There’s a lot of myths out there about Intuitive Eating. Most are perpetuated by diet culture—often as a scare tactic so you purchase their product or program—or healthcare professionals (including personal trainers, nutritionists, registered dietitians, and doctors) because they truly don’t know any better. They themselves are so deeply entrenched in diet culture, they can’t fathom the idea that health can be achieved without a prescribed diet.
Let’s walk through and debunk the 4 most common myths about intuitive eating.
Myth #1. You’re going to eat junk all day.
Not true. The myth that you’re going to eat junk food all day is the lie perpetuated most by diet culture in an effort to contrast how their program can “save you from yourself.” But it’s not just capitalistic reasoning that leads diet culture from slinging you this lie. They honestly believe this myth is true because they don’t eat intuitively. Overeating “junk” food has been their only personal experience. When you’re stuck in the restrict-binge-restrict cycle, you haven’t had any positive experiences with “junk” foods. You restrict foods that don’t fit your diet/lifestyle plan so often that when you finally let down your defenses, you end up overeating or binging on it because you’ve been denying yourself for so long. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by intuitive eating.
The real truth is with Intuitive Eating you end up striking a balance specific to your body. When all foods fit and are neutralized, you end up having satisfying meals that fulfill all cravings and meet your body’s nutritional needs.
Myth #2. Nutrition Doesn’t Matter.
False. The 10th principle of Intuitive Eating is actually gentle nutrition, but it’s intentionally the last principle for an important reason. When I work with my 1:1 clients, I shift around the order of the principles based on their unique needs and experiences. However, I will never introduce gentle nutrition until the very end because it can become a very slippery slope back into diet culture if they haven’t matured enough in their Intuitive Eating journey. If we allow nutrition to take the lead in our choices, then we’re right back to allowing a third-party to make our decisions instead of trusting our own God-made intuition.
The real truth is that vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates all play an important role in our physical health (I know this because I am a Certified Health Coach and Nutritionist after all.) But God made our bodies to know exactly what they need to survive and thrive. We can trust ourselves to get the right mix of nutrition. We just need to listen!
Myth #3. If your doctor tells you to lose weight because you’re pre-diabetic, you cannot be an Intuitive Eater.
This is false and this is fatphobic. The fear and mistreatment of larger bodies is systemic in our healthcare system. Thin patients and fat patients are treated differently. Most doctors don’t even realize they’re doing it—they were just trained this way. If I were to walk into a doctor’s office with a list of symptoms, they would probably see my naturally smaller waistline and recommend several tests to uncover why I’m experiencing these symptoms. But someone considered “obese” on the BMI scale could walk into that same doctor’s office with the same list of symptoms and be told to lose weight first. They are denied healthcare, testing, and treatment simply because of their larger body. No one is asking the thinner person how they’re thinner—is it genetics or do they have an eating disorder where they heavily restrict calories and over-exercise? No one is asking the larger person how they already take care of themselves, what their genetics are or if they have an eating disorder either. Health is NOT a size!
The real truth is that there’s more to managing your A1C than losing weight and giving up carbs. A keto diet has ONLY been proven to help children with severe Epilepsy. It is otherwise a very dangerous diet wrought with restriction. Additionally, the United States and it’s for-profit health insurance system makes money off of diagnoses, like Type-2 Diabetes, and has a lower threshold than any other country on what’s considered pre-diabetic and diabetic. Which means, you might be considered pre-diabetic here but another just-as-scientifically-advanced country would not give you the same diagnosis!
Myth #4. Intuitive Eating Counselors are Anti-Dieters
Nope. If I were anti-dieter then I would be anti-myself for the majority of my past. I am anti-diet and anti-diet culture, which means it absolutely breaks my heart there are ideologies and systems in place with the sole purpose of making women feel bad about themselves. It makes me so sad how much time and energy I wasted on MyFitnessPal, carb cycling, intermittent fasting, Whole30, restricting myself…and all the other ridiculous measures I took to micromanage my body into a smaller size. It is heartbreaking and often shocking the measures we will take to achieve what society deems beautiful. But it’s not my fault and it’s not your fault. It’s diet culture’s fault.
The real truth is I am not remotely anti-dieter. I was you. My anti-diet culture stance fuels my mission every single day to help you also heal your relationship with food, fitness and body image by embracing your God-given intuition.