Intuitive eating is the latest food trend that is all over social media, but can you lose weight while practising it? The simple answer is: it depends!
What Is Intuitive Eating And Can I Lose Weight Doing It?
Intuitive eating (IE) is a paradigm helping us to understand our body and our bodies cues. Honouring our hunger and fullness, dismantling diet culture and letting go of the idea of weight loss altogether and just letting our bodies be. With this in mind, this is why the question of “how can I lose weight with intuitive eating” is complicated!
In order for a person to lose weight, they need to be in a calorie deficit - consuming less than what their body needs. IE looks at making sure a person is eating enough to satisfy their hunger and focusing on how we feel and using health habits as the main indicator of health. It is possible for someone to lose weight while doing IE, however, this will not be intentional and will align with the body's natural hunger and fullness levels.
Initially, however, when someone is first starting with intuitive eating it may seem that they are on a ‘frenzy’, this is due to the fact that you are now allowing yourself to eat all the food that you previously didn’t eat and possibly eating more. Weight gain and loss are natural and happen throughout the year, however drastic weight cycling that is common with dieting can be dangerous (1).
What Should I Focus On Instead?
For some getting over the idea of weight loss can be pretty hard, and that’s okay! Society has made us believe that is the only way that we can be healthy and is our main purpose in life, so fighting against that will be hard. Instead, we can focus on improving our body image and respecting our body.
Below are some simple ways that you can do that!
A daily meditation practice can do wonders for helping us learn how to listen to our body and to start to really learn all the minute messages that our body sends to us on a daily basis. You can find meditations on youtube, Spotify or you can download apps such as Calm and Headspace.
2. Buy Clothes That Fit
Having clothes that don’t fit us correctly and pinch at our skin is one way that we are disrespecting our body and not caring for it. Buying a new wardrobe can be daunting (and expensive) so starting off small by buying fancy and well-fitting lingerie/underwear can not only make you feel great and be the first stepping stone to showing your body respect.
3. Positive Self Talk
We are our own worst critic and as human beings, we are more likely to listen to the negative rather than the good. Telling ourselves positive things can help to drown out the negative voice that everyone has in their heads and can help us to see ourselves in a more positive light and increase our self-esteem.
4. Remember That It’s Okay To Have Bad Days
Whenever you hear about increasing our body image and self-esteem it is sometimes forgotten that we will still have bad days. It is important to remember that some days will be harder than others and that doesn’t belittle any of the work that has been done! This goes hand in hand with both increasing self-esteem as well as starting your intuitive eating journey.
If you want further support on how to start increasing your body image and learning how to handle the bad day's book onto my new workshop here.
Scarlet specialises in body image and disordered eating with a weight inclusive approach. She is passionate about helping people fall back in love with food and themselves and working together as a team to do so. Visit Scarlet’s profile to request her expertise.
Montani, J.P., et al (2015). Dieting and weight cycling as risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases: Who is really at risk? Obesity Reviews, 16(suppl. 1), pg 7-18. Doi: 10.1111/obr.12251