So today over on Gaia I got into an arguement with some people about intuitive eating. They were trying to argue that it's good for someone to feel guilty about what they eat or how little they excersise, because it will help that person change their habit. I said, no, by making someone feel guilty about something, more likely than not you're just going to drive that behaviour underground where it can't be helped and will most likely get worse. They also said that if your diet is one big treat then basically, you're doin' it wrong. I think what they meant was, if your diet consists of nothing but 'junk' food and treats, that's a problem. Well, yeah, probably. However, I responded with "My diet is one big treat; because I eat what I want, when I want it, in as much or as little as I want. That is the definition of healthy eating and other than that there are no rules to eating. Or at least, it works for me. That, to me, is intuitive eating. Please correct me if I've mucked it up somewhere; I love links!
My opponent came back with "i hope i am misunderstanding this. healthy eating is NOT eating what you want, when you want, and how much you want. that is CERTAINLY not healthy. that's very incorrect information that you shouldn't be spreading." Oh boy, here we go. My response?
"If you knew anything about intuitive eating or health at every size, or fat acceptance in general, you'd know where I was coming from. Intuitive eating, which is what I practise, is what that is; listening to your body's cues to find out what it wants, and give it that. At first it's really hard to do, because we're so used to ignoring our body's wants and needs. If your body says "Sweets!" give it sweets. If it wants protein, grab some. If it says "hydrate me!" grab a glass of water. If it says french fries, go for it. In the long run, it creates a more healthy relationship with the body than denial."
Another person chimed in with
"So if your body tells you that it needs 3 hamburgers, a large order of fries, a milkshake, and a bag of potato chips for every meal, it's healthy to eat those things because your body wants them?
What you're describing sounds exactly like an addiction."
My response: My body might tell me that once, and probably never again. Intuitive eating is scary because it gives us the freedom AND responsibility to listen to our body. We're afraid, at first, that omg we're going to eat the WHOLE WORLD, that if I buy icecream, I'll eat the whole damn thing in one sitting. And yeah, you might, at first, but that's ok. Because next time you buy icecream, you wont. You'll just have some. I've had the same box of icecream in my freezer for a month. My desk has been literally littered with chocolate bars since hallowe'en. I think I've had 3 or 4 this week, and they're on the little ones, because I only have them when I want them. I forbid myself nothing so nothing is a 'temptation' or a 'treat'. Food is just food, and I eat what I want. I accept that maybe you can't handle that, that it's too scary of an idea for you. It's ok.
You shouldn't tell people to listen to exactly what their body is craving at all times. You may be able to keep yourself healthy doing that, but a lot of people won't. Some people don't crave very much food at all and have to force themselves to eat, some people have no sensation of feeling full and can't stop eating. ... I just needed to explain to you that everybody is different and can't eat the way that you do.
We had to stop arguing at that point due to the thread mod's request, but my reply would have been "Why the hell not? WHY BLOODY NOT? Seriously. Why can't people listen to what their bodies want and give it to them? Why can't they practice intuitive eating and stop denying themselves certain things because they're 'bad' or 'unhealthy' or whatever? Maybe some people dont' stop when they're full because they were pushed as kids to finish everything on their plate, and learned to stop listening to that little voice in their head that says 'hey, I'm full, stop now.' People who dont' need as much food as others dont' need as much food, and dont' have to eat if they don't want too. But, if they actually DO need more food, maybe if they listened to their body, they would know that and eat more and wouldn't have to 'force' it. Yes, every body is different, that's the glorious, wonderful thing about humans. It also means that noone and not everyone has to subscribe to her specific ideal of health and/or beauty.