Yeah…Immaeatthat

May 02

For the Intuitive Eating Haters…this post is for you :)

I wanted to write this post for your family members, friends, and loved ones who care for you, but are critical of intuitive eating.  Or maybe even this post is for YOU, because you are critical of intuitive eating.  

I’m going to mention some criticisms I’ve heard of Intuitive Eating and then respond.  If your family/friends/you have other issues with Intuitive Eating, feel free to comment below and I or a reader who is on their own intuitive eating journey will be happy to contribute our thoughts.

Intuitive Eating Hater says…Intuitive Eating is just an excuse to eat whatever you want. 

Umm. YES! That is exactly the point. To stop having a plethora of food rules that dictate every bite of food that goes into my mouth and just be able to eat.

Intuitive Eating Hater says…My intuition would tell me I want to eat brownies, ice cream, cookies, etc. all the time.

We all like highly palatable foods like brownies, ice cream, cookies, etc.  Intuitive eating allows you to move away from eating an entire gallon of ice cream while standing up in your kitchen at midnight and then throwing away the container in the outside trashcan so people are less likely to notice.  Intuitive Eating teaches you how to be around highly palatable foods.  For instance, how to be around cupcakes without feeling compelled to eat 5 of them.  

There is nothing wrong with eating highly palatable foods on a regular basis.  I love and savor and enjoy these foods regularly.  In the later stages of eating disorder recovery, a mark of recovery (whether you’re struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, for those in a smaller bodies, or for those in a larger bodies) is to incorporate at least two “fun” foods a day. “Fun” foods being foods that are highly palatable, delicious, and probably aren’t brimming with vitamins and minerals.  It’s about realizing food is supposed to provide satisfaction and pleasure.

Dieting doesn’t make you feel more competent around highly palatable foods.  Dieting teaches you how to deprive yourself of these foods and eliminate them from your life (hmm. how long is that gonna work for? Probably until you find yourself in the middle of a binge/overeating episode), while intuitive eating allows you to eat these foods in a nourishing amount when you are craving them.  

You won’t always crave brownies, ice cream, cookies, burgers, nachos, etc for every meal and snack, but you will continue to crave them ALL THE TIME until you give yourself permission to eat them whenever you want them.  In the beginning of your intuitive eating journey you may feel like all you want are these foods.  Be patient.  Give yourself time.  If you are highly distressed about what you are eating, find a non-diet dietitian or intuitive eating coach to walk beside you in your intuitive eating journey.

Intuitive Eating Hater says…You are less valuable if you are fat.

While a family member might not come right out and state it like that.  They will probably say…”I don’t think you are less valuable if you are fat, I’m just worried about you health. You can’t be healthy in a larger body.”

To which I always want to mention…do you think shaming a person for eating a brownie or for being in a larger body makes them a healthier person? I SOOO strongly believe that person having to carry around your judgement of their body makes me a less healthy person! And you CAN be healthy in a larger body.  We aren’t all iPhone 7s.  We are made to be a variety of different shapes and sizes.  It is so hard to be in a larger body in our society.  Those in larger bodies are judged for what is or isn’t in their shopping carts, what they do or don’t order at a restaurant, AND they are limited at what clothing stores they can shop at.  Like seriously, do you think your judgement helps them live a better life?! Nope. It typically makes them feel more isolated and shameful and more likely to engage in disordered eating behaviors.  

Just because you are in a larger body and/or you are gaining weight doesn’t mean you are doing intuitive eating wrong and that you are unhealthy.

Intuitive Eating Hater says…Your goal needs to be weight loss. Why would you do something if it’s not about weight loss?

The goal isn’t weight loss because hating one’s body and trying to change it hasn’t gotten them anywhere.  If dieting and a focus on weight loss was the answer, wouldn’t it have worked by now?! They are finally TRULY trying to improve their quality of life through following an intuitive eating approach and your judgement could be keeping them from that.  Sometimes weight loss is a consequence of intuitive eating.  Sometimes it’s not.  And both of those outcomes can lead to a healthy individual.

Intuitive Eating Hater says…Umm. But sugar is addictive. If you have a little you’re going to want more and more.

Sugar isn’t addictive.  Drugs cross the blood brain barrier, meaning they enter into the brain and activate the reward system by direct neurochemical action (aka they change yo’ brain).  With food, nothing is entering the brain to change cells and networks in the brain.  This right here is why I set a firm boundary and don’t see Overeaters Anonymous’s HOW members.  If you’ve never heard of OA’s HOW program, it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a dieting cult and they “brainwash” (for lack of a better word) members into believing sugar is toxic.  I’m happy to work with OA HOW members if they are taking steps to distance themselves from the OA HOW organization.  Sorry for that tangent.  OA HOW freaks me out like no other diet.  While Weight Watchers and Beach Body suck, OA HOW messes people up and it’s terrifying.  I really just mentioned in here so that other non-diet RD’s who are reading this can be aware if they ever come across it.

