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Two Truths & A Lie: Intuitive Eating Edition

Two Truths & A Lie: Intuitive Eating Edition

Have you heard of the game Two Truths and a Lie? Snoop & Martha have played it, but they reversed it and did two lies and a truth. Basically, it’s a party game where you share three statements about yourself – two of the statements are true, and one of them is not; everyone else has to guess which one is a lie.

I thought it’d be fun to get to know our new friend, Intuitive Eating, a little better by playing the same game. Ready? Here are the three statements:

  • Intuitive Eating will help you get to your healthy weight.
  • Intuitive Eating doesn’t always come naturally.
  • Intuitive eaters only eat when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

Got your answer? Read on and see if you’re right!

1. Intuitive Eating will help you get to your healthy weight.

True. This is a tricky one – notice the wording; it’s “your healthy weight”, not “ideal weight” or “healthy BMI”.

Intuitive Eating is about tuning into your body and inner wisdom, and eating in a way that meets your unique physical and emotional needs. When you are eating in a way that honours your individual health needs, your body will naturally settle at its healthy weight, which may be higher, lower, or the same as your current weight.

“Healthy weight” is the term used by Green Mountain at Fox Run to describe this concept, while I’ve also heard the terms “best weight” or “sanity set point” – no matter what term you use, the definition is, the weight where your body settles when you are living a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy.

Your healthy weight where your body settles when you're living a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy. Click To Tweet

2. Intuitive Eating doesn’t always come naturally.

True. This is a tricky one too! We are all born natural intuitive eaters. If you’ve been around a baby, you’ve probably seen it before – they make it known when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

However, from the second that we’re born, we’re exposed to a never-ending stream of messages about food, eating and our bodies that influence our eating habits and body image over time. Unfortunately, most of the messages that we hear nowadays perpetuate fatphobia, which negatively impacts everyone – fat people are told that they should be working toward the thin ideal, and thin people are told that they should do everything they can to not be fat. At the same time, “gurus” have popped up everywhere promising that they can help us achieve this thin ideal in a myriad of ways, reinforcing the idea that we should trust the “experts” instead of trusting our own bodies and inner wisdom.

It’s no wonder that when we are reintroduced to the idea of Intuitive Eating that it feels so unnatural and foreign! We have to unlearn so many beliefs and behaviours that are still being taught to us every single day. This can make your journey difficult and full of setbacks, so you may find it helpful to surround yourself with the right support, whether it’s your healthcare team, family, friends or even a support group online.

#IntuitiveEating doesn't always come naturally—have to unlearn #diet culture beliefs & behaviours. Click To Tweet

3. Intuitive eaters only eat when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

Since the first two statements were truths, it means this statement is false.

One of the core concepts in Intuitive Eating is tuning into your hunger/fullness cues and honouring your hunger. With our busy lives and schedules, however, it’s not always realistic to eat what you want, when you want.

Sometimes you might find that you eat a little extra at a meal, or eat something you don’t necessarily want, just because you know that you won’t be able to eat later on, and you don’t want to be uncomfortably hungry.

Sometimes you decide that feeding your “emotional hunger” is more important and satisfying, even when you’re not physically hungry.

At the end of the day, Intuitive Eating is flexible, and what your body needs is going to change from day to day, moment to moment. Trying to only eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full runs the risk of turning into another “food rule” or “diet”.

#IntuitiveEating is flexible! What your body needs is going to change from moment to moment. Click To Tweet
How did you fare? What are some of the other truths and lies that you’ve encountered on your Intuitive Eating journey?

4 Comments

  • Lori on Apr 20, 2017 Reply

    Whoa, this is good stuff! Thank you! And I’m with the first commenter. I am currently focused on mindful eating rather than intuitive eating. I also maintain some food rules. Maybe it’s because I don’t trust myself to eat well intuitively but also I think discipline is important. To wit I feel better when I eat a lot of vegetables so I have personal rules that require me to eat vegetables before and with each meal. Well, fruit with breakfast, but still. It’s not intuitive and intuitive eating police have taken me to task on this on a particular Facebook page but I’m sticking to it and a few other rules because they work for me. Also, further to your third point, I consider emotional hunger a legitimate hunger. I’ve noticed too that because I’m eating so many veggies, I can stop after about a handful of chips or only a few chocolates rather than eating all the things. I’ve made some progress and I’m pleased about it.

    • Vincci Tsui on Apr 20, 2017 Reply

      Hi Lori,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve run into the “Intuitive Eating Police” – one topic that’s come up in some other Facebook groups is “Where does nutrition fit in Intuitive Eating?” and the answer is, “Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition” is literally principle #10. I think it’s the piece that’s often overlooked when it comes to Intuitive Eating, because for many people, especially when they’re just starting on their journey, any talk of nutrition feels “diet-y”, restrictive and/or triggering. What I’m trying to say is, in many cases, the “Intuitive Eating Police” are either people who are just starting the journey themselves and haven’t reached the stage of gentle nutrition, or they’re looking out for members in the group who might be at those earlier stages/still very disordered, and might find the nutrition talk triggering.

      My take is, Intuitive Eating is less about the behaviours and more about the intention. If your intention to eat more vegetables comes from a place of self care and knowing that they make you feel better, go for it! If you’re doing it from a place of “this is the only way I’ll choke my vegetables down”, then that might be something worth exploring.

      You actually might be interested in the work of Ellyn Satter – her “eating competence” model is similar to Intuitive Eating, but includes more structure, which you might find resonates with you a bit more. You might also want to check out Michelle May’s Am I Hungry? series.

  • Beva Dudiak on Apr 20, 2017 Reply

    This was helpful. Thanks. I still use an app to keep track of calories and macros etc. And panic when it comes to the end of the day and my nutrition is way off. I struggle with letting go of the app because I am afraid of overeating. But I feel I would be better off to try to eat intuitively. Which I have been already doing to some extent. Do you think it’s possible to keep the app and eat intuitively? I think there’s a contradiction there. I want so much to change for the better.

    • Vincci Tsui on Apr 20, 2017 Reply

      Hi Beva,

      Thanks for your comment, and for the great question! I can definitely “hear” your ambivalence – on one hand, using the app can give you information about the food that you’re eating that your body can’t (well, at least my body can’t tell how many calories or how many grams of carbs are in something!) On the other, using that app sometimes makes you feel bad about yourself and perhaps it’s not giving you the results that you want, and you’re hoping that Intuitive Eating will.

      I’m curious about that last part, where you say “I want so much to change for the better.” What does that mean to you? How might eating intuitively help with that? How might keeping or not keeping the app help or not help with that?

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