Reject the "Diet Mentality" with Intuitive Eating

Reject the “Diet Mentality” with Intuitive Eating

These are tips from 2 dietitians – The Original “Intuitive Eating Pros”. This is almost the opposite of following a specific “diet” or eating “plan” but I feel that it is an important concept to develop over time. Since diets are plans to get you to a specific goal — after that goal is reached, it’s important to be able to choose foods and listen to your body for prompts on what it actually needs.

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Principles of Intuitive Eating

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. 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 rediscover Intuitive Eating.

2. Honor Your Hunger

Keep your body biologically 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 are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

3. Make Peace with Food

Call a truce, stop the food fight! 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 build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

4. Challenge the Food Police

Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

5. Respect Your Fullness

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In our fury to be thin and healthy, 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 and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough.”

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food

Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion as well as the discomfort of overeating.

8. Respect Your Body

Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

9. Exercise—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. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.

10. Honor Your Health—Gentle Nutrition

Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

Source: Courtesy of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. (Insel 600-601)

Do I Contribute to an Eating Disorder?

Do I Contribute to an Eating Disorder?

A few weeks ago in the gym, an older man that I really don’t know or have ever spoken to very loudly made the comment to me, “Wow! If you lose any more weight, you’re gonna just blow away!”

He apparently thought it was funny since he was laughing obnoxiously while he said it. I was a little taken aback by the random comment and with a bewildered look on my face all I could say was, “Uhh no… I’m actually slowly increasing my weight this month since I’m done competing for the season…” and just turned around to continue training my client.

First of all, you would think that any man with common sense would know not to comment on a woman’s weight, especially not one that you don’t even know on a personal level.

Second of all, someone making the comment to another person that they are too “skinny” is the same exact thing as calling someone who is overweight “fat.” It is just rude and unnecessary. Also, a few days prior to this, I read a post by a friend dealing with the exact same issue. In short, this friend worked her butt off for a few months and lost a lot of weight to get ready for her upcoming wedding! Instead of her friends being encouraging and supportive of her, they made comments that she looked like she was anorexic. Again, not sure what would make someone think this is an acceptable comment to make to someone else, but that’s what was said.

I came across an article in FitnessRX magazine talking about eating disorders in general, some possible causes, and several other factors dealing with eating disorders. Neither I, nor my friend have eating disorders; however, comments like the ones stated can contribute to many people’s eating issues and body image issues in the first place so I wanted to summarize a few points made in the article. I don’t want to take credit for someone else’s writing so I blocked off the summary of the article because most of it is from the magazine, and I just re-worded a few things.


Ways that you may be contributing to another’s eating disorder, even unintentionally:

Praising or glorifying another’s appearance based on body size or attractiveness

Talking negatively about our bodies

Making fun of another person’s eating habits or food choices

Criticizing our own eating

Considering a person’s weight important

Assuming that a large person wants or needs to lose weight

Assuming that a small person needs to gain weight

Showing excessive concerns (positive or negative) about someone’s weight or shape

Practice Positive Thinking:

Focus on how your body FEELS, instead of only how it looks

Use positive affirmations to learn to talk positively about yourself

Surround yourself with positive, healthy people of all shapes and sizes

Treat your body well

Eat a large variety of healthy foods

Treat yourself occasionally without feeling guilty about it

Positive thinking affects how you LOOK and feel. Compliment yourself daily. Stress and negative thinking can have a greater impact on the way you look more than the food you actually eat. Those who care about you will care much more about what you do and who you are than how you look.


These are good reminders to live by in general. This almost seems contradictory, as a personal trainer, since I can’t always stick to all of these… after all, it IS my job to help people become healthy IF they desire to do so. Sometimes it involves their weight and sometimes it doesn’t. Someone in danger of becoming diabetic, absolutely knows that they need to lose weight so that would be something they would discuss with me – but not something I would approach them with. The desire to be healthy and to make a change has to be there before I can do anything to help someone.

So in conclusion, thinking before you comment on someone else’s body can really go a long wayFood for thought, no pun intended.