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12-05-2005, 03:27 PM
I found this item on I was doing this for a while a few years ago, but I stopped because I got scared because you have to learn to trust yourself and listen to your body. You also have to get rid of all those ingrained notions of when to eat and what and how much. It makes so much more sense -- to me, at least -- than "dieting" but it's hard and really scary.

For example, I really wanted General Tso chicken for lunch. So I went and got some. I ate a little (about a quarter of the portion) and I'm actually satisfied. I could stop now and not feel hungry again for 3-4 hours. Theoretically, my body won't ask for more food until it's done burning up what i just gave it. BUT -- here's the rub -- I still want to keep eating because it tastes so darn good. :^: If I do, I'll feel lousy because I'd be stuffing myself. And my body won't actually ask for more food until it's done with the pig-out portions BUT I'll probably eat more in a few hours anyway, even though I won't be feeling physical hunger (habit, boredome, what have you).

This is very much in tune with a few books I read a while ago: If Not Dieting, Then What," "Intuitive Eating" and "The Seven Secrets of Slim People."


Professor loses weight on no-diet diet

Monday, December 5, 2005; Posted: 9:59 a.m. EST (14:59 GMT)

Professor Steve Hawks of Brigham Young University, lost 50 pounds on his no-diet diet plan.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- When Steven Hawks is tempted by ice cream bars, M&Ms and toffee-covered almonds at the grocery store, he doesn't pass them by. He fills up his shopping cart.

It's the no-diet diet, an approach the Brigham Young University health science professor used to lose 50 pounds and to keep it off for more than five years.

Hawks calls his plan "intuitive eating" and thinks the rest of the country would be better off if people stopped counting calories, started paying attention to hunger pangs and ate whatever they wanted.

As part of intuitive eating, Hawks surrounds himself with unhealthy foods he especially craves. He says having an overabundance of what's taboo helps him lose his desire to gorge.

There is a catch to this no-diet diet, however: Intuitive eaters only eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full.

That means not eating a box of chocolates when you're feeling blue or digging into a big plate of nachos just because everyone else at the table is.

The trade-off is the opportunity to eat whatever your heart desires when you are actually hungry.

"One of the advantages of intuitive eating is you're always eating things that are most appealing to you, not out of emotional reasons, not because it's there and tastes good," he said. "Whenever you feel the physical urge to eat something, accept it and eat it. The cravings tend to subside. I don't have anywhere near the cravings I would as a 'restrained eater."'

Hawks should know. In 1989, the Utah native had a job at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and wanted to return to his home state. But at 210 pounds, he didn't think a fat person could get a job teaching students how to be healthy, so his calorie-counting began.

He lost weight and got the job at Utah State University. But the pounds soon came back.

For several years his weight fluctuated, until he eventually gave up on being a restrained eater and the weight stayed on.

"You definitely lose weight on a diet, but resisting biological pressures is ultimately doomed," Hawks said.

Several years later and still overweight at a new job at BYU, Hawks decided it was time for a lifestyle change.

He stopped feeling guilty about eating salt-and-vinegar potato chips. He also stopped eating when he wasn't hungry.

Slowly and steadily his weight began to drop. Exercise helped.

His friends and co-workers soon took notice of the slimmer Hawks.

"It astonished me, actually," said his friend, Steven Peck. "We were both very heavy. It was hard not to be struck."

After watching Hawks lose and keep the weight off for a year and a half, Peck tried intuitive eating in January.

"I was pretty skeptical of the idea you could eat anything you wanted until you didn't feel like it. It struck me as odd," said Peck, who is an assistant professor at BYU.

But 11 months later, Peck sometimes eats mint chocolate chip ice cream for dinner, is 35 pounds lighter and a believer in intuitive eating.

"There are times when I overeat. I did at Thanksgiving," Peck said. "That's one thing about Steve's ideas, they're sort of forgiving. On other diets if you slip up, you feel you've blown it and it takes a couple weeks get back into it. ... This sort of has this built-in forgiveness factor."

The one thing all diets have in common is that they restrict food, said Michael Goran, an obesity expert at the University of Southern California. Ultimately, that's why they usually fail, he said.

"At some point you want what you can't have," Goran said. Still, he said intuitive eating makes sense as a concept "if you know what you're doing."

Intuitive eating alone won't give anyone six-pack abs, Hawks said, but it will lead to a healthier lifestyle. He still eats junk food and keeps a jar of honey in his office, but only indulges occasionally.

"My diet is actually quite healthy. ... I'm as likely to eat broccoli as eat a steak," he said. "It's a misconception that all of a sudden a diet is going to become all junk food and high fat," he said.

In a small study published in the American Journal of Health Education, Hawks and a team of researchers examined a group of BYU students and found those who were intuitive eaters typically weighed less and had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than other students.

