You may have noticed there’s been a shift towards a non-dieting approach to weight loss, and more and more we are hearing from experts that we need to embrace mindful and/or intuitive eating. The idea being that we should dismiss dieting and listen to our body, be guided by our inner wisdom which in turn will lead us to mindfully eating the correct foods in the correct quantities and knowing when to stop eating. And when you listen to your body and eat the correct food, weight loss will follow as a natural result.
I’m going to be honest here, super obese people don’t feel full, ever.
I one hundred percent agree that being able to identify when you’ve had enough food to nourish your body is a vital necessity, but in my experience this is a more successful venture only after one has taken control over their disordered eating.
I firmly believe before you can get to the intuitive eating stage, you need to know the difference between what is real food that nourishes and promotes vitality and what is man-made highly processed and refined foods.
We need to understand what role hyper-palatable food plays in blood sugar regulation and how it fuels cravings and eating calorie dense processed foods in fact increases appetite as our bodies seek the nutrients it’s not getting from manufactured food. We need to realise that certain chemicals in manufactured food can increase hunger and turn off the hormones that promote satiety.
Finally, and probably most importantly, one needs to understand what drives them to overeat past the satiation point and knowingly continue to overeat even though health and mobility is taking a big hit. We must identify why we choose these foods as a coping mechanism and change those behaviours if we hope to enjoy long lasting success.
Unfortunately, in this modern day we are surrounded by constant advertising from food
manufacturers and retail outlets that relentlessly offer highly palatable and addictive non-foods, under the guise of quick and convenient. We have lost the ability to recognise what real food is and the skills to prepare it for consumption, never mind the fact that processed food is manufactured with a bliss point in mind, therefore real, whole food is not very appealing to those who are addicted to the high that manufactured food provides.
Intuitive eating is about removing guilt, shame and blame. But what about accountability? At some point one needs to take stock of what they are doing to themselves and start to get real about their health situation.
And what if you’re truly not ready to quit the rubbish foods, but you try to do mindful and intuitive eating, and it doesn’t “work” for you? Is this then just another thing we can add to our list of failures, and do we then take on another heaping of guilt?
Mindful and intuitive eating should be the human default, however when a person has reached the stage of life-long obesity, coupled with eating disorders or food addictions, a more structured and stringent plan needs to be put into place.
As a former morbidly obese person, who tried every diet, shake, powders, prescribed pills, mindful and intuitive eating with a side membership of Overeaters Anonymous, when you get to 120kgs, there is nothing subtle or gentle about eating. I did not need the gentle, gentle approach. I was killing myself with food and the “listen to your body” approach did not help, at all. My body was telling me to eat ALL the KFC, chocolate, chips, cookies and cake. The making friends with “bad or naughty” foods approach did not work. It just led to another round of prolonged and sanctioned binge eating, ill health, weight gain and even more despair.
The point is, you know that you need to lose weight. The mindful approach sounds lovely, but if you really need to shed the weight and save your life, you need to get real with yourself and realise that you are not like everyone else who can exert control around trigger foods, even if they are in restricted/limited/diet supply. Instead you need to change your approach to what type of foods you are eating and how you use your food as a coping mechanism.
Once you get a handle on a diet that stabilises blood sugar regulation and lessens those cravings for highly refined carbohydrate foods, you can come to an “understanding” with the foods that put you in ill health.
Ask yourself if you want to live, or eat yourself into sickness? Is the food worth it? Why do you equate eating food with emotions? I can help you challenge the hard things, and I can help you reach your goals.