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Old 05-04-2014, 09:51 AM   #1
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Thoughts on Intuitive Eating and More

On April 25th, I took a sudden plunge into the exciting and a bit scary world of intuitive eating ... essentially, working toward eating what you want, when you are hungry, and stopping when you are satisfied.

I told my husband I was doing this, and he raised his eyebrows and said, "O ...K ..." I told my co-worker I was doing it, and she said, "Have you tried paleo?"

I think there's a misunderstanding out there that Intuitive Eating is the kind of thing that gets people fat in the first place ... eating whatever they want whenever they want to in whatever quantities they want for whatever reason..

But it isn't that. It's not the foods that make us fat, not even if we're talking about cheesecake and fettuccine alfredo. (Did you hear about the science teacher who lost a significant amount of weight eating only at McDonalds three meals a day for weeks?) It's not the foods, it's eating more of anything than we need, even if that thing is baked skinless chicken breast and vegetables. (Although, I'm not knocking this meal, but who wants to eat more of that than you need? )

It's also about the crazy thing our brains do when we tell ourselves that something is off limits. We want it more. We try not to eat that thing, and then when we do the idea that it is scarce and rare -- and we won't be eating it probably ever again -- actually make that thing much more appealing than if we were allowed to have it at any time.

What if we stopped counting calories and listened to our bodies instead? It's a scary thought in some ways, but liberating, too. I'm here to see what happens . . . to be continued.

Last edited by calichris; 05-04-2014 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:57 AM   #2
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Liberation is where it is at! And remember, this is a process, not an event--Looking forward to reading your journal Chris!
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:10 AM   #3
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Very exciting Christina! I'm coming along for the ride!
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:13 AM   #4
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Me too. Well said.
A Process, not an event. Love that reminder.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #5
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Can you lose weight doing Intuitive Eating?

This is my big question right now.

So far, I've lost 70 pounds on a plan which, as diets go, was for me the best one ever (JUDDD). Still, I hit a wall and couldn't make it work/couldn't do it any more. Part of it is the fatigue of being on a diet for almost two years (more on that later). I'm really grateful for how far I've come, but I'd still like to get down to a lower body fat percentage and size.*

Can I do that using intuitive eating?
Some of the books say possibly, but it can't be your primary goal. Hmmmm. But what if it is?
They also say probably your body will take you to your natural weight, which may or may not be higher than what you think it "should" be.

I guess I didn't hit "diet bottom" where I felt like diets just don't work ever. After all, where would I be without JUDDD? Didn't I lose 70 pounds? And for a long time, that was just great for me. On the other hand, despite great efforts and more focus than I'd like to admit, either it stopped working or I couldn't work it or a combination of the two.

I don't know honestly if I am ready to say, "I'll never diet again!" It's hard to say that when you're still in the process of building trust in intuitive eating. I'd like to keep losing fat, and I hope that I can do it this way. I do know that I love the freedom of my first week on IE. I maintained my scale weight exactly in the first 10 days, which is pretty great considering I'm new at this and just learning how to do it, and I didn't count a single calorie.

One of my questions is, wouldn't a person's body want to maintain rather than lose? I know people have lost following IE, so I know it's possible. I guess we'll see if I'm one of those people. I do want to free up brain space from things like calories, etc. ugh.
_____
*I don't have a goal weight in pounds anymore. Have you seen those pictures of how a person who has high lean body mass and a healthy body fat percentage can be overweight or even obese according to the BMI? Also, something that does not get enough attention is how someone who is at the perfect weight and BMI according to the charts can actually be at that weight with body fat percentage that still puts them in the obese category. That happens when the person loses lean body mass, and extreme dieting is one reason why people lose LBM (also aging and less exercise)


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Old 05-04-2014, 11:51 AM   #6
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I think that the Happy Eating people would say that it is important to experience hunger in order to be losing. If you are hungry ro 30-60 minutes before a meal (and your meal isn't too big) and if you have a bit of hunger before bed, you tend to be in losing mode. Slowwwly. but if you don't let yourself feel much hunger, you will be at minimum maintaining. I also think we tend to underestimate the number of calories binging contributes. When that is no longer a part of the picture, you slowly sliiiide to your natural weight.

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Old 05-04-2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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Will add your journal to those I read daily....you are very brave!
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:17 PM   #8
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Subbing to watch and support you on this new journey Chris! I'm so in awe of all of you attempting this and I'm reading with great interest. Part of me still feels as though it's all some impressive Jedi mind trick, but that may just be because I'm too afraid to try it myself.