Back to sugar addiction.  If one experiences withdrawal symptoms of shaking, etc. when stopping eating sugar, that is likely from low blood sugar and is not the same as a drug withdrawal.

Another thing to show that food addiction is not a thing is that ALL carbohydrates you eat, whether from quinoa or skittles, get broken down to glucose in your body.  If you are addicted to sugar, you are addicted to glucose.  So with that line of thought, if eating skittles makes you crave more and more skittles, eating quinoa should make you crave more and more quinoa.  If you feel you’ve given intuitive eating a shot and you just craved more and more sugary foods, you didn’t give yourself full permission to eat all foods for a long enough time period. 

It should be noted that sugar is soothing to the brain.  No doubt! But so is being in nature, listening to pleasing music, laughing with loved ones, etc.  You have to be open to realizing there are ways to soothe yourself without food/sugar (this is for those who’s only coping mechanism for life stress is going to food.  Occasionally going to food for comfort and soothing is 100% normal and nothing to judge.).  This is something I had to work through and something I work with clients on all the time.  Also, there is something called a process addiction, where you have formed a habit that says, “we soothe ourselves with sugar every night.” That isn’t a chemical addiction…that’s a habit you can change, but you may need support to change it.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with enjoying sugar every night or every day, I’m just saying if you are regularly numbing away from uncomfortable emotions with food…you may want to find someone to talk to about it :)

Intuitive Eating Hater says…Intuitive eating is not for me because I know I am above my set point.

You can’t know you are above your set point range.  You aren’t God.  And quite honestly, I bet God doesn’t care about your body weight.  You got stuff to do in this life that shouldn’t be affected by the size of you and I truly believe God never meant for our body size to limit us so and occupy so much of our brainspace.

Your body is fine.  Your judgement of your body is what is not fine.  But anyways, all I will say here is it took my weight about 2 years to settle in the place it was meant to be.  Two years of fully embracing intuitive eating with no restrictions on what I did or didn’t eat and a huge step away from exercise.  When I was doing such vigorous exercise, I found it difficult to be aware of my hunger and fullness cues.  Mindful movement, like yoga and walking, is what helped me tune into my body cues more and more.

In this 2 year phase of finding my set point, I was aware of my weight fluctuating, but wasn’t micromanaging it.  I had a daily positive affirmations practice to keep myself calm (and a body image practice, here’s the video).  To stay at the same weight, you have to be obsessed with your weight…and that is not inline with intuitive eating at all.

Would love to have a conversation in the comments about other criticisms you have or you’ve heard about intuitive eating :)

81 comments on “For the Intuitive Eating Haters…this post is for you :)”

  1. This is incredible!! I feel in a different place now tjan years ago. I ate birthday cake on Friday to celebrate April birthdays of several of my coworkers, Matt & I had an amazing tacos & tapas lunch on Saturday + I made him a birthday cake, & Sunday I ate a juicy bison burger with fries at like 9:00/9:30pm. I have not felt the least bit guilty, didn’t change my eating to “make up for” those foods, & I’m happy. IE is amazing. All of these points are perfect, & I’m so glad you addressed them! I’m going to share this post on my Fb page. 🙂 💗

  2. 👏👏👏🙌🙌🙌

  3. This is a great post! I can’t stand when people say sugar is addictive- last time I checked people aren’t robbing stores and hurting people to feed their sugar addiction- serious reality check if you have never experienced being close to someone who has a real life drug addiction. Pinning to share with any haters :)

    • LOL Jess! I’m going to use this with clients now. Brilliant!

      • I went to a conference a few weeks ago and they addressed the “sugar addiction” and made the point similar to this that if someone was really sugar addicted a banana would be the same as a piece of cake or they would be satisfied by a true spoonful of sugar but that isn’t the case. A drug addict does have a preferred drug but anything will do when that is available. Last I checked if you are craving an oreo, a banana won’t do it for you!

        Great post!

  4. I haven’t fully embraced intuitive eating yet because I am still fixated on the possibility of gaining weight, which I know is unhealthy and something I need to work on. But I’ve brought the concept up to my boyfriend before, and I think the main issue is that he just doesn’t “get” it. He is extremely supportive and encourages me to explore what works best for me, but it is hard to explain intuitive eating to someone who has never had a history with food issues. He just views it as straight up eating, which I guess is sort of the point of it, to not worry about what you are eating and just eat. Anyway, I am rambling now but I just thought I’d write down my thoughts!

