A mythical creature holding a heart with "intuitive eating" written on it to represent the myths of IE.

4 Intuitive Eating Myths

There’s a lot of myths out there about Intuitive Eating.

Most intuitive eating myths are perpetuated by diet culture as a scare tactic so you purchase their weight loss product or program. But unfortunately healthcare professionals (including personal trainers, nutritionists, registered dietitians, and doctors) are guilty too 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 intuitive eating myths.

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 intuitive eating 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 intuitive eating myth is false and fatphobic. The fear and mistreatment of larger bodies is systemic in our healthcare system. Thin patients and fat patients receive different treatment. Most doctors don’t realize they’re doing it since medical textbooks support this approach.

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 with the same list of symptoms, is more likely to be told to lose weight first.

Larger bodies are denied healthcare, testing, and treatment simply because of their size. 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. Keto diets ONLY 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. We actually have a lower threshold than any other country for diagnosing people as pre-diabetic and diabetic. Which means, you might receive a pre-diabetic diagnosis 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. 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. I want to help you also heal your relationship with food, fitness and body image by embracing your God-given intuition.

Why intuitive myths have you heard before? Let me know in comments!

Meridith Oram is an anti-diet nutritionist at Love Yourself Towards Healthy where she helps chronic dieters heal their relationship with food, fitness and body image by ditching diet culture and finding freedom in their God-given intuition. Focusing on behavioral change and Intuitive Eating, Meridith helps her clients unlearn diet culture, stop negative self-talk and set wellness goals---not appearance goals. Follow Meridith at @loveyourself2healthy on all social channels.

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