I’ve had several of you lovely readers send me messages [which, by the way, thank you!, I absolutely love hearing from you guys + connecting! Don’t be afraid to reach out!] that often center around the title of this post.
You love some of the content I’ve put out about how diets don’t work, exercise should be fun instead of punishment, and how all foods can fit in a nutritious diet without strict rules. But… How do I lose weight?
The answer to this question is not always what people like to hear.
Weight loss cannot be our goal.
Not only does it not have to be the goal, but it doesn’t even have to happen in order for us to improve our health + quality of life. Remember, weight loss ≠ health. Focusing on self-love + forming habits that support your overall health [mental, emotional, social, physical, etc.] is not only more successful long term, but is also way less miserable than allowing a scale to dictate your happiness.
It’s no mistake that the very first principle of Intuitive Eating is “ditch the diet mentality.” Because keeping ourselves in the mindset that we need to make our bodies smaller in order to be healthy or happy leads to us feeling discouraged + often, a disordered eating pattern.
Raise your hand if you’ve been burned by the scale? 🙋 I’m talking about when you step on it after a week of “eating clean” and working out “hard” all the time, and it hasn’t budged. What the heck, right? So you get sad, annoyed, disappointed, or maybe just plain pissed off. Why put so much time + effort into this whole “getting fit” thing for it to not even work?
Then, you rebel. You stop moving your body regularly. Maybe you binge after starving yourself for a week. Then you swear you’ll start again on Monday.
Hold up. What if instead of that “clean eating” rigid diet + workout routine, you tuned in to your hunger + fullness cues and allowed yourself to eat what you crave? Because sometimes that’s going to be a burger + fries, but sometimes it’s also going to be a big colorful salad.
And you find a movement you love. Maybe it’s long walks with your dog. Or yoga. Or dance classes. You love it so much that you do it keep going + have fun. And don’t quit after x number of days because “you’re not losing weight so why try.”
This is how intuitive eating is different than dieting. You gradually work on various habits that support your health, but that also take into account your mental + emotional wellbeing. And it’s freaking realistic. We have so many responsibilities with not enough hours in the day to meal prep individual containers of bland chicken, brown rice, + steamed broccoli. Nor do we have time between running kids from extracurriculars to workout every single day for hours. And that is okay.
You know what we will be happy to make time for? Habits that make us feel good. That give us energy from the inside out. That are fun. That help our bodies function at their best. Habits that don’t put us down or make us feel worthless. Habits that embrace that we are dynamic human beings + perfection is unattainable.
Is it possible to lose weight with intuitive eating? Yes. Is it possible to gain weight with intuitive eating? Yes. Is it possible to stay the same weight with intuitive eating? Another yes. Weight changes come into play as you honor your hunger cues + gradually shift towards your set point weight [aka the weight our body genetically prefers].
Working directly with a non-diet dietitian is always going to be my first recommendation for getting started + being supported throughout this process. I have a list of dietitians working virtually if that is something that interests you, so give me a shout + I’ll hook you up!
However, I totally understand that we have budgets + other financial obligations, so if working with a dietitian isn’t in the cards for you right now, I’ve included a list below of some additional resources! It’s a great place to start.
- Intuitive Eating + The Intuitive Eating Workbook by Evelyn Tribole + Elyse Resch
- Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon
- Rebecca Scritchfield + her book Body Kindness
- Food Psych Podcast
- Love, Food Podcast
- Nutrition Matters Podcast
- Satisfy Nutrition
- The Real Life RD
- Rachel Hartley Nutrition
- Smart Nutrition
- Abbey’s Kitchen
[^^^ list contains some affiliate links]
Have you ditched dieting?