So let me say this once and for all: intuitive eating is not just about eating whatever you want! It's about giving yourself permission to eat anything you want, whenever you want it. Allow me to explain the difference: by giving yourself permission to eat all the "bad" foods you've never allowed yourself to eat (without enormous guilt or a promise to run 5 miles the following day), the food no longer has control over you, and when you encounter a previously forbidden food, you may find that you'll be more likely pass it up or only eat a little bit of it, rather than go on an all-out binge, because you'll know that you can have it whenever you want. Sure, maybe in the beginning when you give yourself permission to eat any food you want, you might find yourself eating cupcakes and pizza all day every day, but after a few days, these coveted foods won't excite you as much. It's called habituation -- repeated exposure to a "forbidden" food item eventually causes you to grow tired of it, and you no longer desire it as you did before.
A great example of habituation happened in our household over the holidays. A friend of mine gave my husband and me an enormous block of really good quality chocolate as a Christmas gift. I'm not joking when I say this thing was huge-- it literally came with a little hammer to crack pieces off of it! During the first couple of weeks of having this thing on my kitchen counter, we would crack off pieces of chocolate every day, often more than once a day. After a couple of weeks, it came to the point where a day would go by without having a piece, and then sometimes a few days would go by without any chocolate consumption. Eventually, a couple months later when we were about two-thirds of the way through it, the size of the remaining chunk of chocolate seemed to remain constant for a few weeks. The chocolate was still really good, but it no longer held any power over us. We would only have a piece when we really wanted it, as opposed to just eating it because it was there. That's what habituation and unconditional permission does.
|My husband ready to chow down on our enormous chocolate bar!|
I hope that clears things up a little. I know that the idea of "eating anything you want" is completely foreign to most people, and it seems pretty counter-intuitive as a way to achieve a healthy lifestyle. But within the context of the entire philosophy of intuitive eating, it really does make sense, and I truly believe that adopting this way of thinking can help you to achieve a balance in your life that will ultimately lead to improved physical and psychological health. It certainly has for me!
Now that I've clarified things, do you think this could work for you? I'd love to hear what you think!