Intuitive eating. It’s a phrase we’ve all grown quite familiar with as we see it all across the internet: on YouTube, blogs, pinterst, and even in books. Although there are so many people who say they live by it, let me tell you, as someone who tried it twice and listened to all the intuitive eating principles, why I will never be going back to that way of eating ever again. It’s not what it seems.
I first tried intuitive eating about 2.5 years ago. I have always been the type that needs to be cautious of the amount I eat because I can easily gain weight. I’ve always eaten really healthy ever since I was 12 and understood that certain foods make you feel good while other foods can make you feel sluggish and sick. I’m the type of girl who loves vegetables; like I will order a salad at a restaurant while my family jokingly rolls their eyes at me. But that is actually what I want to order because it is actually what I prefer. So you would think someone like me with such a healthy palate would have no problem staying thin, right? Wrong. Like I said, even with eating 80% clean food, I’ll still gain weight if I’m not watchful of my portions. It can be a lot of work always having to control your food intake so when I heard of intuitive eating, it sounded like a dream.
What Is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating promotes that you can listen to your body, eat what you want, and still maintain a healthy weight while at the same time having food freedom. The founders of intuitive eating do make sure to say that you may gain weight when practicing it and that you may not look the way you want to, but they say that’s OK because your body may not even want to be that lean. OK. I understood that and accepted it. I still of course hoped that I would lose weight or at the very least maintain. The intuitive eating philosophy is that you can eat as much sweets or junk as your craving because after months of that, you’ll eventually become sick of it and no longer want to eat so much of it if any at all. So I tried it.
I am a big chocolate lover. For example, some people will say they can’t finish a chocolate cake because it’s “too rich”. I on the other hand can eat that slice, and another, and another. And I won’t feel sick to my stomach. I seem to have a high tolerance for sweets because I can eat a lot without feeling any negative repercussions. So as I’m going along with my intuitive eating journey, I’m eating lots and lots of sweets. And naturally with such a caloric surplus, I’m gaining weight. But I’m not sweating it too much because I’m told that eventually I’ll get sick of sweets and the weight will “stabilize”. Well, I never got sick of sweets and I ended up gaining 30 pounds! Mind you, I was able to maintain my previous weight loss for years and years. It wasn’t until I tried intuitive eating that I gained all this weight. And also keep in mind that I’m a petite 5’3 so even 10 pounds is noticeable on me. A 10 pound weight gain is enough to get people to ask me if I’m pregnant. That’s how apparent weight gain is on me.
It Made Me Gain Weight… Again😒
So I finally stopped because I wasn’t about to gain anymore than that. I looked terrible, felt terrible about myself, and still could eat many more sweets. On top of that, one of the intuitive eating principles is that if you don’t want to get any movement in for the day, you don’t have to. It’s all according to how you’re feeling. Well during all that weight gain I was feeling pretty miserable and downright depressed so I didn’t feel like moving, and I didn’t. Not one bit.
So I stopped that way of eating and went on a caloric deficit in order to lose the weight I had gained. I went on to lose 20 of the pounds I had put on. With having such a negative experience, you would think that I would bid good riddens to intuitive eating and just be done with it. But no. I saw more youtubers who promoted intuitive eating and praised it so much. So I concluded that it was my fault that I gained 30 pounds, that I must’ve been doing something wrong because it worked for all these people. Right after losing my weight that took me 6 months to get rid of, I decided to give it another try. I thought maybe I just wasn’t listening to my body enough. But guess what happend this time. After doing it for a month, eating really healthy, and working out regularly, I still managed to gain 10 pounds. I gained half of what took me 6 months to lose all because of intuitive eating! Imagine how frustrated that made me! So that’s when I decided to call it quits for good with this way of eating.
It’s Not Worth It
And I know what some of you advocates for intuitive eating are thinking, “you didn’t try it long enough”. Some believe that you gain weight in the first stages but then end up losing some and maintaining at that level once your body adjusts to this new way of eating and so will your eating habits. My answer to that is: it’s just not worth it to me, not at all. I don’t want to have to gain 30+ pounds just so I can eat as much as I want. For me, I rather restrict my portions of sweets but still keep the physique that to me is most attractive. I don’t care about eating all the food if it’s going to make me put on so much weight that I feel self conscious and embarrassed to go out. I love food but I’m good with smaller portions. They still satisfy. I think for me, I will always be the type to want all the chocolate. I just don’t feel grossed out by eating a lot of it. I feel full but once that fullness goes away, I could go for me. To me, that’s no way to live. It’s not teaching myself good eating habits either.
My conclusion of the matter is that intuitive eating only works for those who 1) have never had a problem with weight their whole life or 2) the people who don’t care about weight gain. I noticed that for the youtubers who raved about this way of eating and were thin, had always been thin. They had never had a problem with their weight. So of course eating in a way that just maintains that is not going to cause a problem. And those who weren’t concerned about gaining weight tended to be in the body positive community and they said it themselves that they didn’t care if their weight just kept going up and up and up. I do care so that won’t work for me.
I think intuitive eating can work for a small group of people but not everyone. I, of course, agree with eating what you are craving but in moderation, having it portioned out. That’s how you can maintain your physique without gaining weight. Having a cookie is fine as long as you only have one or two; but that’s not what intuitive eating preaches. With that way of eating, you’re not supposed to worry about serving size. I think we’ve come to a point in society that we don’t want to put any restrictions on ourselves, even with food, even if it is in our best interests.
Those are just my thoughts on the matter. Tell me, what do you think? Have you ever tried intuitive eating before? Is it something you want to try in the future? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.