Intuitive Eating is challenging and because of this, it can be tempting to try to fit the concepts of intuitive eating into some of the social constructs of diet culture. One of the ways many of us try to do this is by attempting to still “eat intuitively” while tracking calories, points, or even macros. We even see media messages thatcan on the surface appear to embrace a body positive message. For example, the recent Weight Watchers commercials where Oprah talks at length about how she can eat "whatever I want” while losing weight.
When the message is presented like that, why wouldn’t we be tempted? What person with a history of dieting and struggling with self acceptance wouldn’t want to embrace the idea of being able to eat what they want and still lose the weight they want to lose? Sounds like the best of both worlds on the surface! There are quite a few problems with this mindset however. Firstly, these messages of you can be body positive and still diet that we are seeing more and more in the media are very problematic and just serve to perpetuate diet culture but for the purposes of this post let’s get a little more practical, shall we?
My biggest concern with this idea of being able to eat intuitively and still track calories, points etc. is that whether you initially feel restricted or not, your eating is still being dictated by forces outside of your own intuition. For example, yes, I may be able to have this bar of chocolate and fit it into my daily calories, points, etc., but when I only have a given amount of calories, points etc. to work with what happens when I get to that max number for the day and my body is telling me I’m still hungry? I’m either going to restrict and not eat anymore in spite of that hunger or chose to eat and likely feel guilt about going over my daily allotment.
This is not intuitive eating, because intuitive eating at its core it defined by eating guided by our own internal wisdom and not external rules. While it can be wrapped in a fairly intuitive seeming package, this idea of tracking our food in some way is actually counter productive towards becoming a more intuitive eater.
Questions about intuitive eating or anything else food and body related? Feel free to get in touch!