Unfortunately, many programs are now catching on to the fact that people are slowly but surely becoming increasingly less likely to want to “diet”, and are changing up how they market their programs to reflect this. Unfortunately, they are doing this by co-opting increasing body positive, weight neutral language. This can be incredibly confusing for those of us wanting to step away from dieting, because it can make many of these programs seem more tempting. We may find ourselves thinking things like “it says right here it’s not a diet”, or “this person says they are eating intuitively”, or the latest, “I don’t have to track points for as many foods as I use to as part of this program so doesn’t that feel more intuitive?” We hear more people talking about “food freedom” and intuitive eating when what they are really doing at its core, is dieting. Most dangerously, this makes it easy to wonder if maybe it’s possible to follow one of these programs, eat fairly intuitively, and lose weight.
Bottom line yes, some (but not all or even close to most), people find they do lose weight when they are truly intuitive eating. But that’s certainly not true for everyone. More importantly, professing to eat in an intuitive way while still following food restrictions/over exercising is not eating intuitively. (I’ve seen many paleo/vegan/etc bloggers in particular fall into this trap). While this might seem tempting, it is important to remember these people are not eating intuitively. They are still actively dieting whether they want to admit it or not, and this still comes with all the unfortunate effects of dieting on our health and overall wellbeing.
This diet/not diet noise can be incredibly hard to drown out particularly when we are just beginning this journey of changing how we view food. It is easy to get swept up in diets using this language because it feels almost like we have found some common ground between our safety net of dieting and this new thing we are working towards, intuitive eating. I think it’s helpful to really set some black and white limits around this, particularly in the beginning. What I often find myself relaying to clients is that if it’s not coming from a place of listening our own bodies’ needs, as well as cravings and desires, it is not truly intuitive eating and is likely to backfire. For example, if I see someone post on social media about how much better they feel not eating food X, and I slowly maybe even unconsciously, start finding I’m eating less of that food, whether conscious or not, I’m following someone else’s wisdom and not truly listening to my body.
Questions about eating disorders, mindful eating, or anything else food/body image related? Feel free to get in touch!