    • Hi Briana! Glad you shared your thoughts:) Here are my thoughts on your thoughts ;)

      What if gaining 10 pounds frees you from having to feel rigid and obsessive around food and movement? What if gaining 10 pounds gives you your life back? Is it worth not fully living for 10 pounds?

      Also, have you read the intuitive eating book? Sometimes it’s tough to explain the concept if you haven’t really dived into it!

  5. Hi. I actually like intuitive eating, but I do have a question that was not addressed. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the USA, and I am wondering if someone with this diagnosis or something like high cholesterol or artery blockages can still follow intuitive eating? Please note that I am NOT eluding to “fat people” getting these diseases because they are overweight. I believe people can be fat and probably pretty healthy. So lets just say ANY body type can develop these illnesses that may be preventable by proper food and exercise, and sure, let’s say intuitive eating can help to prevent the onset if it’s not a genetic concern. But, how would a RD treat a client who does have heart disease, high cholesterol, etc. using intuitive eating? This is where I struggle, and I’m not going to diet mentality… I’m just wondering how intuitive eating is healthy for all bodies when some bodies get really sick with a disease that likely requires dietary intervention to keep that person alive.

    • Hey Tara! Thanks for the comment!! What is most mind blowing to me about the American Heart Associations dietary recommendations is that they were based on Ancel Key’s Seven Countries Study where he only took data from the 7 countries that gave the data he liked. The data that said low fat is good for heart disease. Keys left out countries that had low rates of heart disease, yet had a diet rich in saturated fats. Only in the last two-ish years has the American Heart Association finally been able to admit that maybe they messed up (hello, eggs are “good” now lol!). Their dietary recommendations are dated. As an RD you have to take some of these guidelines with a grain of salt, unless they are solid recommendations that have been proven over and over again, like including fiber in a diet to lower cholesterol.

      But as far as teaching intuitive eating in these populations…
      If you’ve read Intuitive Eating, you know that part of IE is gentle nutrition. The RD working with heart disease, high cholesterol, etc patients should include helpful gentle nutrition guidelines specific to the population they are working with. That said, I strongly believe everyone can benefit from incorporating in the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating: http://www.evelyntribole.com/resources/intuitive-eating-articles-studies-support-groups/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating

  6. Love, love love!! thank you!

  7. I think a lot of what you’re saying is true but I disagree about the sugar point. There is a lot of research on the effects of sugar on the reward centers in the brain. I myself did a trial of no processed sugar a couple of years ago (for IBD) and I had SEVERE withdrawal – I was still eating fruit and honey and regular meals, so my blood sugar was not low (as you mentioned). I had headaches, muscle pain, anxiety/depression, that subsided after a few days, but to me it showed actually how powerful an effect sugar can have on a person, so I wouldn’t want to discredit people who feel its effects. I am back to eating/not restricting sugar, and I still agree with most of what you’re saying, but just wanted to share my experience with it and encourage reading up on the science behind it!

    • I agree that sugar is rewarding and pleasurable. As all food is. It should be pleasurable to follow our basic instinct of nourishing ourselves. I just don’t think we need fear mongering people saying we need lifetime abstinence from sugar because it is addictive in the same way alcohol or drugs are. Glad you have found what worked best for you and are back to eating/not restricting sugar!

    • I completely agree with this as I went through the same thing when I did Whole 30. When I reintroduced sugar in the form of cake, chocolate, or candy, after I finished, I would get instant headaches, feel like crap and just noticed the negative effects that sugar did cause to my body. I think there’s a time and a place for sugar, but I definitely believe it does have it’s “addictive aspects” as people get addicted to the pleasure and feeling that comes from eating sugar and do agree that it is more of a habit based thing than food. However I don’t think sugar should ever be encouraged daily, especially the processed kind. Amounts may vary but truly removing it from your diet and reintroducing it really showed me the negative effects sugar has, and how it alone can alter your blood sugar causing you to eat more and eat more sugar.

      • I agree that eating too much sugar makes one feel like crap. A large part of intuitive eating is being aware of what food makes you feel like and deciding if that food is something you’d like to eat. I’m not twisting anyone’s arm saying, “you have to eat sugar daily.” However, I find people feel far less crazy around sugar when they can incorporate it whenever they are craving it. The human body can process sugar, it’s the mind (and fear mongering media that compares sugar to cocaine…omgsh I wish they would shut up) that gets in the way.

        Your mention of, “I don’t think sugar should EVER be encouraged daily”…what about someone who has an eating disorder and has a panic attack every time they think about eating something with sugar in it? And because of this they are malnourished and can’t live their life. The evidenced-based approach would be exposure therapy where the person has to incorporate sugar daily. Or, how about a person who has been in a diet mentality their entire life and always limited sugar during the week only to binge on it during the weekend. A recommendation for him/her to incorporate sugar daily would also be appropriate.

