Is intuitive eating not working for you? Or you think intuitive eating doesn’t work in general? In this article, I explain the 3 most common reasons why intuitive eating isn’t working for you…yet! There are some important nuances that often go missed when people try to eat intuitively on their own. So they give up and go back to dieting. Citing that intuitive eating doesn’t work. But it does! Keep reading to learn what changes you can make today to get intuitive eating to work for you.
Why it feels like intuitive eating isn’t working
After years of dieting, it’s really hard to unlearn all the rules and emotions around food that we learned from diet culture. We have allowed external rules to dictate what, when and how we eat. But the main goal with intuitive eating is to look internally for what, when, and how our individual bodies want and need to eat.
But old habits die hard. And sometimes we take the old dieting rules and thoughts, and apply it to intuitive eating. Often times, without even realizing we’re doing it!
Here are the 3 most common reasons people believe that intuitive eating isn’t working or that it doesn’t work for them. Intuitive eating has nuances that can easily be overlooked but this list will help you uncover the barriers so you can successfully move forward as an intuitive eater.
When people want an edge, the quickest thing they do is look outside themselves.Brendon Burchard
1. You think there’s a right or wrong way to eat intuitively.
Think about the last diet you did. If you wrote down every single rule you had to follow, how many would there be? The last diet fad I did was FASTer Way to Fat Loss. I can come up with 13 rules they wanted us to follow. THIRTEEN! That meant there were 13 ways I could be failing at any given time while following that diet/lifestyle program. It also means I was conditioned to believe there was a right/wrong way to eat. It had nothing to do with my body’s needs. But rather, following 13 rules for “fat loss” that ignored my intuition and hurt my self-esteem when I inevitable “failed” one of the many rules.
Have you felt similarly on a diet? Where you have to do it 100% right or else you’ve failed and have to start over? Do you apply this right/wrong, black-or-white thinking to other parts of your life? If so, this could be one of the reasons that intuitive eating is not working for you yet.
Here’s the super cool thing about intuitive eating…
There’s no right or wrong way to do it! That way of thinking is the diet mentality. Intuitive eating takes the power away from food. And gives YOU AND YOUR BODY the power! When there are no more food rules to follow, there’s no way to fail.
2. You think intuitive eating is just about food, hunger and fullness.
This might be the most common reason people cite for intuitive eating not working for them. They purchase the official book, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (affiliate link). Follow anti-diet and intuitive eating coaches on social media. And then, somewhere around page 100, they get bored with the dry, clinical text. They sum up this “method” of eating as the eat-whatever-you want, eat-when-you’re-hungry, and stop-when-you’re-full diet.
But that summary is missing so many critical details and nuances about intuitive eating. So while those 3 things are technically true, they’re out of context.
It’s so much more than food.
Wanting to lose weight is always triggered by a deeper emotion. We want to be accepted and loved by others. We want to fit in. We want people to notice us in a positive way. We want to fit society’s beauty standards of being thin and pretty. We want to look like we workout and eat well.
All of those emotions have nothing to do with food, and everything to do with mental health. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors affect us far more than what we eat. And dieting causes a lot of undue stress when we feel guilty and ashamed by our food choices. It’s why there are 10 principles of intuitive eating, and not just 3. It’s unlearning everything dieting (wrongly) taught us and healing old wounds of not feeling good enough, thin enough, or pretty enough.
In other words, if you’re not addressing your body image issues, it can feel like intuitive eating doesn’t work. Because your body image issues are likely what landed you so deeply in the pit of diet culture for so long. Whereas diet programs use insecurities against you so that you purchase their products and programming. Intuitive eating teaches you to reclaim self-trust and confidence on your own body’s terms.
So to sum up intuitive eating as food/hunger/fullness discredits the larger intention. It’s so much more than food. It’s healing your relationship to food. Not the food itself.
Listen to the Diet-Free Living podcast episode!
3. You’re not prioritizing your mental health.
The reason I am so passionate about helping overwhelmed women heal from years of dieting is because I know how much dieting hurts your mental health and overall wellness. The diet mentality breeds a negative mindset and lowers your self-esteem. Which means, a lot of the work that needs to be done in healing relates to your mental health. Uncovering the hurts that led you to dieting in the first place. Changing your inner dialogue. Learning coping tools. And discovering healthy, sustainable ways for you to feel your best.
When you prioritize your mental health, you learn important skills that serve your overall wellness, such as how to:
- Stop negative inner dialogue
- Reduce stress
- Trust your intuition
- Be kind to your body
- Honor your body’s need for rest & movement
- Live to your fullest potential
- …and so much more!
Where dieting takes away your power, intuitive eating gives you power to live a healthy life!
Need help with intuitive eating?
I believe it’s possible to become an intuitive eater on your own. But I also believe it’s a lot easier to do it with a professional. It’s why I’ve dedicated my nutrition practice to helping you heal from years of dieting. By prioritizing your mental health, you can reclaim self-trust and confidence through diet-free living. I currently have 1:1 coaching spots available. Click here to schedule a free 20-minute consult with me to learn more.
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