I love how boldly you have been willing to test things out on your journey so far and I am sure you will learn a tremendous amount about yourself on this new journey.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:03 PM   #9
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I'd like to follow along with you, too.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:35 PM   #10
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Ouiz, Carol, Kristin, Roxy, DeeDee, and CC.

Ouiz, thanks for those thoughts from Happy Eaters. I popped over there and couldn't find that part (but found an interesting blog comment that losing weight is about eating less overall, more protein, better quality carbs ... that sounds right to me, but it's a different kind of a comment than in the books I've been reading which wouldn't say eat more of this or less of that). I was wondering about what weight loss on IE would feel like and was kind of thinking along the same lines, that it might be important to really get to hungry and feel a bit empty/hungry at times. But not too much! Delicate balance there.

If anyone runs across any thoughts, ideas, or tips on IE for someone who would still like to lose, please send them my way. When I search for it I get a kind of distressing lack of sources. I do want to lose, but I was really trying hard to lose since January and was maintaining anyway, and I have to say, this is a MUCH nicer way to maintain.

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Old 05-05-2014, 05:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calichris View Post
Ouiz, Carol, Kristin, Roxy, DeeDee, and CC.

Ouiz, thanks for those thoughts from Happy Eaters. I popped over there and couldn't find that part (but found an interesting blog comment that losing weight is about eating less overall, more protein, better quality carbs ... that sounds right to me, but it's a different kind of a comment than in the books I've been reading which wouldn't say eat more of this or less of that). I was wondering about what weight loss on IE would feel like and was kind of thinking along the same lines, that it might be important to really get to hungry and feel a bit empty/hungry at times. But not too much! Delicate balance there.

If anyone runs across any thoughts, ideas, or tips on IE for someone who would still like to lose, please send them my way. When I search for it I get a kind of distressing lack of sources. I do want to lose, but I was really trying hard to lose since January and was maintaining anyway, and I have to say, this is a MUCH nicer way to maintain.
Chris, I wish there were an emoticon which meant I have nothing to add except the belief that your instincts are trustworthy and that you're headed in a perfect direction. thanks for journaling this trip.
Excellent thoughts from Ouiz, as usual. Thanks Ouiz.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:22 AM   #12
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ugg--I know what you mean about Happy Eaters--the two people over there who have expressed that thought (about the importance of hunger) are Skwigg and Coach Georgie. Georgie also has a website: askgeorgie I would link to it, but am not sure about whether or not there are ads.

I would say in my own journey, which is not over by any means, I've noticed that over time it takes much less food to satisfy me than it used to, that tolerating hunger without reacting to it helps, always checking in and leaving food on my plate if it isn't tasting fantastic helps and just knowing that anytime I want I can eat anything I want has sooo made it easier to to enjoy my three little meals a day. It is plenty enough food because there will always be more!
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:41 AM   #13
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Following along with great interest.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:45 AM   #14
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I'll be interested to hear all reports about losing weight eating this way. I admit, I haven't done much exploring outside of this board, and reading "The Overfed Head" and "Skinny Jeans". I plan to read them both again, because I was kind of devouring them I was so excited (sensing a pattern here). Now I want to go back and slowly enjoy and savor them, really absorbing the messages.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:38 AM   #15
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I just finished reading Overfed Head and am so interested in this.

Thanks for starting this thread, Chris.

It definitely takes a mindset change to do this, though.
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:47 AM   #16
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I heard a quote today at work that I wanted to share with you:

"Set your sights on where you want to be, but focus on where you are now, and take each step, moment by moment."
- Robert Allen Stevenson
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:57 AM   #17
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Yes!
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calichris View Post
This is my big question right now.

So far, I've lost 70 pounds on a plan which, as diets go, was for me the best one ever (JUDDD). Still, I hit a wall and couldn't make it work/couldn't do it any more. Part of it is the fatigue of being on a diet for almost two years (more on that later). I'm really grateful for how far I've come, but I'd still like to get down to a lower body fat percentage and size.*

Can I do that using intuitive eating?
Some of the books say possibly, but it can't be your primary goal. Hmmmm. But what if it is?
They also say probably your body will take you to your natural weight, which may or may not be higher than what you think it "should" be.