        Eating sugar daily is not toxic and I’m not sure what negative effect you have seen sugar have on you. For me, I have only seen positive effects from eating sugar regularly, including:
        -I don’t feel restrictive, crazy, or out of control around desserts
        -my weight is stable within my set point range because no binge eating on sugary foods is occurring
        -i’m allowed to focus on the 5493 more important things than thinking about how much sugar I am or am not eating in a day

        • Hi! I completely agree with all those points… I guess its just some of the wording earlier got me a little thrown off. I do agree that restrictive eating, whether it be sugar, cheese, bread, etc does lead one to binge eat it when they finally cave, leading them to feel worse than if they had a little bit here and there. I also believe that if you’re craving something, you should eat it because trying to fulfill that craving by compensating with other foods can lead people to overeat trying to achieve that sense of satisfaction from multiple foods rather than just getting instant gratification from whatever it is they originally craved. I have been someone that has dealt with being severely underweight, and for me the foods that allowed me to get back to a healthy weight were more holistic foods — nut butters, grains, re introducting oils and healthy fats into my diet, before I eventually started to allow myself to enjoy a cookie, piece of cake, etc. I guess I feel as though we should encourage other foods before introducing sugar in the form of processed sugars. It was really hard for me at first to indulge on a lemon pound cake from starbucks over eating a piece of bread loaded with multiple tablespoons of almond butter. Does this make sense? Or to start with dark chocolate, honey, fruit, yogurts, cappuccinos before trying to encourage or allow them to have a highly processed piece of candy. I guess I’m torn because I totally agree with what you say and personally believe in everything in moderation but I see articles like http://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/diet-nutrition/a9597675/sugar-detox-meal-plan-recipes/ that does suggest the negative effects of sugar and forces me to promote healthier alternatives to all the processed foods. When I cut processed sugar out for prolonged periods of time and start out eating it again by having the smallest bits here and there (i’m talking a small piece of milk chocolate, a half a donut, small slice of cake or sugar cookie), I will get headaches, my insulin will spike, and I’ll be left craving more because the pleasure response in my brain goes off. 30 min or so later, I’ll have a slight headache and crave other foods. This happened after whole 30 and then I would force myself to eat a whole cookie etc so that I wouldn’t’ get this same response in the future and felt as though I could re-tolerate it again. In this sense, isn’t that bad? Our body doesn’t need processed sugar. Sorry for the rant!! I’m just so curious.

          • Hi Fran!

            Kylie–hope it’s okay that I am writing a response here. I was a Sociology/Psychology undergrad while being on a pre-med track–so we studied A LOT about social influence on human psychology. I too experimented with Whole 30 and a “sugar detox” when I was first interested in nutrition for health and wellness, because I read about the addictive nature of sugar and the withdrawal symptoms and I was curious. I did experience some adverse symptoms, which reinforced/validated what I was reading. However, three years later (after being introduced to and practicing IE for 1.5 years), I tried a “sugar detox” again and when I reintroduced it I had NO adverse reactions. I, like most people, feel best when I don’t eat a ton of added sugar (or if I eat sugary/carby foods WITH some protein and/or fat like peanut butter or something)–BUT cutting it out completely was actually not good for me. When I reintroduced it I actually felt BETTER and was very happy with that.

            The placebo effect is not just a phenomenon with medicines–our mind is a POWERFUL tool, and if we are convinced that eating or not eating something will do “X” to our bodies, we most likely will experience that to some extent. Hope this all makes sense:)

  8. This is so incredibly helpful! Logically I completely know how much intuitive eating makes sense and how much I want to be an intuitive eater, but convincing my emotional/subconscious self has been a little harder. But this post really helped me put aside my fears.

    • Hey Katherine,

      Ever named your emotional/subconscious self? I gave the irrational part of my brain a name awhile back and it’s been helpful in distancing myself from her unhelpful thoughts :)

  9. 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

    Love this article. When you mentioned the whole “sugar withdrawal” it made me think of the groggy/no energy phase of the Whole 30. I am now practicing Intuitive Eating but have been a “pro” diet flunker for many years. A few years ago I made my husband (he does not have food issues) do the Whole 30 (lasted all of 6 days maybe) and the poor guy had such an awful reaction to those first days. He had headaches, couldn’t concentrate, now I’m realizing his blood sugar was probably way too low! Geeze! Wife of the year 😂😂

    • Hi Amy! That’s a great point about Whole30. Another reason not to do it ;)

      As far as the headaches. I’ve read that we get headaches when our blood sugar is low because the blood vessels in our brain dilate to allow greater blood flow to get our brain more glucose (SUGAR!). The dilation of the blood vessel causes pain. Super interesting to me!

