This continues a discussion of Intuitive Eating, so please catch up by checking out the previous post. To continue with the 10 principles of intuitive eating, Precept #8 is “Respect Your Body” but for dietitians and book authors Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, those words seem to hold meaning slightly different from what we might expect:
Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have a similar expectation about body size.
Next comes “Movement — Feel the Difference,” and what this advises is to focus on how movement feels, rather than how many reps you still owe or how many calories an app says you have burned. It actually is excellent advice.
A person who seeks to feel pampered and spoiled can decide not to pursue that sensation of specialness and fulfillment by eating food. Instead, they can choose the most agreeable kind of movement, and proceed to spend time, money, and whatever other resources are necessary, to include that pleasure in their life. If swimming feels great, do what you have to, to gain access. It’s silly to spend $1,000 for a mattress, where all you do is just lie there, but to deny yourself membership in a health club with a pool.
Last on the list of 10 is “Honor Your Health — Gentle Nutrition.” Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel good. Remember that you don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or become unhealthy, from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.
The hitch is that our sneaky, self-sabotaging brains will want to interpret all of that in a different manner. An intuitive eating enthusiast might hear it this way: “Eat what makes you feel good! Nobody’s perfect, right? You’re not gonna die. Nobody ever died from one pancake. The busybodies are just trying to scare us, because they despise fat people. They hate us for our freedom!”
This is one reason why it is such a good idea and so effective to band together with others for group support — as happens through Weigh2Rock, Dr. Pretlow’s interactive website for kids. It’s all too easy to deceive ourselves, especially about our problem areas. But in a like-minded group, others will notice our stinkin’ thinkin’ and call us on it. Also, when we see other people’s rationalizations and attempts to fool themselves, sometimes we have a flash of insight and realize, “Oh wait, I do that too.”
What does the science say?
Journalist Michelle Ruiz writes,
A longitudinal study published in 2021 found that intuitive eating led to better psychological and behavioral health among people with anorexia and bulimia, and to lower odds of binge eating, fasting, taking diet pills and vomiting.
That sounds promising. Ruiz then goes on to say that in 2021 a meta-analysis of intuitive eating studies was published which “found that the method was positively linked to participants’ body image, self-esteem and psychological well-being.” By then there had been, in all, more than 100 academic papers on the subject, some suggesting that intuitive eating could lead to “improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increased intake of fruits and vegetables.”
(To be continued…)
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “10 Principles of Intuitive Eating,” IntuitiveEating.org, undated
Source: “They Rejected Diet Culture 30 Years Ago. Then They Went Mainstream,” NYTimes.com, 01/18/23
Image by Mike Licht/CC BY 2.0