" For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. " Song of Solomon

August 24, 2008

More Intuitive Eating

I've mentioned the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in previous posts. A couple of months ago I came across the expression intuitive eating and not being familiar with it googled it.

Not long after, I came across the book while shopping. Perusing it I found it went right along with what I personally initiated New Years 2007 and decided that I didn’t need to buy the book. Later though, I returned to the store and purchased the book.. I’m so glad I did. I only wish I had this information decades ago. It might have saved me many years of frustrating diets and excess weight.

No matter what diet you are on…or if you are sick to death of diets and vow to never diet again, you can benefit from this book. I've hesitated to give you much information in fear that you might discount the book. The book gives some detailed information that I can’t give in a post or two or three. Basically it helps the reader retrain himself to eat when physiologically hungry, stop when full, quit using food the wrong way and learn how to deal with the myriad other reasons we eat---like eating because it tastes good or eating in social settings for social reasons-- to name a couple.

Two important principles you learn that are key is to honor your hunger and respect your fullness. Using these principles I was able to quit counting calories which is tedious and difficult in many circumstances…often I can only make an educated guess if I’m eating away from home. It was a little scary at first to give myself permission to eat when I was hungry, stop when I was full, so initially I did track my caloric intake…and discovered I was intuitively eating an average of 1600 calories a day. But the beauty of it is I wasn’t eating up to that number or having to restrict myself, wanting more food. I was stopping because I honestly didn’t want the food. But---for this to work---you must give yourself permission to eat what you want anytime you are hungry…no exceptions. If you don’t do that intuitive eating will not work. Any method of eating that restricts food in any way is a diet.

Here’s a brief description of how the hunger scale works. The scale ranges from the numbers 0-10...0 is empty/starving and 10 is stuffed/miserable almost to the point of being sick full, and 5 in neutral, neither hungry or full.

As I said and emphasized above, for the scale to work you must give yourself permission to eat when you are hungry…preferably when your hunger level would be a 3 or 4 on the scale. For many it is difficult to recognize hunger because we are so out of touch with what true physiological hunger feels like. Then eat until your perceive your fullness level to be a 7 or 8. While you are eating you will want to pause periodically and ask yourself “what number am I on the scale?”. It gets easier each time, and having given yourself permission to eat whenever you are hungry, it is easier to stop when you reach the full mark because you know (i.e. you believe--this is key!) you’ll be able to eat again when you are hungry.

For me the way of eating has been a godsend. I heartily encourage you to buy the book, read it and follow the advice. You will find much needed additional information that is key to succeeding with learning how to eat intuitively. Like, what to do if you’re not hungry but your window of opportunity for eating is limited…how to handling eating food just because it tastes good, or is available for a limited time--even though you’re not hungry.

The thing that thrills me about this method, unlike other methods, *there* is* no* gimmick * !!! You will not have the rug pulled out from under you. When the authors say you can eat anything you want and reach a normal “healthy for you” weight, they mean it. It’s not like those books that say you can eat as much as you want and lose weight fast and you think “WOW!”--- only to find out in the third chapter that there are food restrictions or whole food groups are eliminated.

Intuitive Eating also covers eating healthfully while eating intuitively. But no food is limited, restricted or required…..ever. That is why the method works. When we restrict ourselves from eating food we want because it is not healthy, that restriction leads to feelings of deprivation, which then eventually leads, for most of us, to binging on that very food, followed by guilt because we “failed” again….we feel like we have no discipline or will power.

If you’re tired of the cycle of diet, lose, regain….this is the book for you. If you are in a diet plan and it is working well, you may find as I that this method can work quite well in helping you to eat less food and be satisfied with that amount. Eating mindfully-- paying attention-- generally leads to eating less food. And noticing how your stomach feels at different phases in a meal helps you relearn the sensation of what "full" feels like--and gives you an intake measure beyond calorie or point counting.
"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."


I am not a doctor and all information, suggestions, etc are my personal opinion only.