  10. Just in case anyone felt “scared” by the reference to “soothing yourself with sugar” every night. If you are eating (or not eating) the treat to cope with emotions and feelings that is not intuitive and will be a negative. If you are eating the treat, even nightly, with no connection to soothing emotions and feelings, but rather because you enjoy it and you want to eat it, that IS intuitive and it IS okay!
    I eat a treat with sugar/chocolate nightly and I am 100% fine. It is just as normal as eating fruit (or anything routinely) for a snack in the afternoon because that is what your body craves/you want and you have connected with you intuition enough to discover that.

    • Great point, Megan. Thanks for contributing!!

      • I would like to add, as an eating disorder therapist, that we counsel folks it IS okay to sometimes eat foods to soothe yourself or comfort yourself when emotional. It is a problem when it is your only coping strategy and is overused, but intuitive eaters and “normal” eaters also sometimes eat emotionally. Paying attention to doing so in a mindful way and letting yourself receive the satisfaction or comfort and noticing your limits, it can be just fine in recovery and doesn’t have to be demonized.

        • Agreed! Great input! I talk about this a lot on the blog and encourage the same message with clients. Sorry I conveyed that message poorly here. I edited the post above to be more in line with this thought process. Thanks, Michelle!

  11. I love the one about how sugar isn’t addictive! I actually wrote a final paper for a class about this – with rats, they only really wanted sugar when they were DEPRIVED of it/food. Food restriction causes rats to crave more sugar and with the assumption that they’re a good enough model organism for humans, it makes sense not to have food restrictions!

  12. Is it typical to take a few years to reach one’s natural set point after starting to eat intuitively? Thank you so much!

  13. Hi! I have been reading your page and following you on Instagram for a while. I really love this article but now do you deal with the fear of intuitive eating? I know the point is to trust your body but its terrifying. I don’t know if that’s a normal reaction or not… Do you have any articles that address this?

    Thank you!

  14. Hi :) I’m trying to recover from my eating disorder and practice intuitive eating. I stopped counting calories but fixate on portion size to avoid losing control around food. Eating a balanced diet is an issue sometimes as I compensate guilt with exercise as a form of control over body . I fear gaining any more weight as I don’t feel confident in my body ..feels like it needs to be constantly maintained.
    , Best regards
    Sarah

  15. Excellent post! Life is sooo much better without food obsession!
    I’m 23 years recovered from the eating disorder I had in high school. But these posts reaffirm my thoughts on intuitive eating and remind me of what is important when teaching my kids about food and rejecting the diet mentality that is all around us.

  16. Yay! Love this post (and all of your posts!). I’m super interested in IE, as someone who used to follow the calories in calories out approach for too long, but still can’t get the idea out of my head. The ideas of diet culture are everywhere, and it is sickening. At the hibachi restaurant last weekend, the chef cooking in front of my family was asking was on a diet so he knew who to give chopsticks to..the look on my face was pure disgust to the point where HE thought something was wrong with ME. I haven’t gotten the book yet, because I’m a sucker for reading Amazon reviews and was surprised by all the negative reviews, BUT those naysayers are the exact reason you wrote this post. So thank you! Will order the book ASAP. <3

    • OMGSH I want to throw a chopstick at that chef! HOW MESSED UP! As a chef he’s supposed to understand that food is for pleasure! I would’ve definitely called out that, “EDB” (Eating Disorder Behavior)!

      That’s interesting about the Amazon reviews for Intuitive Eating. I like my eCourse better than the Intuitive Eating book, but the book is cheaper and it is a good place to start :)

  17. There must be something in the air- this was just published on Refinery29 today: http://www.refinery29.com/2017/05/152264/portion-control-sizes-diet-issue
    From reading your blog, I know you dislike the term “balanced” eating, but scroll down to paragraph 4.

    • I always like a good Kelsey Miller article!

      And hehe you know me well ;) For anyone else reading this comment I dislike the term “balanced” eating because when in my ED I always associated it with restriction. People would say, “I’m eating balanced” and then never eat a cookie…I was all like “what I don’t get it?!” It’s normal to rebel against any food rules (even the rule of “your eating has to look balanced”) when you’ve spent your life being controlled by food rules and are trying to get away from them and what they do to you.

      I explain what my version of balanced eating is in my How To Eat eCourse: http://immaeatthat.teachable.com/courses

  18. Oh my gosh I love you.

  19. Thank you for saying sugar is not addictive. That label, addictive, is just misused when using it to refer to a nutrient that breaks down into a vital to keep us alive. I don’t like labeling in general, but I was reading your comments about not liking the term balanced diet. What do you feel about the word moderation? Sometimes I think I need these words (balance, moderation, less processed) to make it easier to grasp the concept that specific, regimented diets aren’t the answer. What are better words would you suggest to use when talking to the gen pop?!