He said the study indicates intuitive eating is a viable approach to long-term weight management and he plans to do a larger study across different cultures. Ultimately, he'd like intuitive eating to catch on as a way for people to normalize their relationship with food and fight eating disorders.

"Most of what the government is telling us is, we need to count calories, restrict fat grams, etc. I feel like that's a harmful message," he said.

"I think encouraging dietary restraint creates more problems. I hope intuitive eating will be adopted at a national level."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

12-05-2005, 03:39 PM
I did it! I did it! I stopped eating the General Tso chicken! :carrot: I went a little past satisfied to full, but I didn't go all the way to stuffed and i didn't worry about "cleaning my plate." That is a victory for me.

Don't worry, I won't regale you all with a progress report at each and every meal. But this was such a conscious thing for me, and I am very happy that, at least this time, I was aware enough of my real needs to stop when i should have stopped.

12-05-2005, 03:50 PM
Glad that you were able to listen to your body! There was a thread recently on "Intuitive Eating" and the majority feels as I do...we got FAT on not restricting/being accountable :D There were a few who felt it was the way to go of luck and indulge away!

12-05-2005, 06:03 PM
I see your point but, if I understand it correctly, intuitive eating is a bit more complicated than just eating whatever you want whenever you want. And I don't think it's particularly "indulgent," if you construe indulgent to mean excessive or thoughtless. The whole idea of it being human nature for a body to want what it can't have makes sense to me. I think the key is recognizing the levels of hunger and, even more importantly, true hunger as opposed to boredom or habit or whatever. I don't know that this is the answer, of course, or even that I am capable of doing it, but it's an interesting concept.

12-09-2005, 08:59 PM
I SO wish this worked for me. :(

But I tend to stop eating healthy food if I don't limit calories. :(

Maybe some day.

I am aware of mouth hunder v. belly hunger... but I still eat when I'm full.

Ah, I wish you success! :)

12-10-2005, 07:29 PM
Maggie, thanks for posting this article. I've actually been doing this for a few weeks now - trying to ease into IE slowly. I actually got turned on to it through my sister, who recommended several books. I don't see it as a way to lose weight, although some have lost weight on it (according to "Intuitive Eating" by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Rech) but as a way to finally have a healthy relationship with food. I've been yo-yo dieting (literally - restricting/binging restricting/binging) for 20 years and I just got to the point where I realized it's not about losing weight and then going into maintenance for me - it's about stopping the cycle. I was doing low-carb for a few years and lost about 30 pounds on it. But when I started maintenance I found I was once more on the diet/binge wagon again. That's what I'm trying to break.

So far it's been going ok, although a little slow. It is scary having foods I love in the house again (and considering I haven't had rice or pasta in my house for years, that's just plain weird :D) and I'm still trying to negotiate my feelings of being full vs. stuffed. But I find I've been eating much more normal portions of the foods I love because I don't get into that anxious mode that I have to stuff myself now because it's a temperary binge and I'll go on a diet and be "good" tomorrow. For example, I bought foods I used to save only for binges and instead of eating until I was sick, I took one normal portion and was ok.

I have not been losing weight - but I haven't been gaining weight like crazy either. The book I'm reading says that your body will eventually stabalize to the weight that you should be. I knew once I lost the 30 pounds that I wouldn't be able to maintain a size 6 without constantly policing myself with food and that's ok with me. I'm probably about a size 8-10 now and I'm fine with that. I'd rather know I can eat normal portions of ice cream or cookies and be a larger size than to measure my moods and my self-worth according to whether I stuck to my "diet" or whether I binged until I felt ready to throw up.


12-20-2005, 05:23 AM
It's actually one of the main principles behind Weight Watcher's new Core program, and it's why I love it so much. There's more of a focus on conscious eating and being aware of your natural hunger and body signals. I've always been a person who loves volume, and I'll eat 2 lbs of veggies just to be able to eat a lot. Now I find I stop when I'm satisfied, and food is no longer an aspect of my life that I have to fight to control. It basically teaches you how to eat like a normal "naturally skinny" person, and now that I have that knowledge and know HOW to do that I'll never go back to thinking about food the same way again. It's very freeing.

The downside to it is, of course, that a lot of us don't know how to maintain our hunger levels. We let ourselves get very hungry because less food is better, then when we DO eat we go overboard on sugar, fat and white carbs for quick energy. That's not even taking into account emotional eating and binging and the problems THAT can cause. It's a pretty vicious cycle. Core kind of limits that by giving you a certain amount of free reign for treats and then limiting what types of foods you can eat to satisfaction. I know that might seem hard to follow, but it gives me the safety net I need to still eat in a healthy way and avoid the blood sugar highs and lows.

Sorry to go on and on. I do think that there will be more of a focus on this in the future, because not only does it work and work well, but it's easy to maintain and basically re-wires how you think about food in a healthy way.

