Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Intuitive Eating as a diet?? (book review, too!)

I have blogged about intuitive eating before.  Several times, in fact.

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you likely know that I have a strong desire to be rid of my food obsession, and also that I have thought for years that the best way to do that is to become an intuitive eater.

I have read several books on the subject, and have tried it several times.  I have failed every time.  Sometimes, I have failed miserably, gaining several pounds in just a few weeks of intuitive eating.

What was my problem?  Why can I not be an intuitive eater?  Why do I continue to go back to dieting, tracking, etc.?

Well... because.

No, seriously, there are reasons for this.

I thought that the reason was that I still wanted junk food in my life, and because junk food is so super nutritionally void and also addictive, and therefore hard to stop eating when satisfied, that I could not stop tracking my calories until I eliminated my desire for junk food.

After reading yet another book on the subject of Intuitive Eating, I have realized that this thinking is false for me.  Also, the reason that I have failed so many times may be because I was looking at it as a diet, which really flies in the face of what intuitive eating is all about.

The book that I'm talking about is not a popular one yet.  It's a book written by someone who started out recording her intuitive eating experiences on a YouTube channel.  Jose Spinardi is not a doctor or nutritionist, but is someone who has been where I'm at, so the book was very easy to read.

Since I am practically an expert on the subject (hahaha), a lot of the beginning of this book was repetitive for me.  Lots of good background intuitive eating information is covered in the first couple of chapters.

Then came some stuff that was almost the same as Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch, but a little bit different.  Instead of calling it "intuitive eating", Spinardi calls it "Hunger Directed Eating" or HDE. 

She talks about eating without distractions, but gives really specific and fun tips about it, which made me hate the thought slightly less.  One tip that she gives to accomplish this is to look at whatever you usually do while eating as a reward for finishing eating.  Like "no Buffy until dinner is done", which may sound like you should rush through eating to get to Buffy, but that is not how I interpreted it.  It's more like if you separate these activities, you will soon start to think of TV as something that you do after a meal, not during. 

She also hit on something that is not really said in the IE book:  This is NOT the "Eat When Hungry, Stop Eating When Satisfied" diet.  WHAT?!?!?!?!  It's NOT?!?!?!?!

She says that looking at intuitive eating as a "food rule" is just another way to keep on dieting, and by constantly berating myself for breaking the rule, by obsessing about whether or not I am truly hungry or truly satisfied every time I eat, I have been treating IE as a diet.

Instead, a newbie to HDE should be gentle with oneself, and kind and loving.  Every step is part of the process, and no one is perfect.  It's okay to not be perfect with this, because it is NOT a diet. 

WOW.  For me, this was an eye-opener. 

Another great point that she makes later in the book is that to truly break the dieting cycle, you must break the exercise cycle, too.  No more associating exercise with weight loss.  WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Exercise should be used for so many beneficial reasons, but one of them that should not make that list is weight loss.  Stop counting exercise calories, stop exercising just to eat more, stop making up for overeating with exercise, etc.... that is one of her points.  And I am starting to agree! 

The thing that I loved most about this book is that the author doesn't make any real rules about intuitive eating.  She says that when you see things as rules, you start thinking like a dieter again.  She talked about how one should treat oneself as one would treat a toddler learning to walk.

"If the child wobbled off balance and fell after a successful couple of days of walking, would you attack her with the venemous words you're about to unleash on yourself?  Not in a million years!  No, if it was a minor fall you'd probably give her a warm smile and make a fun acknowledging comment like "Oopsie" and laugh together about it as you encouraged her back to her feet.  If it was a bad fall, you'd drop everything and rush to clutch her up into your tender, soothing arms, cradling her with soft, loving words as you gently tended to her pain."
This was a great book for me.  If you enjoy books about intuitive eating, or if you, like me, have tried to eat intuitively and "failed", this may be a good choice for you.

***EDITED TO ADD the bad stuff.  This book was not perfect!  It's not very professional, because I don't think it was every really published by a big firm or anything.  There were a couple of typos, but I have found typos in almost everything I have ever read.  Another annoying thing is that she kept mentioning a 2nd book, which is not published yet, which will supposedly cure emotional eating.  I will definitely keep you guys updated on that second book, because I will be getting it.


Jessica said...

Even for the non-IE, like me :) you've shown a lot of good points! I like the idea of not thinking like a dieter and treating yourself as you would a toddler. Be gentle, not harsh. I have such a hard time with this. I am extremely judgmental when it comes to me! Something to think about for sure!

Mariebop said...

When I've tracked calories in the past, I was totally an "exercise so I can eat more" person or an "I exercised so I get to eat more" person. I haven't started exercising along with IE yet, but I'm hoping that I don't fall into my old habit of eating more just because I feel entitled to it.

I might have to check out this book. It's always good to see the same thing from different view points.

Rachael said...

That books sounds like one I really need to read. As someone who is also a long time in recovery for various disordered eating habits, I think this book would be beneficial for me to read. Thanks for sharing about the book.