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Old 04-08-2010, 11:30 AM   #1
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Default Intuitive eating.

Hi there! I am just sharing my thought here and wondering if anybody has a good experience with intuitive eating.

I had success with calorie counting, but honestly, I can’t spend my life with calculator in my hand and daily menu planning. Kids, marriage, full time job, you know…life. Also, I don’t enjoy going to fitness club, I don’t like running, but I love, love long walks with my husband and our dog.

I actually realized that 10 years ago, after I lost 28 lb by counting calories, I was eating based on my intuition. I didn’t count calories any more and up until year ago I was never on the diet and I was never starving myself or had a list of food which I will not eat , like ice cream or potato chips.

The main rule of intuitive eating is: “You will not suddenly gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over that time that matters”. This is so true!

Also, the second rule is: “Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience in life, but food won’t fix any of these feelings. Eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run”. That’s my mantra from now on. Last year was not an easy one for me and I comfort myself with food all the time and as a result in 12 month I went from 126 lb to 140lb!

I’ve decided to go back on track with my intuitive eating and I hope it will work for me again and I will slowly lose last 8 lb.

For start I will give up 2 glasses of red wine from Mon – Thur and it will save 57,600 cal /year, which is equal to 17 lb of extra weight!

Also I bought stair stepper and I will spend 40 min “stepping” just 2 times a week , which will approximately create a deficiency of 22,464 cal/year = losing 6.5 lb.

I will continue walking every day for 40 min ( thanks to my gorgeous Cocker Spaniel) which will add up to spending extra 35,952 cal /year = losing 10 lb

Does any body else practice intuitive eating? What is your experience?
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:33 AM   #2
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There is an intuitive eating thread in general diets.


I followed my intuition all the way up to 360 lbs It may work for some, not for me though.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:59 AM   #3
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For most of my diet, I was more or less intuitively eating. Not so much "Ok, I'm full now, time to stop eating," but I knew which foods were healthy and what healthy portions were. I looked at calorie contents, so I had an idea of it, but I didn't count calories for each day. That worked awesome, I lost about 30lbs that way. But then my weight loss slowed as I got smaller, and I realized I'd have to get more picky about what and how much was going in my mouth versus how much I was burning. Once I started actually calorie counting, weight loss resumed.

I wish I could intuitively eat, but I swear that my "I'm full" alarm is broken. More likely, I just haven't learned to listen to it enough to keep my weight in check. I could eat 5 times my daily calorie in perfectly healthy foods if I was waiting for the full feeling.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #4
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I do intuitive eating--I find that when I actually am honest with myself, I do lose weight. When I'm not honest, then I don't lose weight! Shocker!

So I think it really works to listen to your body, but you have to be really aware and willing to say "no" to yourself without numerical evidence that you need to say no. This can be hard, but it's also easier because I can eat out with less anxiety--I just know I can't do it every day, or even more than a few times a month (which works with my wallet as well!).
No binge since 5/10/10
Mini-goal #1: 1st 10 lbs: 10/07/09
Mini-goal #2: 10% of body weight: 4/28/10 (Finally!)
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Mini-goal #4: 20% of SW (202lbs):
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:01 AM   #5
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I am a fan of both. I did calorie counting for about 6 months during my weight loss. I learned alot about portions and calories in certain types of foods. But last fall, I really needed a change. I decided that I could no longer count calories, because I was becoming too obsessive about it. I then turned to mindful/intuitive eating. I trusted myself enough to know what foods are good for me in good portions. I do loosely plan my food with a focus on whole foods. Since last fall, I've lost an additional 15 lbs. I had no specific weight goal or deadline--I was and am willing to trust my body to determine my weight. I do weigh myself everyday so I am accountable for what I put in my mouth and I do exercise frequently. Intuitive or mindful eating is about so much more than the food--it's about feeling good! Feeling good in your body and wanting to continue feeling that way. By eating (and drinking) well and getting plenty of exercise and rest your body will feel great!
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:52 AM   #6
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I've tried both and been successful with both (probably most successful with calorie counting).

For me intuitive eating is probably the riskier strategy (because my intuitive eating got me upwards of 220lbs and I'm under 5'1"), but on the other hand, when I calorie count I have a tendency to get uber-obsessed, and I don't think that's especially healthy either.

My philosophy has changed beyond all recognition from how it was back in the days when I'd weigh and measure every food item and ingredient (even a spoonful of Splenda) and scrutinise food labels for information on fat and calorie content.

For the past 5 years I've been gradually and progressively cutting more and more of the crap out of my diet (whether I'm actively 'dieting' or not). By crap I also include stuff that was on even my strictest calorie control lists only 5 years ago (stuff like diet Coke, or low fat yoghurts flavoured with aspartame). It's been a very gradual process - so much so that I've hardly been aware of it - and it's brought me to a place that's almost unrecognisable from my point of embarkation.