I guess I didn't hit "diet bottom" where I felt like diets just don't work ever. After all, where would I be without JUDDD? Didn't I lose 70 pounds? And for a long time, that was just great for me. On the other hand, despite great efforts and more focus than I'd like to admit, either it stopped working or I couldn't work it or a combination of the two.

I don't know honestly if I am ready to say, "I'll never diet again!" It's hard to say that when you're still in the process of building trust in intuitive eating. I'd like to keep losing fat, and I hope that I can do it this way. I do know that I love the freedom of my first week on IE. I maintained my scale weight exactly in the first 10 days, which is pretty great considering I'm new at this and just learning how to do it, and I didn't count a single calorie.

One of my questions is, wouldn't a person's body want to maintain rather than lose? I know people have lost following IE, so I know it's possible. I guess we'll see if I'm one of those people. I do want to free up brain space from things like calories, etc. ugh.
_____
*I don't have a goal weight in pounds anymore. Have you seen those pictures of how a person who has high lean body mass and a healthy body fat percentage can be overweight or even obese according to the BMI? Also, something that does not get enough attention is how someone who is at the perfect weight and BMI according to the charts can actually be at that weight with body fat percentage that still puts them in the obese category. That happens when the person loses lean body mass, and extreme dieting is one reason why people lose LBM (also aging and less exercise)

I just started this last week and this is my question as well. I can't say I'll never diet again either, but I would sure love to! I’m trying to lose my last fifteen and have gained and lost the same five all year long trying anything and everything. I think it basically boils down to diet fatigue. After a week or so my body just stops losing and I lose my motivation.

I would love to follow along, if you don’t mind?
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:21 AM   #19
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Dawn, Seabreezes, and Terri - glad you stopped by.

I'm getting some new ideas and perspectives on the Happy Eaters site. They take a different approach ... it's interesting. Will write more on that soon when I've had a chance to read more and think about it.

After a imperfect/learning weekend (and that's ok!), today went better. The principal surprised us with Noah's bagels this morning, but I wasn't hungry, so I put one aside until I got hungry for the first time that day, at around 11 or so, with a yogurt. Later, I got hungry in an afternoon meeting, but I was stuck in there! Good thing I learned from JUDDD that hunger is not an emergency. When it let out at about 4, I was more thoughtful about timing. I knew I was going to they gym on the way home, so I wanted something first, but I also wanted to be hungry for dinner (but not starving) so I just had a quest bar, which is a great emergency snack to keep around -- all that protein and fiber! Later I felt satisfied with a pretty small portion of the pad thai I made for dinner, so I'm feeling back on track now. This is good because the weekend put the scale up a pound. I'm OK with that as long as it doesn't stick around or bring any friends with it. Just keeping an eye on the scale to get a feel for whether or not I'm losing or gaining or maintaining with intuitive eating.

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Old 05-06-2014, 05:42 AM   #20
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My weekend actually went surprisingly well, and yesterday felt good, though I had more calories than I have been. I'm tracking too, until I get a good feel for this. I was up more than a pound today and now I'm having to squash the diet chatter in my head. It's a surprisingly strong voice telling me which foods I can have more of and be full, instead of just eating whatever I want to satisfaction.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:45 AM   #21
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just a word about initial weight gain. It is not unusual to gain up to 3-5 pounds when first starting Happy Eating. Once you are really in the groove however, those pounds leave and take friends with them. I know how scary this is--I also know how easily a gain on the scale triggers diet think. I encourage people to try and tolerate an initial bounce, and not to make all of this another kind of diet.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:15 AM   #22
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just a word about initial weight gain. It is not unusual to gain up to 3-5 pounds when first starting Happy Eating. Once you are really in the groove however, those pounds leave and take friends with them. I know how scary this is--I also know how easily a gain on the scale triggers diet think. I encourage people to try and tolerate an initial bounce, and not to make all of this another kind of diet.
I sure needed to hear that today. I’m feeling a little puffy today and found myself thinking “I don’t know, maybe I’m not ready for this yet”. Despite the fact that not being hungry, I was not temped at all by the fresh muffins I brought in for the morning meeting.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:01 PM   #23
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Hey!!! So exciting that you're giving this a go. I've found it to be so amazing.

"A process, not an event." Good words
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:10 PM   #24
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I'll be interested to hear more about what you think about Happy Eaters. I haven't ventured over there yet, and I'm not sure I will very soon. I've already got so many things I'm spending "extra" time on, I don't need yet another right now. Eventually, that may be where I need to go to learn more.