12-21-2005, 11:10 AM
Way to go Maggie! :bravo:

I think one of the things that helps me slow down or not overeating is taking the time to enjoy my food. It sounds weird but actually taking the time to look at, smell, taste each bite and savour my meal and being conscious of what I am doing keeps me from overdoing it.

12-26-2005, 10:42 AM
That's half the message of the WeightWatchers Core program. They tell you to only eat when hungry and eat till satisfaction (not necessarily the "full" feeling). It's a thing people have to learn. It doesn't come naturally.

But, also, Core has a long list of foods that are and aren't allowed. Other foods are only allowed in moderation and must count points for them to keep accountable.

I didn't do it right this week with counting and gained back about 5 lbs. I'm not sure if I should track my weight until the end of the week again on Saturday.

I'm also going to Curves today, so this should help. I hope. I hope. I hope.:shrug:

12-28-2005, 12:36 PM
I think intuitive eating makes a whole lot of sense, and it's something I have combined it with my healthy living plan. I still keep an eye on overall calories, but I figure if I am exercising as much as I am (an hour or more a day) I can have some flexibility. If I really want something, I have it. And I eat it slowly, and enjoy it. None of this scoffing something bad down as quickly as possible. I've made a choice to eat and chips, so lets enjoy this food this moment, and next meal it might be broccolli that I crave.

I sometimes feel guilty, there is a calorie counter at work who is on WW and is so good about counting everything, and here's me, sort of relaxed and live and let live, losing at pretty much the same rate, only difference is, I am an exercise nut and she isn't. Makes a big difference!

12-31-2005, 05:24 PM
Hey Maggie, how's it working out? And anyone else who's trying this? :)

01-10-2006, 12:48 AM
I've been easing into this way of eating this past week, and really got gung ho on it from Saturday on. Tonight I went out and bought Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works by Evelyn Tribole, and WOW. I am cranking through it! So many of the questions in there and case studies I relate to deeply - especially the 'professional dieter' type eater :lol:

After first joining WW in 1999, and riding the roller coaster of weight after that, I developed a good case of bulimia in 2003, which I got into counseling for in October 2005.

My purging was down with the therapy but I was still bingeing. That has come down too in the past month, but I had a real blowout on December 31st, the night before I was going to go on The Final Diet ;) You know, the last one EVER! Well, my final diet lasted all of 2 'pure' days before I could not bear the idea of another diet shake. Instead I just ate nothing during the day Wednesday but managed to not go hog-wild somehow that night :dizzy:

Enter in the antidiet websites.... and me researching the Intuitive Eating idea...

It's scary to be sure to have freedom to eat whatever, whenever. But I understood very much the idea of what is forbidden is craved, and that for all my dieting and weight loss over the years, when I went 'off the diet', I gained all my weight back PLUS some extra! :p

Seems to me the answer lay in the realm of normalizing my eating once and for all! If I wanted whole milk and yogurt, I bought them. Same with tortellini and pesto, butter and cinnamon raisin bread, onion bagels, lox and regular full-fat cream cheese. Sugar, not Splenda. Real maple syrup, not brown corn syrup.

Saturday afternoon, I had French toast for brunch! WHOA! With cream in my coffee too... and I wasn't hungry again until 5 hours later, when I had a normal dinner (1 serving of Chicken Florentine with pasta, and a regular 5 oz. serving of red wine.) No bingeing, no purging.

Sunday & Monday, more of the same. Normal eating.

Feels WEIRD! I'm actually feeling hunger twinges and acting on them... and stopping when I'm full. If the food is disappointing in taste, I toss it. I'm able to put away half a recipe if it serves 2 and not dig it 20 minutes later after eating the first half. It actually sits in the fridge until the next dinner.

Am I cured of bulimia? Well, might be too soon to tell, but I'm definitely going to share this with my therapist on January 16th!

My thoughts on IE:

1) It just feels very natural on a gut level. (har har.) No weird rules, no points, no carb grams, no forbidden foods. Just eat what you want when you want it. Stop at full.

2) I am calm around food. This is new for me. I'm used to seeing foods as Good or Bad. Donut = Bad. Pizza = Bad. Lean Cuisine frozen box = Good. Low-fat or Fat-free products = Good. This artificial catagorizing of foods is just so frickin' twisted.

3) I love (LOOOOOOOVE) not having to worry about 567 rules of eating. God how much have I come to despise counting points or carb grams!

4) I'm looking forward to ditching my scale. I put my body fat monitor/scale up on eBay. I put the rest of my protein shakes on eBay too.

The most appealing part of this IE to me is relearning how I ate as a child, and how I moved as a child. I was a skinny kid! I know puberty has something to do with my now-Rubenesque bod, but I think more of it has to do with my losing touch with my real hunger and real sense of play.