My food rules are very strict, and have their foundation in a lifestyle ideology, rather than a weight-loss ideology. Of course weight loss is important (for health reasons, if for nothing else), but nowadays it plays second fiddle to my primary goal of eating in a natural, healthy, ethical and environmentally responsible way.

Nowadays I only eat food that is organically and ethically raised, not genetically modified in any way, produced within 50 miles of my home, as unprocessed as possible, and not packaged in plastic.

This choice of eating is expensive, so it's forced me to waste far less food than I ever have before. I used to waste a TON of food...mainly stuff like fruit and veggies, that went bad whilst I ate chocolate and fast food instead. Shame on me!

So now I buy less food, waste less food, and eat food that's of much better quality than I used to previously. And my food choices are hugely restricted - which could be seen as a bad thing, but I've chosen to see as a positive change, because it's led me to better eating by default, since most chocolate, confectionary, processed food, fast food etc. isn't available in an organic variety or produced within 50 miles of my home. And even when it is, it's almost impossible to find it packaged in anything other than a plastic derivative. So, I have a very narrow selection of foodstuffs to choose from, and this practically guarantees that my diet is centred on whole grains, veggies, pulses, fruits, nuts etc. I think of these as superfoods, because they're nutritionally dense, natural, beneficial to the body, and none damaging to the environment.

Since I've adopted this way of eating I've stopped counting calories, and I rely on intuitive eating to ensure that I get the right balance of nutrients whilst keeping my weight in check (and hopefully heading in a downward direction).

Of course even eating these superfoods could cause me to gain rate at an alarming pace if I were to eat them without any form of restraint...so though I don't count calories and usually don't weigh food either, I pay very close attention to my portion sizes, and I NEVER EVER eat to the point of feeling full. This was a hard thing for me to learn, because like mkendrick I too used to think that my 'full' button was broken...and I had to re-learn the signs and signals of satiety...and I can attest to the fact that satiety is something that can be re-learned (or learned for what appeared to be the first time, in my case! )

Ultimately, it'll take a while for me to assess whether or not this is working from a weight loss viewpoint, and if it isn't and I find I'm either gaining weight or maintaining this unpalatably high weight I'll maybe have to make a few adjustments. Ultimately, though, they can only be minor because this is (for ethical and ideological reasons, NOT weight loss reasons) the way I want to eat for the rest of my life.

So the eating habits are none negotiable and not majorly tweakable...so if I seem to be heading in a direction I don't like I'll just have to spend more of my free time exercising to pick up the slack!
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:54 AM   #7
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Thumbs up I am planning to

I am honestly too discouraged at this point to try and fail another diet. I have lost weight on WW and have a mental point calculator in my head, so I won't totally ignore it, but now that I am 52 I can't seem to stick long enough to lose enough weight to keep motivated to keep doing it. Anyway, I have not heard it called intuitive eating, but have lost weight on vacations just from walking a lot or when I'm dealing with issue and just naturally eat less every day, so I know it could work for me.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:05 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=rockinrobin;3239517]That's just the thing Paris - calorie counting keeps me honest, it keeps me accountable. For me, intuitive eating, like Nelie - well I intuitively ate my way up to 287 lbs at a mere 5 foot nothing. I can't/won't rely on intuitive eating. There is too much at stake.

Yeah, I can certainly see that it can't work for everyone! And I imagine that some day, I'll have to go back to calorie counting when I get down to a lower weight. But for now, it works well for me, and I really feel quite free.

I think that there's a difference between the eating that gets you to those high weights--that's to say there's a difference between eating intuitivly and eating what you want, at least for me. It's not like before, I was only eating when I was hungry and that's what landed me at 252 lbs--no, I was eating all the time, hungry or not. So it's important to make a distinction for those who might want to try it, because while I practice intutite eating, I certinaly do not eat as much as I want! Not nearly! (or exactly what I want, because intuitve eating wouldn't work very well if it were all unhealthy foods!) But I'm never hungry, which keeps me on track.

Certainly to each his own!

Edited to add: I've also done calorie counting, and I check the calories on something new before buy it, so I have an idea what I can eat and what I do eat. That helps a lot, to have a kind of gauge.
No binge since 5/10/10
Mini-goal #1: 1st 10 lbs: 10/07/09
Mini-goal #2: 10% of body weight: 4/28/10 (Finally!)
Mini-goal #3: 211 lbs (my all-time adult low): 1/26/11
Mini-goal #4: 20% of SW (202lbs):
Mini-goal #5: Onederland!:

Overall goal

Last edited by paris81; 04-09-2010 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:20 AM   #9
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I really like the concept of intuitive eating, but I don't trust myself and I need calorie counting to keep my honest and like others said, intuitive eating got me to 268. I'm really not sure I can trust myself to eat intuitively even once I get to maintenance, I don't know I think it really takes a special kind of person to do it and that is not me right now.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:20 AM   #10
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Thanks for your replies!

