Intuitive eating sounds pretty appealing, especially for those of us who’ve dieted off/on for as long as we can remember (like me before about 2015). Eat what we want…without limits or restriction…and just live our lives. But how can we eat intuitively without gaining weight?
Well, lovely, it’s not easy.
The problem is, most intuitive eating advocates and nutrition coaches give general advice that just doesn’t work for those of us who struggle to listen to our bodies (here are a couple ways to listen to your body when you have no idea what that means) or who’ve restricted for long periods of time. And while intuitive eating books are a good place to start, they don’t offer a way to incorporate the specific guidelines into your life.
So…we end up standing on the scale, questioning how the heck we’ve gained ten pounds by following intuitive eating guidelines. It can be super frustrating—and can often send us backwards in our restriction recovery journey.
How does this happen?
We forget that intuitive eating is the destination—not the roadmap to get us there.
Throwing yourself into intuitive eating—with zero structured guidance—is setting yourself up to fail. And frankly, it’s irresponsible of the nutrition professionals who suggest it.
It’s kind of like telling an alcoholic, go ahead and drink until you come to peace with it; as long as you think positively about the alcohol while you drink it, it’ll balance out.
Instead, I recommend Strategic Intuitive Eating as a solution to eat intuitively without gaining weight.
What’s strategic intuitive eating?
Strategic intuitive eating offers specific strategies that you can implement as you attempt to eat intuitively without gaining weight. Instead of throwing you into the deep end, you have specific steps to follow and questions to ask yourself along your journey to intuitive eating.
If you want specific guidance on how to do this, you can sign up for a free 30 minute strategy call with me here. We will discuss how your intuitive eating journey is going and come up with 1-2 things to focus on during the next week.
But to get us started, I’m gonna give you three tips to get started with strategic intuitive eating.
How to eat intuitively without gaining weight – 3 tips
Don’t throw your nutrition knowledge out the window
I know, I’m going against all the intuitive eating wisdom by saying, that trying to eat intuitively does NOT mean that you can eat whatever the heck you want.
That is the #1 reason that intuitive eating isn’t working for you, and it’s causing you to gain weight.
As you get started with strategic intuitive eating, maintain focus on basic nutrition.
- Get plenty of protein (here are my favorite protein foods)
- Add veggies wherever you can (some suggestions here)
- Don’t stuff yourself – stop when you feel full
Just by doing this, you ensure that you’re not going overboard when it comes to food, which helps you to eat intuitively without gaining weight.
Be conscious of your indulgences (AKA choose them)
Being mindful of your indulgences is central to intuitive eating, but I’d argue it’s especially important when it comes to treats. For those of us who’ve struggled with restriction, dieting, or disordered eating, indulging can be really hard. We associate indulging with guilt (here’s how to process food guilt), and it can be tough to get past this, even when giving ourselves freedom to eat what truly sounds good.
So, I suggest structuring your indulgences and being super conscious of them—especially at the beginning. I show you exactly how to do that here.
Pay attention to thoughts and feelings as they come up
Our mindset around food and the thoughts that come up are often ignored by nutrition coaches (I address that topic and all the things to consider when it comes to healthy eating here), which perpetuates many of our issues around food. Instead, it’s super important you work through emotions and thoughts that come up as you experiment with strategic intuitive eating.
For example, if you feel guilty about choosing a cheeseburger instead of a salad at a restaurant, you can use my 3-2-1 system to process that guilty emotion. If we don’t work through the emotions that come up, we will continue to struggle with things like binge eating (here’s how to stop).
These three tips are a great place to get you started but if you want specific guidance, sign up for a free 30 minute strategy call with me here. We will discuss how your intuitive eating journey is going and come up with 1-2 things to focus on during the next week. Can’t wait to chat!