Thursday, March 7, 2013

Intuitive eating???

So I've been struggling with the few pounds I gained in the process of moving and holidays and just generally eating more and exercising less. As much as I say the scale doesn't matter I have been letting it rule my mornings. Like this morning at 4am after helping my son get re-settled in bed I decided to step on the scale and it was up. UP? I've been diligently not having sweets (by diligently I mean 3 days) and a few other restrictive rules I've put on myself to try and get back to where I felt I was healthier. I was ready at that moment to lace up my shoes and go for a run. I didn't. I know the slippery slope of exercising out of guilt and that's not the relationship I want to have with my running shoes. I keep thinking one of these days in a dramatic episode with my scale I'll open our second story window and chuck the scale.

But I probably won't. I'd have to clean up the pieces. And probably end up buying a new scale.

Weight loss is hard. Maintaining weight loss is hard. Statistically, only about 5% of people who lose weight are able to maintain it. That's why most of my life I've been so anti-diet industry until I actually lost, and now I feel like I'm sucked into this vortex of always looking for THE PLAN that is going to help me lose or maintain. It is an endless, mindboggling, futile game. I'm trying hard not to engage.

Yesterday my sister sent me an article on intuitive eating, so of course I've now spent lots of time researching that rabbit trail. I rely both on people's personal experiences as well as actual research. Intuitive eating doesn't promise weight loss, but a healthy, non-restrictive approach to eating. There are several approaches similar to intuitive eating (mindful eating, healthy at any size, and several others) that use the idea of body acceptance, non-restrictive eating, exercising for other benefits (not weight loss), and relying on internal cues to note hunger and satiety.

It sounds so good. I want to have a healthy relationship with food. I haven't ever had that. Most of my life food was a source of comfort, friendship, and a way to deal with hurt feelings. I would indulge in soda, candy, massive amounts of pasta, ice cream, burritos, all without a bit of guilt. I was eating them for all the wrong reasons, but I didn't have the burden of regret. Now the pendulum swings the other way, where almost any slight overeating comes with regret. Especially when the scale tells on me.

So do I think it would work for me? As a weight loss aid, probably not. The article I first read was touting it as a weight loss method, but most research shows there to be no weight loss benefit. For me personally, I think deep down I still harbor that unhealthy desire to fill disappointment with a Snickers or three. And our society is filled with propaganda from the food and beverage companies to override our innate ability to know when to eat or when we are full. (Hello advertising!)

But I'm going to do more reading. I want to have a healthy relationship with where I don't compulsively overeat out of my emotions but I also don't beat myself up emotionally for enjoying a meal out with friends.

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