I am sure that being on calorie counting for 6 month in 2000 and for 3 month this year trained me a lot on portion control and high/low calories food and also I think it “mentally” shrink my stomach ( if you know what I mean).

I am sure that if after second child I would try to use intuitive eating to lose 28 lb, I would not succeed, but now that I equipped myself with calorie control and healthy food and healthy portion knowledge I can rely on my intuition to guide me to healthy weigh. Well, that is my plan; I will give it a month and see …maybe I will be back in May to calorie counting with subject “Help, I gained 10 lb… thanks a lot intuition!”.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by onthedietagain View Post
I am sure that being on calorie counting for 6 month in 2000 and for 3 month this year trained me a lot on portion control and high/low calories food and also I think it “mentally” shrink my stomach ( if you know what I mean).
That's what I was going to say. You calorie-count long enough, and it become intuitive in itself. I've been calorie counting for years, but it was only recently when I became more serious about the counting that I lost weight. I would never succeed on a purely intuitive diet, though I would love to for maintenance be able to. But that's a long ways off, so we'll see. Anyway, yeah, calorie counting is only as strenuous as you want it to be. For me, it really has become second nature. Though I admit I'm not a diehard for making sure every 1-2 calories are counted for. I round and sometimes have to guess when nutrition is not available. But usually guess or round up. If that makes any sense.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:40 AM   #12
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While intuitive/mindful eating by itself does not work for me (I have too many food issues), I do find it a very useful tool to have in my arsenal. When I am more mindful of what I am eating, I taste things differently. More intensely. And so I'm becoming more sensitive to foods that are too salty, too sweet, have a greasy mouth-feel (like that cheap waxy chocolate)... foods I'll no longer eat because I am more mindful of them. Before, I'd just scarf them down and not pay any attention. It was all about the volume, baby!

I also find that mindful exercises, like the ones in Beck's "Four Day Win", VERY helpful in understanding (and working with and around) some of my life-long compulsions and habits when it comes to food, eating, health, and security. Just being able to tell myself "There will be jellybeans tomorrow, and next week, you don't need to eat them all now", even though I "know" that already (it just doesn't sink in when I'm craving them), has allowed me to face the leftover Easter candy without much temptation this year.

Things like that really add up. While I need overall calorie counting as my framework, there are many tools I use within that framework. Intuitive/mindful eating is part of it.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:22 PM   #13
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well I never once counted cals or avoided any specific food, I just reduced my portions and adjusted the frequency of foods according to their "heaviness" so I guess even if I don't call it that.. I did it all by exercise and intuitive eating
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:15 PM   #14
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I just cannot eat "intuitively."

I think I could have written Rockinrobbin's post. It reflects everything I believe in.

Personally, I think my hungry/full switches are broken...ok not the hungry one, but definitely the full one. So yeah, I like to eat a lot. And if I eat a big bowl of steamed broccoli, it's so less damaging than a bowl of fried and breaded onion rings. That is why calorie counting is a must for me and intuitive eating is useless for me.

Rockin'robin, I hope you don't mind my saying that your posts are totally awesome and I'm learning so much from them. Yeah, I am somewhat "post stalking." I hope you don't mind. I am new here and your posts get to the heart of what this weight loss journey is really about.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:28 AM   #15
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I have been IE for the past 2 months and it is definitely a lifestyle that I could live with for the rest of my life. After dieting for the past 10+ years and noticing that every time I would get on the diet the time I could physically stay with the diet kept getting less and less. I tried cal counting but I just obsessed more and more about food and when is the next meal or I'm eating right now because my diet says to eat ever X amount of hours. Always at the end of my dieting stints I would end up heavier then when I started the diet. I was at my wits end and started thinking diets don't work and for so many its a vicious cycle that will repeat over and over again. Yes diets do work for some but if diets worked for the majority of people then there would be no reason for billions and billions of dollars being spent on diet products year after year and America would not be at its heaviest if diets did work in the long haul. Some people say that they Intuitively ate their way to obesity but I say that I dieted my way to being obese

I was skeptical about IE before I started and would've easily shun the idea of ever taking this approach to improving my health and losing weight but I opened my mind up to the process of trying a non diet approach. This process will only work if you are truly dedicated to the process of dropping the DIET mentality. Take food off of its pedestal, stop labeling food as good or bad. Once I took pizza and burgers etc off of its pedestal that's when I realized that I could take a couple of bites and then walk away from it without the guilt or without having to finish the whole thing. When I was dieting and I was being told you could not eat this I wanted it even more which led to my obsession with food. I now listen to my body and knowing that I can eat whatever I want makes it easier to focus on other things then food. I can take a couple of bites and really enjoy what I am eating and then put it down without feeling like I need to finish the whole thing. I wish I would of done this sooner. We do have a thread that you can join its a group of very supportive women who all have made this lifestyle change feel free to join us

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