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Intuitive Eating -- Random Thoughts

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

As I have been reading and processing the book, Intuitive Eating, I have had a few thoughts that I felt would be worthwhile sharing.

1) Why are we so worried about gaining weight when we eat intuitively? Isn't it just as logical (or perhaps illogical) that we could be just as worried that we will lose weight? Perhaps we will start skipping meals and losing our appetite, not eat enough to maintain a normal weight? Perhaps our immune systems will be depleted and we will become weak and sickly? My guess is that we worry about gaining weight (fat) because we do not trust ourselves. We have been so roped in by all the rules that we fear or own ability. We have denied ourselves freedom for so long that we doubt if we can handle it, that we will go out of control in overcompensating ourselves for what we have been denied and just stuff food in our mouths willy nilly. We will get out of control because we have been suppressed for so long.

2) In reading the part about nutrition, I have a little problem with her the idea of labelling food as "play food" or "fun food". To me, the authors just use this as a euphemism for junk food, a term which they try to avoid. It seems to me unwise to divide food into categories of "nutritious" vs. something else. I object to the dichotomy and see food more as a blend or combination of nutrients. If we need to categorize nutrition, it seems a continuum would make more sense. I see the dichotomy as contradictory to some of the principles outlined up to that point in the book, especially that we are to consider all foods equal.
I just think you can't have it both ways of saying that all foods are equal and then start downplaying and limiting some because of apparently questionable food value.

3) I also object to the use of the word "play" and "fun" for what was formerly labelled as junk food on the grounds that it is misleading. This, to me, gives a negative connotation to the word play and fun. I am putting an increasingly high priority on pleasure from food, movement, and life.... in fact, using it as one of my guiding principles. To me, play and fun
are types of pleasure. I would say that eating food period can be fun and you can make eating playful. Play and fun have more to do with someone's personality and attitude than they do with anything else. I don't see play and fun as anything that we should limit. Aren't artichokes fun to eat? Isn't it fun to peel shrimp? Isn't it fun to make make faces in oatmeal with raisins? Isn't eating delicious food and savoring it the whole idea? Calling the rare "treats" that we allow ourselves as play food or fun food implies that everything else, foods that the authors consider nutritious food is the everyday, boring, routine food.

I guess the authors would say......OK, fine........then just call it another word that you can handle. I would say......why divide food into groups at all.

4) I am a little baffled and misled by the choice of the word "intuitive" when naming this way of eating. For me, intuitive gets intertwined with psychic phenomena and ESP, which I do believe in, by the way, but not really as a guide for food choices.
I just wouldn't have chosen this word.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Those thoughts make sense to me. I had not thought intuitive eating in that way. You are educating me in many ways.
    2030 days ago
    I agree! -Especially with Points 2 & 3. I'm not sure what book/author you're referring to, though. (I'm new to your SPage, though. So, I've just joined the conversation.)

    I can understand how "Intuitive" would be linked with ESP, etc., but I also think of Mac computers as being "intuitive" for the user. By this, I mean no need for pouring over tech manuals to figure out how the thing works, it just does what you think it will do. The symbols make sense to us. I think of "Intuitive" as following your gut (this would especially apply to the idea of "Intuitive Eating", LOL). When you're working by intuition, things flow naturally, without interference or need for help from "logic". This way we get the insights that we can't explain the basis of, we just somehow know they are.
    2031 days ago
    Excellent blog!
    2034 days ago
    I haven't done much reading about intuitive eating, but for me, not eating enough is a problem. I really have to use tracking because hunger is not working as a guide to eat enough calories - and I found out the hard way with hair loss, metabolism stopping, etc.
    2034 days ago
    Have you ever noticed how small children eat? One day they concentrate on protein, another on fruit. At least mine did. I also noticed cravings for protein or carbs at different weeks preceding my period. I think about how earlier folks would have eaten...foods in season, available, plentiful or shared. It's nice to think we all have time to plan out balanced diets, but who's to say that a day of vegetables, then a day of dairy, etc. would not constitute balance in another manner.
    2034 days ago
    I am being repetitive but....... When we feel we are entitled to eat anything some corporation, supermarket, vendor, friend, rancher, marketer calls "food", under the rationalization of some deprivation syndrome, we are fulfilling their agenda (intuition) not ours.

    I like your idea of following the nutrition ball and letting our alimentary instincts guide us.
    2034 days ago
    Would "instinctive eating" work better?

    I fall in the category of not trusting myself. I did try a multi-week Am I Hungry? webinar workshop, in which I kept a detailed journal of what I ate and how I felt, looking for triggers and such and talking weekly with a nutrition counselor. At the end, I felt I had gained some insight into my emotional triggers, but I did not feel I was eating intuitively or instinctively, and the few pounds I lost quickly found their way home. I concluded I really needed the structure and the rules. One bit of insight I gained recently was that my satiety point is not the standard 20 minutes, and I think that has been part of my problem all along. My point seems to be at least 30 minutes, and in those 30 minutes, I can shovel in quite a bit of food, even going back for seconds because I'm not full, so I have slowed my eating way down, and that helps.
    2034 days ago
  • A*L*P*
    Check out the book, Am I Hungry? It actually talks about Intuitive Eating as part of the 6th sense. Which, I also believe in. I do see the two as intertwined because as a whole, we tend to ignore our intuitive side for our more prominent senses. In the book, Am I Hungry, it talks about how to use the 5 senses (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell) with the intuitive eating/6th sense. Might be a good read for you.

    As for the terms, "play" foods I think it does give a bit of distinction, but they are nutritionists and I do think it is a way to differentiate nutritionally a piece of chocolate over an apple. An apple is something that is biologically/nutritionally "better" for our bodies than a piece of chocolate, but on a mental plane the chocolate needs to be in the same realm as the apple or else the forbidden fruit syndrome takes over. I can see your view point in the contradiction of terms, though. For me, I see it as a way to NUTRITIONALLY differentiate foods, not to label them.

    For me, learning to trust myself is HUGE. Ihave been sabotaged by diets for so long, I know my body cues, I just worry about being able to stop when full. I still feel like I am in the "hyperconscious" state so I am constantly evaluating where my fullness level is while eating. I have found on more than one occasion, I am leaving food instead of cleaning my plate and I am finding something else if I am not satisfied. But the fear of gaining does still hang around.

    Good observations!!

    2034 days ago
    Very interesting. I haven't explored Intuitive Eating, but I would worry about gaining weight based on my long history of a messed up relationship with food. Thanks for sharing!
    2034 days ago
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