Why Intuitive Eating Isn’t Good for Weight Loss
MOLECULAR & CELL
BIOLOGY, UC BERKELEY
June 5, 2023
The topic of intuitive eating was recently covered in a New York Times article, and it got people wondering about its rejection of “diet culture” as a means to a healthier relationship with food and a possible method for weight loss.
As an online weight loss coach, whenever an article about an “innovation” in our approach to food pops up (quotes used because these “innovations” are usually just a rehashing of methods that have been around for years), people come to me with questions: does this method work? Should I try this to lose weight? Can you incorporate this into the weight loss plan you built for me?
Though intuitive eating promises a better relationship with food and positive body image, it’s misleading to think it will be effective for sustainable and healthy weight loss. In fact, intuitive eating has never been advertised as a weight loss program, but some think “healthy” eating alone is the key to losing weight. In this article I explain what intuitive eating is, how it’s not the answer to sustainable weight loss, and how to achieve a good relationship with food with a meal plan that isn’t restrictive and helps you lose weight.
WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING?
In theory, intuitive eating is simple: Listen to the needs of your body and its hunger cues — then stop eating when you’re satisfied. Developed on the foundation of science and intuition, this approach focuses on ditching the diet mentality and fostering a positive relationship with food to make your body healthier physically and mentally.
In 1995, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch published the book “Intuitive Eating: a Revolutionary Program that Works”. Considered radical at the time, it was marketed as “a revolutionary anti-diet approach to eating” and has since become a staple text of the anti-diet movement – selling over 700,000 copies to date.
PROS AND CONS OF INTUITIVE EATING
Since the book “Intuitive Eating” was published back in 1995, the method has come with mixed reactions and its fair share of criticism. Though it’s embraced by some as a way to establish a healthy relationship with food, it falls short in identifying the pragmatic approach to food and how hunger affects the psyche.
|BENEFITS OF INTUITIVE EATING
|DRAWBACKS OF INTUITIVE EATING
|Rejects the diet mentality.
|Lacks structure and guidance.
|Alleviates thinking about what you eat.
|Requires background knowledge of food, calories, portion sizes, and basic nutrition.
|Accepts the body in its current state.
|Easy to overeat.
CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITH INTUITIVE EATING?
Intuitive eating has never been intended to be a weight loss plan, nor is it practical for shedding those extra pounds. In fact, the objective of intuitive eating is to accept your body in its current state and embrace the emotions that come with nourishing your body and mind. If you’re in it to lose weight, you’re actually rejecting the fundamentals of its approach.
Even with intuitive eating, you have to be educated about, and aware of, the foods you’re choosing. For example, reaching for a pre-packaged “low-fat” or “fat-free” snack found in the grocery aisle, can be misleading.
Protein bars, granola bars, and fruit juice can be packed with unwanted sugar. Even snacks that aren’t sweet like granola, oatmeal, chips, and gluten-free crackers can be filled with hidden sugars and empty calories.
The fact is, sweet or not, sugar acts like a drug. It creates new, hard to control cravings as quickly as they're being ingested. Further, they’re packed with empty calories that leave you wanting more with the same hunger pangs you started with.
The key to losing weight is to get ahead of your hunger; if you’re hungry and don’t have a plan for what to eat, then you’re on your backfoot. Learning how to stop those sugar cravings and get educated on how to combine foods can aid in digestion and satisfy hunger. Knowledge is more powerful than intuition. Intuitive eating gives your hunger the reins, but if you want to lose weight, YOU need to point your hunger in the right direction.
MASALA BODY'S SOLUTION: EATING THAT FEELS INTUITIVE AND DELIVERS WEIGHT LOSS
By first helping myself, then sharing my knowledge and expertise with hundreds of other women, I’ve created a program that combines individual food preferences and a structure for behavioral change into a lifestyle transformation that delivers weight loss results.
The Principles of Masala Body’s Weight Loss Programs
- Adapts to the unique needs of the client
From the first meeting together, I take the time to understand my client, their needs, and their goals. Each plan is uniquely adapted to the client’s schedule, dietary restrictions, and even factors in those necessary cravings. I teach my clients how to create food combinations that lower blood sugar and increase fat-burning based on their personal food preferences.
- Encourages eating—a lot!
Through my hundreds of recipes, tips, and tricks, it’s easy to find food that’s not only healthy, but filling and satisfying in my program. By eating nutritionally dense foods like more protein, tasty veggies, and healthy carbs and fats, you can learn how to eat more, consume less calories, and eliminate unwanted cravings.
- Creates structure and routine
Unlike intuitive eating, I recognize the importance of a set routine and clear guidelines. By creating and implementing a structured plan, my 8-week Slim Down Jumpstart program provides the structure and accessibility to get ahead of hunger and leaving little room for error.
- Educates the client
With extensive resources, educational blog posts, weekly meetings, and a supportive online community, my clients increase their knowledge for a manageable lifestyle.
- Provides guidance and support
Despite my commitment to the healthy lifestyle I’ve created, I often find that I need guidance and support sometimes. My 8-week Slim Down Jumpstart program provides reassurance that you are on the right track and affirms that the goals you’re trying to reach are moving closer.
Taking the Next Step
With education comes knowledge and the ability to make confident choices that benefit you, your body, and your mind. At Masala Body, I work with professional women who have tried every diet, read every book, and monitored every calorie only to be let down time and time again.
Through my 8-Week Slimdown Jumpstart program, I acknowledge that the key to success is unique for every individual and requires adapting to the changing demands of life. Though each journey is different, we all need knowledge and education to commit to a healthier lifestyle.
Read some of my client’s motivating weight loss from fat success stories to see what worked for them. Then, book a call to see how to start living the rest of your life in the body you’ve always deserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Read More…