Join Dani Roberts, RDN, LD/N, CEDS and Diana Douglas, our Dietetic Technician, as they do a Q&A about what intuitive eating looks like for individuals and individuals with an Eating Disorder. A lot of individuals think they know what IE (intuitive eating) is but may have been steered in the wrong direction. Here are some myths and truths about intuitive eating:
Myth-People with eating disorders won’t be able to intuitively eat. Individuals with eating disorders’ intuitive eating journeys are going to look different than a person without an eating disorder. In order to intuitively eat, nutrition stabilization and abstinence from eating disorder behaviors is important in order for a person to follow hunger/fullness cues and cravings appropriately. A person with an eating disorder will need to follow a structured meal plan for a period of time in order to become nutritionally stable to then be able to begin the IE process. A person with an ED may need longer time unlearning food rules/judgments. It is very important for someone with ED to have a dietitian and therapist to help them through this journey.
Myth- Anyone can become an intuitive eater instantly.
Although you can start the intuitive eating journey at any point, to become an intuitive eater, a person likely has to unlearn many food rules, judgements and restrictions they may currently or previously have been practicing. They need to tune into their bodies and live there. If you ignore your cues for an amount of time, you will have to dial back into them.
Truth- Intuitive eating is NOT a weight-focused approach to eating/nutrition.
Intuitive eating focuses on unlearning the typical weight-loss diet mentality to allow people to find food and body peace and freedom. We know what we want and need for our bodies.
Myth- In intuitive eating you always listen to your hunger/fullness cues.
Although listening and honoring hunger/fullness is a big part of IE. Sometimes your hunger/fullness cues may be suppressed (such as when you are sick or stressed). In these instances, you learn to look at other context clues to determine when to eat.
Myth- You don’t need any nutrition knowledge or education to be an intuitive eater.
It’s important to have some baseline understanding of nutrition, hunger/fullness, and digestion when beginning your IE journey. That’s why we HIGHLY suggest you meet and work with a Registered Dietitian.
Truth- Intuitive eating encourages not labeling foods as “good vs bad.”
Decreasing and eliminating food judgment is an important part of becoming an intuitive eater.
Truth- We are all born intuitive eaters!
Just like breathing and going to the bathroom, eating is instinctual. Diet culture and other environmental factors have led many people away from our instinctive ability to eat and regulate our hunger and fullness cues. Once you practice intuitive eating consistently, you will realize it will become easier (aka more intuitive!).