March 3, 2020
“The key to avoiding obesity is embracing what leads to obesity.”
Imagine being overweight and wanting to improve your health and body, then going to a nutritionist for advice and hearing “lol just eat whatever you feel like.”
To most of us, bombarded by the diet and wellness culture, the idea that the healthiest way of eating is to follow your instincts and scoff exactly what you want, when you want it, sounds, frankly, too good to be true.
In an era of superfoods, carb restriction and endless finger-wagging over dairy, sugar and meat, ditching the forbidden list and instead embracing it all — mashed potatoes, biscuits, pasta, bread, whatever you fancy — feels positively sacrilegious. And mildly terrifying.
But that’s the basis of Intuitive Eating, the craze hailed for its body-positive message, currently sweeping the smartest kitchens and most fashionable Instagram accounts from California to Chelsea.
Described last month by U.S. Vogue as ‘a countermovement to the restrictive diets, fasting trends and other dubious self-improvement strategies so many of us are committed to’, Intuitive Eating has exploded in popularity over the past 12 months. London even has its own Centre for Intuitive Eating to train nutritionists and clients.
In fact, it’s not a new movement. This year, it celebrates its 25th birthday. The term was first coined in the book Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Program That Works, by dietitian Evelyn Tribole, now 60, and nutritional therapist Elyse Resch, 74, who describes her Beverly Hills practice as overrun with new patients.
A new edition of the book is being published in June to coincide with the wave of fresh interest.
But why the revival now? Both women cite a backlash against the idea of the perfect female body.
‘I think the #MeToo movement has had a huge impact,’ says Elyse. ‘Women are tired of being told their value is based on their size or shape, and they’re tired of not enjoying their food.
‘One of the greatest pleasures in life is to feel satisfied after eating something wonderful. If you’re constantly worried about your health or your body, you just can’t experience that.’
If women are tired of being told their value is based on their size or shape — which are indicators of their fertility — they’re welcome to try explaining exactly what their value is.
“Doing anything that men do” is not their value, because men already do anything that men do.
What is women’s unique contribution to humanity, if not their wombs?
Here, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch reveal the secrets to Intuitive Eating in an extract from their life-changing book…
Yes, you can eat anything! When you allow yourself to eat all foods, a choice for chocolate becomes emotionally equal to a choice for a peach. It means your food choices do not reflect your character or morality. Intuitive Eating will not only change your relationship with food; it may change your life.
We do, of course, understand that initial sense of fear. Often it comes from an overpowering anxiety that, if you’re ‘allowed’ to eat anything, you won’t stop eating a favourite ‘forbidden’ food. Perhaps you are afraid that if chips and chocolate aren’t on the bad-for-you list, you’ll eat them all day long.
But, trust us, when you know that previously forbidden foods are unconditionally allowed, the urgency to have large quantities of them eventually dissipates. At first people often eat larger amounts of foods they’ve previously restricted and they may eat them more often, but that phase doesn’t last long.
How do they explain the existence of overweight kids though?
Are they suggesting that every overweight person is overweight because they somehow feel they weren’t “allowed” to eat what they ate?
Many people use BMI (Body Mass Index) to determine weight categories, but that is a profoundly flawed metric, not least because muscle weighs more than fat.
Instead we use the concept of genetically-determined weight. This is the weight your body will maintain with normal/intuitive eating and normal exercise.
Oh, how convenient.
Your “genetically-determined” weight just so happens to be the weight you’ll have by following their diet plan.
Check out the “ten principles” of their Intuitive Eating scam though.
TEN PRINCIPLES OF INTUITIVE EATING
1. Reject The Diet Mentality
Throw out the diet books that offer you the false hope of losing weight quickly, easily and permanently. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to discover Intuitive Eating.
“If you think that something better than Intuitive Eating exists, it will prevent Intuitive Eating from working.”
2. Honour Your Hunger
Keep your body fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. (Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating fly out the window.) Learning to follow this ﬁrst biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust in yourself and in food.
Right, because people who are overweight are not eating enough calories.
3. Make Peace With Food
Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that lead to bingeing.
There’s lots of kids and people in general who aren’t shamed for what they eat, who don’t think that what they eat is unhealthy, and yet they’re overweight or obese.
4. Challenge The Food Police
Scream a loud ‘no’ to thoughts that declare you’re ‘good’ for eating minimal calories or ‘bad’ because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step.
5. Discover The Satisfaction Factor
In our compulsion to comply with diet culture, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence: the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisﬁed and content.
Of course, because the obese don’t enjoy what they eat.
If only they felt satisfaction when chewing, they’d lose their weight. Makes sense.
6. Feel Your Fullness
Listen for the body signals that tell you you’re no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is.
7. Cope With Your Emotions With Kindness
Anxiety, loneliness, boredom and anger are emotions we all experience. Each has its own trigger and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t ﬁx any of these feelings. It may comfort in the short term. But food won’t solve the problem.
Those two are the closest to useful advice so far: “stop eating when you feel full and don’t eat unless you feel hunger.”
8. Respect Your Body
Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a size 8 shoe would not expect to squeeze into a size 6, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size. Respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are.
9. Movement: Feel The Difference
Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie-burning effect of exercise. One of the reasons women don’t enjoy exercise is that they’re often doing it while underfeeding their body as part of a diet.
10. Honour Your Health
Make food choices that work for your health and tastebuds while making you feel good. Remember, you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. You won’t suddenly get a nutrient deﬁciency from one snack, or one meal. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
No mention of mechanisms of addiction, no mention of actual nutritional advice, no mention of the endocrine system, no mention of gut flora, and no mention of actual tangible stuff.
But plenty of New Age psychological spiritual “accept your self and your chocolate bar” mumbling.
It may very well be the perfect program to sell to women, because women are dumb creatures that will buy whatever tells them exactly what they want to hear.
If you want actual nutrition advice, check out Mr. Anglin’s Stormer Diet Guides.
Spend time in nature.
And spend time with friends.