    • Hi Monica! Thanks for commenting!

      Any of my nutrition counseling clients reading this would say I do use the word “balanced”…I just prefer to say in the same thought that the goal isn’t to make one’s eating look balanced. Embracing intuitive eating + gentle nutrition allows balance to occur naturally. We don’t have to aim for balance, because balance just happens if we are aware of hunger/fullness/cravings/emotional vs physical hunger.

      One of my issues with the word “balance” is that a lot of times when starting the intuitive eating journey, intake doesn’t look balanced at all…it looks like all the foods the person has been depriving themselves of. And this continues until they allow themselves unconditional permission to eat all foods. People saying “your eating must looked balanced” is another food rule.

      I recognize me not liking the word “balanced” is totally a lot of my stuff coming up lol. But if the word ‘balance’ messed with my head during learning to intuitively eat, I’m sure it has messed with other people’s heads too.

      So I don’t really have better words for us to use…I just like to explain what I mean when I say “balanced.”

  20. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m struggling a lot with intuitive eating and feeling like I’m not eating healthily enough or that I can’t get my sugar cravings in control. You described everything really well, and I really enjoyed this piece. :)

    • There is nothing wrong with sugar cravings, just like there is nothing wrong with vegetable cravings. For instance…If you’re gonna allow yourself to have vegetable cravings without judging them, I think all should allow themselves to have sugar cravings without judging them.

      Sometimes worth noting though –> Many times sugar cravings are more intense if you let your blood sugar get too low. If you are ever eliminating carbs at any meal or going more than 3 hours without food, it’s normal for your blood sugar level to drop. When this happens (because your body is a genius), you body goes, “what could we make her crave to boost her blood sugar right now? Cake, cookies, candy, muffins!” Anything with easy to digest carb that’ll spike your blood sugar fast. Eating regularly and having carbs throughout the day is a way to prevent you from getting in the ‘blood sugar cravings’ zone. That said, cravings are a normal part of being a human.

  21. Kylie, thank you for writing this post! Becoming an RD this summer and very passionate about intuitive eating, I often wondered how to address these questions/comments from non-intuitive eating believers(As we have NO training in school). Looking forward to the seminar on May 10th!!!

    • Yay! Glad you signed up, Hannah!! I’m excited for it! Gonna have a lot of great info on intuitive eating for RDs and RD2bs. Here’s the link if anyone else would like to sign up: bit.ly/ieseminar

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  23. A round of applause to you, girl. I honestly felt like standing up and shouting “yes!” with every one of these points. Thank you especially for explaining how sugar is not addictive like drugs. I still struggle sometimes with thinking too much about the amount of sugar I eat in a day – trying not to eat too much or I feel bad about myself. So thank you!

  24. Kylie you make SUCH good arguments and points! I love the part about the highly palatable foods. And for as long as I’ve been around I’ve never heard the sugar addiction theory explained that way. It makes so much sense!! Thank you for posting and continuing to fight this ever increasing battle against the diet mentality. I praise you and God for this!

  25. In reinforcement of your point about sugar being soothing…did you know they give babies sugar water in the NICU before procedures to keep them calm. They did that with my son. It’s scientific beauty.

  26. I read this post earlier today and I didn’t comment right away… I wanted to think about it for a while. I have fallen hard for the intuitive eating community in the last few months. Part of me wanted to write to ask your advice, Kylie, on how to be an “intuitive eater” as a type 1 diabetic- because I have to focus on numbers so much and sometimes I think that awareness gets in my head.

    But later today when I was at the store, a thought came into my head: How can there be any argument AGAINSt intuitive eating?! the word intuition is defined by dictionary.com as “direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.” 

    Basically, I realized that Intuitive eating shouldn’t even be a THING because it is NATURE doing what nature does- existence without reasoning. The birds intuitively know that they have to hop out of the nest in order to learn to fly. All baby animals know intuitively where to get their mother’s milk. We humans are the only species who complicate our existence by questioning our intuition and trying to do things our own way. 

    This is turning into a ramble, but I just want to say that the fact that there are “intuitive eating haters” suddenly makes no sense to me (although I 100% used to be one!) I am not saying that the intuitive eating community isn’t necessary, I am just at a point where I feel sad that we need such things in the world to help us exist as the pure life forms that we are. 

    • This is such an interesting point, Trista! I’m really glad you shared. I hadn’t thought about IE in this way. It is crazy that intuitive eating has to be a THING! The diet industry has robbed us of our instincts!

    • This! Ages ago I wrote a post on why intuitive eating makes me sad. Sad not as a concept but because so many of us have been disconnected from our intuition so much that we need to relearn what used to be innate. It’s the way my whole family and actually pretty much everyone around me eats so when I told some of them about the IE principles way back they simply shrugged and basically said “yeah, that’s just eating you do!?”. Nevertheless, I’m so happy people like you, Kylie, are working against the BS messages we’re constantly told by the dieting industry. It might be sad we need to learn how to live intuitively again but having support like your blog is invaluable in achieving this.

