Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Lately, I've been starting my blog entries with the definition of the topic I'm going to go into because I'm seeing these things being thrown around, implemented and enforced not only by coaches but people who decide to follow something without really thinking through the logic before they follow it.
It's like the other night while babysitting my 9 year old nephew. He calls out into the remote headset of the video game he's playing, "Yeah, okay Boomer." Now what are the chances that he actually knows what "Boomer" means or refers to? He doesn't. Now what are the chances that there's actually a Boomer playing with the other kids on this virtual video game. I'd say none. It's the same thing when people say they are following an intuitive eating regimen but still not getting the results they want.
The definition of intuitive is described as using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning - instinctive.
Intuitive eating is an approach developed to help people heal from the side effects of chronic dieting. It teaches people to turn towards inner cues and discover what satisfaction and fullness feel like individually. The emphasis is on honoring health and taste buds together through gentle nutrition.
So, first and foremost, I agree with ALL OF THIS. Re-learning what full feels like to you, identifying your stressors and improving your nutrition is all the good stuff we need in life to be healthy but where does this talk about the quality of that nutrition? Where does it emphasize the importance of essential amino acids, whole proteins and that broccoli is actually a carb? Where is that science of nutrition enforced with intuitive eating - nowhere. All this intuitive eating stuff is filled with foo foo feel good bullshit that gives people permission to be complacent about their health. "Oh, I just don't eat a lot" or "I needed to fuel up" when the reason why you didn't eat all day is because you were stressed the fuck out at work and you binged later that night because you didn't eat all day. Where was the intuition then? Nowhere. You were in flight or fight response which is another instinct we carry as part of self preservation. Is that being intuitive?
The reason why people are suffering from chronic dieting is because half the crap out there with these fad diets is full of deprivation and restriction. It would give anyone a complex if they were forever forbidden to enjoy the foods that they love or to eat several hundreds or even thousands of calories below what their body needs just to run it's normal bodily functions.
So let's talk about being instinctive and let's use a smoker for example. Over the course of a smokers life and daily reinforcement of this horrible habit (ex smoker here so I can say it WAH-WAH) a smoker will eventually light up a cigarette without any conscious reasoning - when they wake up, with their morning coffee, after a hardy meal, at a stop light, with a cocktail, when they're stressed, after sex, right before bed. Guaranteed. So in order to quit smoking you need to break the habits, the associations with events, people and things that trigger the urge to smoke. I used to see all the commercials from Truth.com educating people on the dangers associated with smoking - COPD, heart disease, cancer and more.
The same goes for eating. If you expect to make a difference in your health - you need to change the routine and educate yourself. You cannot rely on your old self to somehow know all of a sudden that, this-that and the other is the new best thing for you if there is nothing to suggest that it is in fact new or even good for you. Oh because you know your body?
So were you not listening to your body all these years to get you to where you are today?
Yes, it's important to tune into your body and identify why you are choosing food as a solution but did you know that if you feed your body the food it actually requires, that conversation with yourself goes a not easier? And how do you know what your body needs if your knowledge of nutrition is limited? Limited by your demographics, your culture, your environment. How do you know smoking is bad for you unless you see the healthy set of lungs sitting next to the smoker's lungs? You don't and that's where flexible nutrition comes in. intuitive eating does not teach your what portions and ratios of nutrients your body requires for your lifestyle or a healthy body composition. With flexible nutrition, any type of food qualifies and I believe it truly allows you to address your health with moderation. For example, if you want to eat your carbs in donuts instead of spinach - you can. If you want to eat your fat in cheese - you can. If you want to have steak for dinner tonight instead of another chicken breast - you can.
There is nothing intuitive about our modern lives. Sitting in the same spot and staring at a computer screen for 8 to 10 hours a day is not something we would instinctively do if we had the choice. Trolling on our cell phones at night until we can't keep our eyes open is is another thing that doesn't come naturally - it's a habit we've formed and reinforced.
If you want to improve the quality of your health and in the end the quality of your life, it's going to be a result of change that comes with a learning curve.
I don't think intuitive eating can truly be achieved until you take a step back, re-calibrate and educate your self on what healthy really means which is literally on the molecular level - your macronutrients - protein, fat and carbs.