Why is Intuitive Eating better than dieting?

I can remember hearing about Intuitive Eating when I was still stuck in diet mode, and thinking, “Ugh, that sounds so difficult and inefficient.”

Back then, the only marker of success was weight loss. I thought the only path to happiness was having a thinner body, and Intuitive Eating didn’t make any promises, much less any promises of quick change.

There was no Lose ___ in ___ Days! Or guaranteed anything. Peaceful relationship with food? Yeah, who cares about that?

What is Intuitive Eating All About?

This isn’t a quick fix. Intuitive Eating is a process of repairing your relationship with food. It’s a process of undoing the years of self-blame, self-doubt, and self-hatred. It’s all about listening to your body, and respecting yourself. It’s about honoring your body’s unique needs, and reconnecting with its signals. It takes time, and it’s a wonderful, rewarding process.

This is a long-term solution. You don’t finish Intuitive Eating. It’s a permanent reconciliation with food. Once you implement the principles in your life, you’ll have them forever, and if you get off track, you can come back to them. There’s no on or off Intuitive Eating.

This is all about you. There’s no right way to do it. It’s all about what YOU want and what YOU need. You make decisions for yourself, without guilt. You listen to your body and give it what it needs. You listen to your preferences and eat what sounds good. You aim for satisfaction and peace and happiness. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Will You Lose Weight from Intuitive Eating?

I thought about weight loss a lot in the beginning. It was really hard to believe that there would ever be a time when that wouldn’t be my main goal. It was impossible to believe that there was anything MORE important than losing weight. All that other stuff sounded nice, but I just wanted it to be a tangential benefit of weight loss.

I know why people need the answer to this question. You don’t just decide to be free of diet culture and suddenly stop caring about your weight. Pursuing weight-loss is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Diet culture tells us that our bodies are wrong and someone else knows how to fix them. Diet culture makes us believe that thinner bodies make people happier. Diet culture promotes the belief that all bodies should or can look the same--if we only try hard enough.

Intuitive Eating is about breaking up with diet culture and reconnecting with ourselves. The deeper I got into Intuitive Eating and the more freedom I experienced as a result of listening to and respecting my body, the less I cared about weight loss. The importance of it sort of dissolved. I eventually realized I cared much more about being happy and feeling free than having certain sized jeans. I didn’t try not to care about it, but I trusted the process and it happened naturally.

What’s the End Result of Intuitive Eating?

Happiness. Freedom. Peace.

Sitting down to a meal, and engaging in light-hearted conversation rather than obsessing about the calories or carbs or fat grams on your plate.

Going grocery shopping and picking up things that look great to you with absolutely no guilt.

Listening to your body when it tells you that half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is enough, rather than scarfing down the whole thing because you’ve “already blown it.”

Deciding on a salad for lunch because something crunchy and cold sounds really good, rather than as penance for some misdeed the day before.

Trusting your body, loving yourself, and being a model of happiness.

When people ask, “What’s different about you?” and you know it has more to do with the smile on your face than the number on the scale.

All this is really true. I’ve lived it and I’ve seen others experience it, and it’s magical.

How do Intuitive Eating and Dieting compare? One is about loving, accepting, and taking great care of yourself, and the other is about thinking you are deeply flawed and need to change. Which one of those sounds better to you?

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