to never diet again – REJECT THE DIET MENTALITY!

Eatuitive – Intuitive Eating Blog

Hi. I’m Kris Pina. I created Eatuitive and this blog to share what I’ve learned about dieting, weight loss, body image, eating disorders and non-diet approaches to weight management and health. I am a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, an EDIT™ Certified Eating Disorder Recovery Therpist, a Body Type Practical Nutritionist, and a Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach. Additionally, I am a member of the Central Texas Eating Disorders Specialists (CTEDS), the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) and a supporter of the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement.

But please, if you are going to trust me, don’t do it just because of my credentials. Trust me because I spent over 30 years dieting and struggling with disordered eating before learning that the way to get to and stay at a healthy weight (and live a life free of body obsession, restriction, and unhealthy weight fluctuations) is by not cutting calories, carbs or fats or even by cutting out sugar, grains or gluten. Believe it or not, managing your weight is not about you trying to control or cut out anything! In fact, it’s mostly about letting go of control and letting your body do what it’s beautifully designed to do if left to its own devices (which is to keep you at a perfectly healthy weight!)

So, are you ready to give a non-diet lifestyle a try? I hope so because I am truly excited to welcome you, and I look forward to helping you find freedom from dieting, disordered eating, food-related health issues, weight obsession, and body shame.

Click on the links to the right to read articles and watch videos relevant to dieting, non-dieting approaches to weight management, intuitive eating, body image and eating disorder recovery. Browse the blog articles, check out the resources on the site, and post comments and questions. I’ll do my best to get back with you asap. If you’d like to work with me one-on-one, you can find out more about virtual coaching and/or counseling here.