  27. Well I understand people don’t have to be stick skinny to  be healthy but I just don’t understand how  people who are like X pounds are healthy?  Being overweight puts you at a higher risk for health problems.  I want to try intuitive eating  but i just don’t understand how you can be healthy at every size. Its been clearly shown in studies that obese people are at higher risk for health problems.

    • My question to you would be…are people in larger bodies at a higher risk for health problems because they have more fat on their bodies or are those people who are in larger bodies AND have health problems the ones lacking healthful behaviors. Is fat actually bad? Or is the lack of healthful behaviors bad?

      I think many people don’t look into what the “health at every size” (HAES) approach stands for, so I can understand why it could be confusing. The HAES approach encourages all to listen to internal cues of hunger and fullness and find movement that is enjoyable. It takes the focus off of trying to get your body to be a particular size and puts the focus on engaging in healthy behaviors like finding movement you can consistently do, tuning into hunger and fullness levels, and having awareness of disordered eating behaviors. Some people who engage in healthy behaviors do end up in larger bodies…that doesn’t mean they are doing anything wrong or that lab work would show they are unhealthy.

      I believe one can engage in healthful behaviors and have fat on their body AND still be healthy.

      • Thank you for replying. I really want to understand more about intuitive eating so Iam going to research it more. Also I will look at HAES more to understand it.

        To awsner your question, well having fat isn’t bad. Although isnt having too much fat on your body not good? I agree that lack of healthful behaviors is bad. Are you saying you can be healthy at a really high weight like 300 pounds as long as you engage in healthful behavoírs? Isn’t 300 pounds clearly too much fat on the body?

  28. Kylie, thank you SO MUCH for being such a positive voice in this community! Your passion is so evident in everything you do, and I am so grateful that you and others (Alexis – The Hummusapien comes to mind) aren’t afraid to tell things like they truly are. LOVE THIS POST!

  29. I just love you Kylie!  That is all.😉💗

  30. Girl. YES. I’m so sick of everything being about losing weight all the time. Why can’t it just be about feeling good? Feeling your best? Intuitive eating is so important because we need to fuel the bodies that allow us to be US. And for sure like, we can’t just go eat a box of oreos because we just want to in that moment, but at the same time if I want an oreo, I’m gonna eat a damn oreo. So sue me!

    Love how honest you are, never stop being that!!!

  31. Wow…thank you for sharing this, Kylie! I really appreciate how thorough you are in answering so many criticisms. I honestly haven’t heard many people talk about intuitive eating; I think that Robyn’s blog was the first to introduce me to the idea. The body confidence, freedom, and confidence you both exude in your identity in Christ is so encouraging, especially for those Christian women like me who have struggled with an eating disorder before.

    I really like your explanation of why sugar is not a drug. I was listening to an interview yesterday and the speaker was directly relating sugar (and flours) to drugs, claiming that sugar had “addictive” qualities in its effects on the brain. I stopped listening to the interview part way through because I wasn’t sold on the idea and because I remembered seeing on your Instagram that you had recently blogged about why sugar isn’t addictive. So I read your post this morning. :) Thank you for sharing!

  32. I can hear your passion and your voice through this blog for sure girl! Thanks for the sugar addiction section. That is a huge hurdle for a lot of folks!

  33. Huge, huge thank you for this post. I’m a current fitness competitor who will be hanging up her sparkly bikini and heels after the competition season this year and feeling [quite] anxious about post-competing life/relationship with food (despite my great coach – nothing negative to say here about that.) I’ve tried IE before (but I don’t think I gave it a chance/did it properly, LOL), but this post has inspired me to try it again (especially accepting that it will likely take me a while to get back to ‘normal’/non-tracking lifestyle.) Thank you x infinity for this! Who knew stumbling across a coconut flour cookie recipe would be such a catalyst for change?! :)

  34. Thank you for this! Your blog has seriously been so instrumental in my journey to a healthy relationship with food and fighting against body image issues! I’ve become very passionate about it!
    I have a question regarding intuitive eating that I would love for you to address or give me your thoughts. I really like Diet Coke. But I hate that it’s part of the “diet culture.” At this point I’m like “do I drink it Bc I like it or not Bc I don’t like the message it could be sending?!? I might be over thinking this but I would love to hear any thoughts or discussion on this :)

  35. Hi Kylie, I really appreciate your blog and it’s positivity. I sometimes have some cognitive dissonance when I read your posts, though, because I enjoy experimenting with my diet and different food groups. I hate Whole 30 and long-term plans like it, but I will often do things like spend a week or two eating as little added sugar as possible. I just like experimenting with new recipes and switching up my food routine to see how it affects my body (for example, during one week without sugar I tried seltzer water instead of soda, and now I’m completely obsessed with it–I drink it all the time and soda is now a rare treat that I never crave). But I worry when I read your page that I’m not practicing intuitive eating by depriving myself for short periods of time. Is there a way to practice intuitive eating while doing this, or am I being hypocritical?

