Intuitive Eating…Is Your Diet Making You Fatter?

Good eating habits with Kimberly Lou

Table of Contents

As I sit here reading an article on Intuitive Eating, I am so tired of all the self-proclaimed experts who say, “I have all the secrets!” when really, not many people know what they are talking about. It’s like nobody knows how to eat any more, and how could they, because everyone’s  body processes food differently. So,  how does one choose the food plan that is  right for them ?

Today, I am going to focus on the three most popular diets, with pros and cons for each one.  Then, you can choose the plan that’s best for you. Although I do agree with some ideas from each program, I disagree as well, because they are not sustainable or realistic.  Oh, you might last for a few weeks, even a few months. However, within a short period of time, your program will cause you to gain the weight back, plus more, making you fatter. Why?  Because they are not balanced.

So, let’s go over the diets now. There is the Keto Diet where you only eat proteins and fats. There is the Medical Medium Diet where you only eat fruits and vegetables.  And now, there’s the new Intuitive Eating Program.  This program claims to have the answers to all your problems.  Just eat whatever, whenever you want, just be intuitive about it and all will be well.  That being said, this article on intuitive eating inspired me to write this column.  I get so frustrated with people who create unstainable programs that just make you fatter.

Let’s take the Keto Diet.  I have a friend on it right now. I try to tell him it’s not sustainable, yet he is adamant that he wants to do this.  Now, who am I to judge or tell someone what’s right for them. And maybe he will prove me wrong. He’s already lost a lot of weight in a short time.  But I also see that his energy is super low, his face is pale, he has circles under his eyes, and he is always tired.  The good thing about this diet is that when I am training a celebrity client who needs to become red-carpet-ready, or a bride who wants to lose weight fast, I will put them on the Keto Diet, short term, and they will lose a lot of weight quickly.  The key here is—short term, because here is my problem with long-term.

Just like my friend, after about 1-3 months, people on the Keto Diet start to teeter.  They begin to binge eat.  It starts with a piece of pizza here and there, and then it becomes a full-blown yo-yo dieting experience. They tend to bounce back to their old weight, plus gain more, because the body is afraid it will be starved again.  Also, their face will become pale and they will lose their energy and vitality.  Especially, while working out.

Next up, you have the Medical Medium Diet.  I like what Anthony Williams has to say about Spirit, which is right up my alley.  He also talks about how if you want to feel alive and have vitality, it’s best to eat alive foods.  Right on, brother! I am on board with you again.  I  even had my clients eat more fruit.  Not only did they have more energy in their workouts, they had more color in their face and they were happier, and yes, more vital. However, I quickly realized that when they didn’t have the protein and fats to help satiate the hunger, they binged. And when I put myself on his program, yes, I test most of these programs out so you don’t have to, my blood sugar skyrocketed through the roof.   I also had a client who put her kids on a fruitarian diet.  These kids would cry because they were constantly hungry.  I could no longer train this client because I couldn’t stomach knowing she wouldn’t feed her kids the nutrients they needed.

Now, there is this new thing—intuitive eating.  Again, right up my alley, or so it seems.  I’m all for the Kumbaya meditating on the mountain top and creating a beautiful environment to eat good foods. They also talk about chewing your foods, turning off all devices, creating a quiet environment, naming all the foods and the colors on the plate.  Wowee!  That would be my dream come true.  However, does this person have kids?  Maybe it’s just me, but having a quiet environment in the comfort of my home comes at around 10 pm – 4 am.  Ahhh, I cherish these times; it’s when I do my best meditation, connecting, and writing.  Heck, it’s 10:25 pm right now and I’m getting some good work done.  However, I hope to God, I am not eating at these times.

Another problem is when someone is telling me to sit and just eat what my body is telling me to eat. How can one tell the difference between a call to eat healthy foods and “My body is telling me to eat this box of cookies” or “The ice-cream in the freezer is calling my name”?  What’s outrageous about this is how unrealistic this approach is. I get that people are sick and tired of diets, and I get how part of intuitive eating is about changing the relationship with and making peace with your food.  I am totally on board with this.  But again, one must get off the yo-yo diet of extremes and create a sustainable, balanced approach.

In my book, Nutrition For Your New Age: Have Your Cake and Lose Weight Too!  and my 90 Day Fitness Journal I talk about how every person is different.  There isn’t a one-size-fits-all body or program.  I believe it is wonderful to “check in,” especially when one is eating.  And I often say, stop the madness and say “no” to dieting.  Shoot, I used to weigh 200 lbs. and I believe I gained more than 90 lbs. from yo-yo and deprivation diets, which caused me to be fat.  Yes, I said the F word!  I was fat!

However, I do not believe that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want it. In my experience, that is just not possible.  Think about it, when food companies are adding fillers like cellulose, which is sawdust, or addictive substances like sugar, which is proven to be more addictive than heroine, you may not want to use your intuitive barometer. These foods are genetically modified and designed to make you want more.  It’s kind of like that passage in the Bible that says, “Tie up your camel.”  Yes, trust God, but if you don’t tie up your camel, that camel may not be there when you wake up in the morning.

My belief is, yes, listen to your body.  However, when it comes to highly addictive foods, just be mindful. Think about it. They don’t say, “Girl Scout cookies are like crack!” for no reason.  By the way, would you smoke crack intuitively?  Chances are no!  Just saying.

Listen to your body.  How do you feel two hours after eating a whole cake or a slab full of fatty meat and cheese?  Probably not great.  How do you feel two hours after eating a balanced meal?  If you’re going to use intuitive eating, here’s an idea. Listen to the symptoms your body is giving you.  Do you have gas, does your stomach hurt, or do you get a headache after you eat? What about your skin, does it have eczema?  Chances are, if you do, your body is telling you to stop eating certain foods.

Also, think about your mental state.  Are you stressed about something and stuffing down that stress with food?  What can you do to reduce the feeling of wanting to eat?   Find ways to honor the way you are feeling without using food.   I often have my clients grab the pen before they grab the food.  When they write out why they want that food, they rarely want it afterwards.  Remember, I always say, “If it’s Hysterical, it’s Historical.”  AND it’s always about Emotional Fitness.

So, I would argue, please no more diets everyone.  But do be mindful of the foods that create a reactive, addictive response in your body that cause you to crave more.  A suggestion is to eat your healthy foods intuitively and then portion out the sweets moderately if you can.

That being said, I have been known to be wrong before.  Maybe I am wrong about this!   Have any of you been able to eat your sweets moderately without craving more? If so, what did you do to curb the cravings, or maybe you are in the thick of it and your eating is out of control.  What are your triggers that send you off the deep end and cause you to want to eat uncontrollably?

By the way, many think the diet is the solution to the challenges, but it’s really just the mask for the inner problem.  If you’re looking for the solution and don’t just want to put a happy sticker over an empty gas gauge, I can help you work through some of these issues that cause you to stuff emotions down. Just click here to contact me to help you through.  Because, remember, you don’t have to do this alone.  We are going to work this out… Together!