Wellness Wednesday: What if Intuitive Eating Doesn't Work?

What if intuitive eating doesn't work? It's a commonly asked question in my practice. Discussing why intuitive eating always works for today's Wellness Wednesday post. 

What if....

It's a question that pops up pretty frequently in my office, especially with new intuitive eaters. What if this whole intuitive eating thing just doesn't work for me?

I completely understand why it's a fear. Most people who are coming to intuitive eating have spent years, decades even, trying to control their weight through dieting. None of the diets have worked, so why would intuitive eating be any different?

They're used to feeling like a failure when it comes to feeding themselves. So of course there is a sinking feeling of hopelessness at the thought of trying something new.

Do you have the same fear about trying intuitive eating, that it won't work for you? Take a step back and listen to those fears for a minute. Is that voice really saying, "what if it won't help me lose weight?"

When I hear someone express fear about intuitive eating, it almost always means is they're afraid intuitive eating won't result in weight loss. They're drawn to the idea of feeling freedom around food....but they also want to fit in their old skinny jeans.

Making the decision to embrace the intuitive eating process will almost certainly result in slips, bumps, failures, and setbacks along the way. It may a longer and more challenging journey than you ever imagined. But in the end, it will always work. That's because for intuitive eating to work, you simply have to learn and grow. There's no expectation of perfection with intuitive eating. It's impossible to fail. 

Whether you lose weight or not with intuitive eating has nothing to do with it working because weight loss is not the goal. The desired outcome of intuitive eating is health, which is distinct from weight, despite much of what you're told. If you're feeding your body regularly, learning to stop when satisfied, starting to honor your emotions without food, choosing more food that makes you feel good and experiencing less guilt when eating foods you love, then intuitive eating is working and you are getting healthier as a result, regardless of whether you lose weight.

But maybe you're still tied to the idea of weight loss? So what's your alternative? Sure, you could go on a diet, anything from an uber restrictive fad diet to weight watchers or just try to cut back a bit, but we know 95% of attempts at purposeful weight loss inevitably fail. Not only that, but studies show the number of diets you attempt correlates directly with weight gain. Basically, dieting is a pretty foolproof method of weight gain.

I would and could never predict whether someone is going to lose weight, gain weight or stay the same with intuitive eating. But I do know that intuitive eating is your best bet at reaching your natural weight, the size your body wants to be, and maintaining it.

If you're still drawn to the idea of weight loss, you may be feeling a bit hopeless. I think that's a good thing. When you've given up hope that diets are the solution, then you're ready for intuitive eating.