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Ambivalence About Intuitive Eating

  • Eating

Although I occasionally meet disordered eaters who have been using intuitive eating consistently for years, more often I run into folks who try it, give up, resume dieting, re-discover that diets don’t work, and come back to attempting to eat “normally.” If you feel like a failure because you’re not where you want to be with food and don’t know what else to do, you may be frustrated because neither dieting nor intuitive eating is working for you.

Part of the problem is ambivalence about sticking with the process which leads you to a vicious cycle of restriction or mindless eating, interspersed with buckling down and practicing “normal” eating. If you were a car, you’d be shooting off in one direction, slamming on the brakes, doing a one-eighty, and zooming off in the opposite direction—over and over and over again. What would that do to an automobile? What does it do to you? It makes you crazy, is what it does, and prevents you from reaching your healthy eating and weight goals.

Committing to intuitive eating is especially difficult if you’re not completely convinced that diets don’t work. Perhaps you’re lured by a new “miracle” diet plan being touted in the news or by a friend who can’t stop talking about the amazing weight loss she’s had from using a new drug. Or maybe you’re simply tired of learning how to eat “normally” because it’s hard and frustrating to develop new habits and takes such a very long time. In this case (not to blame the victim), you are your own worst enemy. Think about other goals you’ve achieved and how you reached them—finishing school or a training program, learning tennis or French, being active in making your community a better place to live, growing your career, or managing a difficult family situation.

Although some people who don’t stick with intuitive eating have trouble staying with anything that takes a great deal of work, many of you are very, very hard workers and have accomplished a great deal in life. You know how to persist and get over rough spots; you’re good at problem-solving how to get around barriers and are considered an accomplished person. If you are someone who is generally successful, but doesn’t feel committed to intuitive eating, it’s important to ask yourself why. How is eating different from other areas of your life? Why is becoming a “normal” eater so much harder than all the other goals you’ve reached? What do you have to do to apply what you know about achievement from other endeavors to create eating success? Being fully committed to eating “normally” is a must if you want to reach your goals.