Intuitive eating; a comparison to other types of diets

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“Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods. It’s a process that is intended to create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, making it a popular treatment for disordered eating and eating disorders. Intuitive eating, just like many other dieting philosophies, goes by many names, including non-dieting or the non-diet approach, normal eating, wisdom eating, conscious eating and more.”

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitive_eating

To many people this may seem like a very simple concept to achieve – eating what you want when you want it, right? To someone who has experienced eating disorders, orthorexia, meal plans, macro counting , whatever fits your spectrum – you will know that the balance of a healthy relationship with food can be an extremely difficult goal to reach.

This post is my views and experiences with other diet approaches, whatever works for you is what works for YOU.

My timeline of different diets from start to current:

1.) Strict meal plans:
This is usually what fitness beginners start with, which is completely normal (if done correctly by a professionally certified trainer). This includes a lot of brown rice, chicken and asparagus, oatmeal, egg whites and perhaps some sort of protein powder once a day. Don’t you even think about adding in salt, seasoning or sugar to anything! Eat the same meals for about two weeks straight, if you drop weight you get a “cheat meal” to congratulate yourself. In my opinion, I am not a dog, I don’t want to be rewarded with food for good behavior.

• What do you like about this approach?
This can be a great way to stay consistent and on track if you’re looking to start eating healthier and in better portion sizes.

• What don’t you like about this approach?
Don’t get me wrong in saying this, if this works for you power to you, but I believe this approach can very easily create orthorexia. Which is exactly what happened in my case; crying over having an extra spoonful of natural peanut butter is not okay.
There are also a lot of online coaches who will give the same meal plan to every client that hires them (the problem with cookie cutter diet plans)
If you’re looking to proceed with this, do your research, find a professionally certified trainer with a good reputation and background.

2.) Macro Counting, IIFYM, or Flexible Dieting:
Macro counting, or other terms such as IIFYM (if it fits your macros) or flexible dieting; is a structured tracking system of calories in fats, protein, and carbs. These numbers are based on what your goals would be; losing weight, gaining mass, or maintaining. This is a great way to learn what is in the food you eat. You’ll soon find yourself looking at the nutritional information in everything you pick up.
You’ll be more aware of the nutrients you’re putting into your body and slowly will learn what foods react in good manner or bad manner

• What do you like about this approach?
I really like macro accounting as it taught me a bit more of balance in my diet again. There are no good and bad foods. Being able to pick up a donut or a piece of pizza and make it fit into my daily intake of food was a huge stepping stone for me. I know a lot of fitness people out there who shake their heads at this, but I can easily have what I want and still be healthy and fit.

• What don’t you like about this approach?
The problem I found personally with this approach; I had already formed orthorexia previous to this, so I almost instantly became obsessed with tracking my food, checking every little nutrient and macro in everything. This in turn became another form of orthorexia, but with a bit more balance and a little less guilt. I think macro counting is a fantastic stepping stone for eating disorder/orthorexia recovery, but it isn’t a solid fix.

3.) Intuitive eating:
Being in-tune with your body’s natural need for nutrition (mentally and physically)
This means no real tracking, meal planning, obsessing, or guilt.

• What do you like about this approach?
I found intuitive eating to be the final step of backing away from orthorexia. This helped me free myself from guilt and obsession of food for good. It took a lot of time and patience to really grasp not being able to track my food 100%, but I can easily say this has been the best approach for someone recovering from an eating disorder/orthorexia. As I mentioned before this can seem like such a simple concept to someone who hasn’t experienced the out of hand obsessiveness of orthorexia, but this was a major turning point for me and I’m sure a lot of others out there relating to my personal struggles.

• What don’t you like about this approach?
This may seem very bias, but I appreciate everything about this approach as it works for me.

The steps I took from beginning to end with the different diet approaches have taught me a great deal about myself and what works for me. This post isn’t about one being better than the other; it is simply about what works for YOU. From my experience intuitive eating works best for me. Whatever works for you, follow it to your hearts content.

Happy Monday Fam.

xo
Karly

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