    • Hey Margaret!

      I love Kylie’s blog, because she opens up these kinds of discussions:). I would say that if you are worried about whether or not you are “depriving” or “restricting” yourself–reflect on your mindset around these experiments with your eating and how you feel when you eat. Are you depriving yourself to be “healthy” or “fit” or “thin” or to lose weight? Do you feel bad about yourself if you eat added sugars or when you do crave soda? If your mind is in a good, healthy place, and you are giving your body what it wants (eating intuitively), then I don’t think you should be worried. Self awareness is a HUGE part of intuitive eating, and it can take a lot of practice–but it’s definitely worth it if you want to feel happy, satisfied, and good about your food choices and your body:) I hope this was helpful! (p.s. Kylie–please add anything or correct something if you disagree)

  36. Hi Kylie!
    I stumbled onto your blog and a couple other IE blogs recently, and I absolutely love reading your blog! I had never heard of IE before and have been diving into research and information on it. It’s what encouraged me to change my degree plans 😊 I would love to hear your thoughts on intuitive eating and T1D. I hope to become an RD, and I feel like the T1D community leans heavily toward eating disorders. I certainly developed my own disordered eating because of my illness. It’s hard to listen to your body when your constantly having to eat when your full, not being able to eat when your starving, and force yourself to finish a meal when your over full because you took your insulin. Thanks in advance 😊

  37. RE: the perception that sugar is addictive stems from our perception that “it’s bad, it’s a treat, I shouldn’t do this”. We get a thrill from doing something we think is wrong.  It’s NOT sugar itself that’s addicting, but the act of doing something we *think* we shouldn’t.  And addiction + feeling poorly after eating sugar are two separate things! Sure, if your blood sugar is low, you haven’t had a meal in a few hours, pure sugar might cause your blood sugar to spike and you don’t feel great. But if you pair it with some protein/fat (PEANUT BUTTER FOR THE WIN) you’re probably less likely to have the crash. 
    So let’s do what feels good and stop feeling guilt/shame for it! 

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  40. I’m crying right now. My soul needed this, I have lost 65 pounds in 7 months. I have major hormonal problems. I am 28 and got a complete hysterectomy in February (I kept one ovary). I was terrified of gaining weight in my six weeks off. I had been heavy lifting and zone training. I literally look a half person. Anyway, on too of hormones I have an eating disorder. I started stepping on the scale every time I wanted to eat. The scale is even in my kitchen. I would look at the number and think to myself I wasn’t hungry. I was falling back into my old ways. I was back in the gym EIGHT days post op doing light cardio for 20 min on the recumbent bike. I simply couldn’t stand the thought of gaining weight. Food has been a battle for 20 years and the voice telling me ( I was 306 at 5’1 and literally gained 20-25 pounds a year even on a 900 calorie diet) and gained 95 three months AFTER I had my son because of my hormones. that voice mocked me every time I ate even when it was a clean raw diet. I was a disgusting pig when eating raw carrots with no dip. I was nasty useless cow when eating ice cream. It was a no win for me. Retraining my brain to see that food is good and meant to be enjoyed has been hard. This makes perfect sense in teaching ones brain and body moderation and healthy approach to food. Thank you, for this.

  41. I have not loved another blog post more than this! It’s like you speak directly to me; knowing the journey that I’m on! <3

    The parts of this post that really resonate with me are: Sugar isn't addictive – I have been so brainwashed to think of sugar as evil!, Judging those with larger bodies adds to the weight they carry – why haven't I thought of it like this? and "I bet God doesn't care about your body weight"… what an amazing perspective to have. We have a bigger purpose here, consuming our days with thoughts and restrictions on how we feed our body is wasting time we could be investing in making our lives full of love! You are amazing, thank you for spreading your passion and knowledge – you've helped me so much!

  42. I really appreciate your post. I am a health and wellness blogger and recently have been checking into intuitive eating. I really appreciate the many great points you made. When it comes to food there are so many different options I agree one hundred percent that we need to be in tune with out body. Thank you again I found this very educational.

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  44. This. Is. So. Good.

    As an exercise physiologist it’s hard not to think of my body (and others) allllll the time. I love the idea of giving ourselves time. I also love the analogy that nature and other things give us natural highs, and we don’t consider those bad (like we do sweets)! Excellent post!

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