I'm pleased you're feeling pretty comfortable with HDE/IE at this point. It sounds very much like EM2WL in that you typically do gain a few in the beginning. They say it is what happens until your body "trusts" that you will be feeding it adequately and regularly after prolonged dieting and calorie restriction. Then once you're "reset", it knows what to do. I'm hoping so!
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:02 PM   #25
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On scales, calories, and when to ignore them

Thanks, Ouiz, for letting me know about the short term gain that can sometimes happen. I haven't been at a new low in many months, but I keep reminding myself that I've never lost this much before and kept it off this
long, so I am feeling good about at maintaining at the same size and close to my lowest weight. If I started gaining, that would be hard for me, I'll admit, but fluctuations I can deal with ... I got expert at that with JUDDD! So I'm mostly looking for trends. Fortunately, the pound went away today, and I'm back at the exact weight of the day I started. And I'm fine with that in these initial learning stages.

I don't know whether I will lose on IE or not yet, but I feel like I'm relaxing into this a little bit now ... not thinking about it so much, and loving that I can focus less on food and not track my calories. I love not tracking calories! I read on a blog today that the act of counting calories in and of itself makes the food you're counting less satisfying. Interesting, right?

I read something good today in Intuitive Eating that answers my "but what about nutrition?" question. They say:
Quote:
As nutritionists, w continue to honor and respect nutrition, but a this point in the Intuitive Eating process, nutrition is not the driving force. If nutrition were the overriding priority now, it would only perpetuate your restrictive thoughts. (It took us years to come to terms with this factor, and it is why nutrition issues are reserved for later in this book.) As you go farther along with this process and all foods are completely allowed, your intuitive signals will give you good advice. But even right now, if you think about eating a hot fudge sundae for every meal, how soon do you think you will be craving something completely opposite, such as a salad or a piece of grilled chicken?
I'm good with that for now, Tribole and Resch!

Also, I love this: "Ironically, the process of giving yourself permission to eat is actually the stepping-stone to rebuilding your trust with food and with yourself. In the beginning, each positive food experience is like a tiny thread. They may be few and far between, and seem insignificant, but eventually the threads form a strand. The strands multiply into strong ropes and finally the ropes become the bridge to a foundation of trust in food and in yourself."

Although I prefer the writing style or voice of the author of How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans too, this is a nice visual of how small steps of faith in the process can grow over time into real trust.

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Old 05-07-2014, 06:24 AM   #26
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Christina, how exciting that you're not tracking and you're maintaining so beautifully this early on! I haven't given myself permission to stop tracking or weighing daily yet. I'm not sure when I'll get there, but I AM feeling a little more confident with each passing day. Hoping to be able to fully trust myself soon. I can hardly imagine not being chained to my on-line tracker or my scale. They were simply tools in the past, but feel like burdens I bare now.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:46 AM   #27
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I read on a blog today that the act of counting calories in and of itself makes the food you're counting less satisfying.
This happened to me yesterday. I wanted something around 11:00 and a shake sounded good. So I put a chocolate protein shake in the blender with ice cubes and dark cocoa. It was really refreshing and delicious. But I kept thinking it's only 170 calories including the cocoa, and it was like it didn't count, even though it was what I really wanted. I was even thinking I might be more satisfied if I'd gotten one at McDonald's, but I know that's not true. It was a weird thing. I really like the shake, but the calorie thing messes with my head. And for some reason I can't separate it from the calories since I used it so long for DDs.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #28
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I agree that counting can diminish our enjoyment of foods. I especially find it true now that I am just sick to death of counting and tracking. I'm not counting at the moment either, not even on my DDs (not formally) and it feels absolutely wonderful! I'm so glad to hear you're maintaining! I think slowish losses will be next to happen. I really do!
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:29 AM   #29
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I agree with you all about the counting/measuring thing. I just cannot stand to do it and if I try to force myself into it, I feel resentment which leads to anger eating! I admire those who actually enjoy all the counting.

All I ever wanted to be was "normal" as far as eating goes. I think IE is leading me to that wonderful place!

Keep up the good work!
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:54 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori_:) View Post
All I ever wanted to be was "normal" as far as eating goes. I think IE is leading me to that wonderful place!
Ahhhh... blessed "normal"....
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