By Michelle May, M.D.
Maybe you’ve heard phrases like instinctive eating, intuitive eating, or normal eating to describe someone who manages their weight effortlessly. Just how do you recognize this increasingly rare individual? One way is to listen to what they say—and don’t say.
Here are the Top 10 things you’ll probably never hear them say…
10. I think I’ll have a pizza. I deserve it!
9. I can’t eat there; they don’t have anything I’m allowed to have on my diet.
8. I’m totally stuffed! But since I’ve already blown it, we might as well stop for ice cream on the way home.
7. Thanks for making me a birthday cake, but unfortunately, I’m all out of points for the day.
6. One more trip up to the buffet and I’ll have eaten my twelve dollars and ninety nine cents worth.
5. Hey, the calorie counter on this treadmill is broken! How am I supposed to know when I’m done exercising?
4. My boss is such a jerk. I’ll show him! I’ll eat an entire bag of Doritos all by myself!
3. I’ve been craving a piece of cheesecake all weekend. I wonder if I could make a healthy substitute by stirring some Stevia into 2 teaspoons of fat-free cream cheese and spreading it on a rice cake?
2. OMG! I was supposed to eat 17 minutes ago!
And the number one thing you’ll never hear an instinctive eater say…
1. I’m on Day 3 of the new Bahamas Cruise Diet: Phase I (14 days): I’m-gonna-fit-into-this-bathing-suit-if-it-kills-me Starvation. Phase 2 (8 days): Order-as-many-entrées-as-you-want-followed-by-a-show-then-belly-up-to-the-Midnight-Chocolate-Buffet Binge. Phase 3 (2 days): I’ve-gotta-lose-the-eight-pounds-I-gained-on-my-cruise Starvation. Maintenance Phase: What-the-hell!-We’re-not-going-on-another-cruise-until-2013.
Alright, I’m exaggerating a bit here but you get the point. People who eat instinctively don’t usually diet, but that doesn’t mean they eat perfectly. They occasionally eat for pleasure or convenience even if they aren’t hungry. The difference is that they are less likely to struggle with frequent emotional eating or mindless eating. Instead, they trust their instincts to let them know when, what, and how much to eat.
We were all born to eat instinctively—just imagine a young child saying any of those ten things! For countless reasons, many people “forget” how to use their own internal cues of hunger and satiety to guide their eating. They eat when they’re sad, mad, glad, bored, or stressed. They eat because they paid for it or because it’s free. As a result they gain weight, but instead of going back to instinctive eating, they go on a diet, driving them even further from their own ability to know what their body really needs.
The good news is that you CAN relearn to trust yourself to eat without deprivation, guilt, or bingeing. While it may seem too good to be true, we’ve worked with countless people who have done exactly that—and you can too!
Eat Mindfully. Live Vibrantly!
Michelle May, M.D.
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