We shall see.... but right now, I am LOVIN' IT. :D

01-12-2006, 06:07 PM
How would this work for an emotional eater like me?

01-12-2006, 06:44 PM
I have to learn how to eat intuitively, because I never have. My brain says, "eat eat eat eat eat eat eat!"

01-12-2006, 07:02 PM
How would this work for an emotional eater like me?


In the 2003 second edition of the book Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch have an 18-page chapter devoted to those who are emotional eaters. There are many people in their practices who are like this, who relearn how to appease emotions without eating a ton of food.

I'm the same way. I ate from stress, sadness, loneliness, happiness, boredom; you name it, it was a great reason to get a pizza and a bottle of wine! :lol:

I actually haven't gotten to that chapter yet. It's #11 and I'm in #7, but I have already seen a gigantic change in how I approach food!

I spent about 3 hours talking mostly about this very topic to a friend on the phone last night who has similiar problems as me: we both have gained/lost/regained a lot of weight over the years because of our unhealthy eating patterns. I sent her a copy of this book off Amazon last night as an anti-diet gift for the diet month of January ;)

Really, I'd HIGHLY recommend this book!

To tell you the truth, I am a very skeptical person by nature, especially when it comes to the 'miracle cure' but I've gone from binging and purging to eating like a normal person very quickly after absorbing these ideas and promising myself No More Diets.

It's bizarre... it's scary at first... but I love feeling this calm. And I'm not zoning out on huge quanties of food, honestly. I'm eating A serving of stuff, and not going for back for more. Radical change for me, someone who on December 31st alone ate probably a 5,000 calorie "dinner".

I hadn't realized until I stopped dieting how much of my energy was devoted to dieting and all the rules that ran in the background of my mind pretty much all the time...

I've been "off diets" before of course, but it was always temporary. I knew at some point in the future, I would again get sucked into one because how the heck else was I ever gonna lose the weight, right? Obviously I could not be trusted to normalize my eating by myself. I needed to track every single calorie/point/carb gram, otherwise, disaster!

The whole theory behind this plan is that you need to say NEVER AGAIN to dieting. Really. Never, ever again. If you can convince yourself of that big change in your life, then they say that the urge to binge will vanish.

Can I tell you how much I scoffed at this idea? ;) I thought, why would that work? But the subconscious mind is a wily thing, and I do believe that that is where the binge/purge urges come from, or the just plain overeating urges. Once you reassure your body that the "starving" of diets is banished, and you realign yourself to your true wants and hunger, you start to eat like a naturally thin person.

So they say, and so far, that's what I've found!

I've been dieting off and on for many years, and just gotten fatter and fatter with each cycle. I've been bulimic for 3 years, to the point where I was getting scared what I was doing to my body: seeing tiny red spots near my eyes where blood vessels were breaking from the vomiting pressure, my throat hurt, I was dehydrated a lot, had leg cramps, you know... BAD scene!

I'm also in therapy, but this book really speaks to me on even a deeper level than my therapist.

Best $13.95 I ever spent.

02-13-2006, 06:13 PM
I think i would be scared i wouldnt listen and i would just keep going until all of the food was off of my plate. But i guess if you eat slowly and listen to your body, it could work.

02-25-2006, 12:40 AM
Is there anyone out there currently doing Intuitive Eating? How is it working for you? :)

It was going great for me until I started thinking it was ok to eat while watching TV (Hey, where the heck did the rest of my pizza go?) I think it is impossible to "check in" with your fullness while watching a really cool DVD. ;)

But I am thinking of getting back into it. I have noticed that while I think Medifast works, I am bingeing and purging while on it = not good at all. Guess it's true what they say about "No Dieting" if you have bulimia - dang it, they are onto something! ;)

It's tough because there is such a massive temptation for me to lose the weight, NOW, and sooner than now if possible. Urgh! Where is my patience?

But what I really want is to get off the roller coaster of diet, binge, purge. Going with deep listening to my body and what it really wants to eat sounds good. I want the long-term solution. I want it to stick. One pound a week is ok if I can keep it off. Sure, on Medifast, I lost 3 pounds a week, but if I was bingeing every week, this does not bode well for Maintenance! :lol:

So I focused on my body's intuitive feelings today... and went to the grocery, hungry even, and bought for the weekend: shredded wheat biscuits, blackberries, a nectarine, some organic bananas, oyster crackers, veggie soup... and for dinner: a romaine salad with grilled chicken and a bit of gorgonzola, toasted walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Had the salad tonight at the dining room table, with a pretty candle softly burning, and just ate. Did not read, open mail, surf the web. Just concentrated on the taste of food.

I'd forgotten how great walnuts are ;)

Did not have the mocha almond gelatto in the freezer. Not tempted for even a sample of the full pint.

Good sign? ;)