By Coral Arvon, PhD, LMFT, LCSW
Those of us who have been plagued by a lifetime of dieting might just love this new approach to losing weight —“Eat whatever you want!”
That’s right; it’s called intuitive eating, and the psychology behind it says that we can teach ourselves to listen to the inner cues we were born with to give our body what it wants and needs.
In doing so, we will only eat what satisfies those needs, and we won’t be tempted to overeat or binge like many who do so after a diet that deprives us of the foods we crave. Weight loss, then, becomes a non-issue.
Authors and nutrition professionals, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch say in their book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works,” that we should make peace with our food and avoid chronic dieting forever.
Once we heal the relationship between our minds, bodies, and the food we eat, our bodies will automatically choose a natural weight that is right for us.
If that is the truth, many of us may feel deceived from all the weight-loss gurus and the millions of books and products that have been sold to us by the profitable diet industry.
Actually, the new approach to losing weight isn’t quite so simple.
We still have to learn to trust ourselves around food, and that can be a complex psychological issue to solve after a lifetime of learned fear, loathing, and shame associated with overeating.
After using food as an answer for every uncomfortable emotion over the years, regaining trust in ourselves may not be a riddle that is easily solved.
We will have to learn to adjust our mental and physical patterns to be more mindful about what we are choosing to eat and why, before we can turn the weight-loss reigns over to our body.
The hunger meter is a practice in mindfulness that can help us with this. Actively noticing how our body is feeling will remind us to pick up on our internal cues.
By engaging the signals between the mind and the body and taking appropriate action at the right time, we can better ignore the external cues that teach us to misuse food for emotional comfort rather than satisfying our body’s needs.
This may ultimately bring us the awareness we need to be in control of our food choices in ways that can both satisfy and give us the healthy, trim bodies we desire, losing weight tactics a thing of the past.
To be able to eat whatever we want seems like motivation enough to give this new approach a try.