If you ever want to call a truce on the war with your body, you have to first start by making peace with food. Diets will always keep you wanting what you think you can’t have. Assuming you’re a woman who is a serial dieter like I was, you’ve been quietly or not so quietly resenting your body, blaming your misery and unhappiness on the size of your thighs or any other body part. Isn’t it time to get off the diet roller coaster?
UCLA Study Revealed: Up to 98% of All Diets Don’t Work
Many weight loss experts are saying – “stop dieting.” Emotional eating, or eating to soothe your feelings is very common. In fact it accounts for the near 98% failure rate of dieting. In April 2008, Traci Mann, Associate Professor of Psychology at UCLA shared the results of a composite study of 31 different long term studies, analyzing people who lost weight on diets and opted to have their progress tracked by the study for between 2-5 years. As lead author of the study, she says, “We found that the majority of people regained the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.” When asked what alternative is best to consider in lieu of dieting, Mann said, “Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise.
Intuitive Eating: A Natural Non Diet Alternative To Weight Control
So diets don’t work, but moderation and more activity does. The problem is that as a dieter, you’ve learned to think like a fat person, mistrust your body and ignore your hunger, believing that you can never be satisfied and thinking of yourself as a bottomless pit. There is an alternative. Women with positive body images often avoid dieting and practice a process called “intuitive eating,” a term first coined by nutritionists, Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D. FADA, in their book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works.”
According to Tribole and Resch, “Intuitive eating is a permission based approach to food and eating that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body–where you ultimately become the expert of your own body. You learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and gain a sense of body wisdom. It’s also a process of making peace with food—so that you no longer have constant “food worry” thoughts. It’s knowing that your health and your worth as a person does not change because you ate a so-called “bad” or “fattening” food.
Here are Tribole and Resch’s 10 principles to become an intuitive eater:
1. Reject the diet mentality. Toss out your diet books, and anything else to do with fat and calorie counting. No more dieting.
2. Honor your hunger Eat when your body says, “I’m hungry.” This rebuilds the trust between you and your relationship to food.
3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce on the food wars. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. No more deprivation.
4. Challenge the Food Police Monitor your diet mentality-driven, self critical, body bashing, fat phobic thoughts that push you to fear food and think of eating cake as bad.
5. Respect Your Fullness Become aware and pay attention to the subtle body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Pause in the middle of a meal and notice the difference of how the food tastes when you’re hungry vs. getting full.
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor Engage all your senses in pursuit of enjoying your food. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and pleasurable, you will eat less. There’s an old Japanese saying-Hara hachi bunme-which roughly translated means, “stop eating when you are 80 percent full.”
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to deal with your stress without resorting to eating. Cultivate new ways of learning how to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food.
8. Respect Your Body Make friends with your body. If you can’t appreciate your body for the way it looks, love it for it’s function. Doing this will help you feel better about who you are.
9. Exercise– Find a way of moving that’s fun and enjoyable. Move at your own pace and find what works for you. Avoid having a goal to lose weight. It will activate all your internal resistance.
10 Honor Your Health– Choose food that not only tastes good, but also makes you feel good. As you gain trust with yourself, knowing that you can eat whatever you want, your preferences will change.
According to Tracy Tylka, an assistant professor of psychology at the Ohio State University, she says, intuitive eaters weigh and eat less than women who diet. When they feel hungry, they eat what they want. When the hunger is gone they stop eating. What do you think? Are you ready to learn how to become an intuitive eater?