The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating are from Tribole and Resch's Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works.
Principle 1: Reject the Diet Mentality
As a registered dietitian I was trained in a variety of aspects of nutrition (diabetes management, heart health, digestive health, etc.). One of the most prominent aspects about which I learned was weight management (re: weight loss).
I spent my internship (see fun pics below!) and the first few years of my professional career convinced weight management was the key to health. I taught people if they could only lose 5% to 10% of their weight they would see such improvements in their health. I weighed my clients at each visit to track their progress and see if they had met their goal. When they didn't reach their goals, I helped them reassess their plan and adjust accordingly. I fed into the diet mentality with every interaction I had with my clients....
Somewhere along the way, though, I began to see what my clients were experiencing each time they visited my office. They would tell me things like "You'd be so proud of me! I didn't eat __________ for a week! I'm sure I've lost weight this time." and then step onto the scale to only be depressed because they had gained three pounds. They would also say things like "I almost didn't come and see you today because I thought you'd be disappointed I cheated on my diet." My clients were depressed and distraught at the thought of their perceived failures, and I was aiding and abetting them in their diet misery!
This realization was upsetting, and I began to seek out something more. I wanted something more as a professional AND as a human being. How did society get so fat-phobic that the answer to everything is "just lose weight"?! How is it that so many people are failed by diets and weight loss techniques?!
BECAUSE THEY DON'T WORK! DIETS DON'T WORK! PEOPLE DON'T FAIL AT DIETS! DIETS FAIL PEOPLE! DIET CULTURE IS JUST ONE BIG LIE AFTER ANOTHER!
Okay... rant over... for now. But don't let that rant pass you by because there's truth there. DIETS DON'T WORK, and they never will. All of my seeking for something more led me right to Intuitive Eating, and when I started to dig in to the program, it confirmed everything I was already feeling (and ranting about!). In fact, the very first principle of Intuitive Eating is "Reject the Diet Mentality" (and you might say "reject" was an understatement for the feelings I had experienced!)! Turns out, the number one way to predict overeating and regain weight that was lost is by practicing deprivation (re: dieting).
The number one way to predict overeating and regain weight that was lost is by practicing deprivation
Let that sink in... A guaranteed way to gain weight is to diet. Doesn't that rock your world? It should! It goes against everything we're taught by a diet mentality and diet culture. We've been taught from a young age that weight loss is the key to happiness and dieting is the key to weight loss. Well guess what??? Weight loss is NOT the key to happiness - happiness is a choice that comes from within you. Happiness comes from the balance of whole self (spirit, soul, and body), and that balance begins with you honoring your inherent intuition and wisdom.
Can INtuitive Eating Work for Me?
I remember the first client to schedule an appointment with me after I began my journey with Intuitive Eating (we'll call her Natalie*). Natalie came to me as an individual who had struggled with overeating and binge behaviors for decades (decades!). She cycled through dieting, overeating, and weight gain so many times she lost count. I told her about my non-diet philosophy, and she said she was on board because diets no longer worked (in reality, they hadn't worked for decades), and she was ready to try something different.
After just a few weeks of working with Natalie (and a lot of hard work on her part!), she began to notice changes in her life. She had applied intuitiveness not only to her eating, but to her whole self. She began to feel more balanced and not as emotionally raw as she had previously been. She was able to reject the diet mentality and approach life in a new way and food from a standpoint of her body's inherent wisdom!
She had seen what her body had been trying to tell her all along - her body loved her and wanted to be friends with her. Her body was not the enemy - the diet mentality was. Dieting and bingeing had been the reasons for so many decisions in her life that she was unable to live a life free from their shackles... until now. Now she could begin to experience freedom and discover herself. She could simply be herself.
What Happened With Natalie?
We'll learn more about Natalie and in future posts of my Intuitive Eating and Me series, but this first step of Intuitive Eating is a biggie. While some individuals are to a point in their life like Natalie where they are at the end of the proverbial diet rope, others are still unsure.
Maybe diets have been your companion for many years, and you're not sure you want to let go (letting go of diets is NOT giving up on yourself). The diet relationship is one that is hard to end, but maybe if you look back at your diet relationship you might see the cycling between the deprivation and the overeating and the regain of weight that was lost and how somewhere along the way you lost yourself.
If you are ready to reject the diet mentality and reconnect with yourself like Natalie did, or if you'd like to learn more about my approach, give me a call. You CAN find healing in your relationship with food and your body, and I would be honored to be a part of your journey to reject the diet mentality and kick diet culture in the pants!
*Client names have been changed so their true identities will not, in any way, be revealed, in order to maintain their anonymity.
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Hi there! I'm Sydney Cavero-Egúsquiza.
I'm a small town Oklahoma eating disorder dietitian with a passion for enjoying life. I love Disneyland, Smarties, and sharing time with family. My mission? To help individuals enjoy their lives and thrive by making peace with food and trusting their bodies!