By: Erin Kukura, MS, RD
UCSD Recreation Dietitian
Last month, I wrote an article all about Intuitive Eating. However, there are a few misconceptions out there. Read on to learn more about fact versus fiction.
Myths about Intuitive Eating:
- “If I eat whatever I want, I will just eat brownies all day” – This is a common myth that stems from someone who is not yet an Intuitive Eater. To eat intuitively means to honor and nourish your body by considering your hunger levels, what food sounds satisfying, and how your body will feel afterwards. If you were a true intuitive eater, eating brownies all day would likely leave you feeling sick and uncomfortable.
In the beginning of this journey, you will likely still be viewing foods as “good versus bad” and might experience occasions of overeating. It might be scary to think about the times you may have felt out of control around food. However, as you begin to make peace with food and know that you can eat a brownie whenever you want, you are likely to choose to eat in a way that is enjoyable. Therefore, eating brownies all day likely wouldn’t be the answer to eating intuitively.
Disclaimer – On your journey to making peace with food it is normal and essential to go through a period of time where you allow yourself unconditional permission to eat all the foods you once considered “off limits.” This part is crucial to truly make peace with food, so you no longer have an emotional response to eating these “trigger foods.” Just know that this period will pass and is a necessary part of the journey to becoming a true Intuitive Eater.
- “I’ll gain weight” – many people fear eating intuitively will mean that they will gain weight. For some individuals, once they are Intuitive Eaters they may find that their weight stays the same, for others it may decrease or even increase. The point is that it is not about the weight. What is more important is nourishing yourself appropriately, eating balanced foods, incorporating movement, taking care of your needs and stressors in healthy ways. Intuitive Eaters are associated with lower BMI, triglycerides and disordered eating1. You may gain weight, but more importantly, you gain freedom, joy, pleasure and satisfaction with your body and life again.
- “Intuitive Eating is eating when hungry and stopping when full” – This emerged a few years ago when some individuals tried to make eating intuitively into a diet. While intuitive eating does encourage you to pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues it does not have strict rules. The core of intuitive eating means taking these cues into account while also nourishing and taking care of yourself. That may mean eating an earlier lunch when you are not yet hungry because you have back to back meetings and will be unable to eat for a few hours. It may also mean having a few extra bites and ordering dessert at an amazing restaurant because it tastes so good and maybe experiencing slightly more uncomfortable fullness. It is about understanding that our body and our eating choices can be varied and one meal, one day, one week will not determine our health.
If you’d like assistance on your journey to well-being or feel that you would like to improve your relationship with food feel free to contact the Recreation Dietitian, Erin Kukura, MS, RD at email@example.com.
For more information on services go to: https://recreation.ucsd.edu/wellness-services/nutrition/.
- Tribole E, Resch E. (2012). Intuitive Eating. New York, New York: St Martin’s Press.