I was just starting to write a response to a comment by Lucy, who wrote something on my post Slimsticks - yet another 'revolutionary new weight loss aid' but I decided to do blog a post instead. Otherwise, the comment would have been too long!
Lucy - your comment kind of made me want to review where I was at, and what I now feel about intuitive eating, and I hope by doing so, I will also be addressing what you were querying.
Firstly - where am I at in 2011 in a life where I 'opted out' of dieting several years ago (I began my blog in September 2006 - wow!)?
Well, I'm not a skinny minny, if that's what anyone is wondering (see picture)! But I am so, so much happier - and quite possibly a more natural weight? I am probably the same weight (maybe a few pounds more) as when I gave up dieting (a weight that I had been on and off for a time anyhow, even though I WAS dieting!) - so I think I have learnt to stay fairly stable (give or take holidays and Christmas).
I think the main thing that has changed for me is that I no longer have any obsession over food. I don't obsess about the calorie or fat content of foods I eat, nor do I worry about socialising with friends and going out for dinner and so on. I feel so much more liberated in that way, and I generally don't care if I am no longer a size 10-12 (instead, a steady 12-14), because I FEEL so free from what dieting is about - on the whole.
Still - I do have my moments (and at times where I wonder if it would be nice to fit back into some of my clothes from the early 2000s, hanging around my wardrobe!). And I have to confess that I have not been very mindful of my eating for a while, which is central to intuitive eating working for me. I've just doled out a 'portion' and ate it, regardless of whether I've started to feel full or not. I know if I carry on doing this, I'll just pile on the weight.
In her comment, Lucy mentions she has put on two stone in the last 2 years and though doesn't want to diet, feels a bit desperate to do so. I really empathise. Though I have not had such significant weight gain, I definitely had this kind of desperate experience. I remember being almost panicked by it at one point.
And while I am so much freer of diet-mentality, I am not 100% free of it. Five years on I have times where I start to consider dieting, just a little bit. However, for the times where I've even tried to diet maybe a couple of days, then I start to feel straight away deprived again. I know then that I musn't continue on that path.
What I would say to Lucy, is this:
If you've dieted before and it's worked for you for a long period and you are happy with 'being on a diet', then I think that by all means go for it. Some people are more than happy with dieting, and they can maintain it, and it does work for them.
My blog is my own personal response to breaking away dieting - after feeling like I just couldn't do it anymore, and after reading Beyond Chocolate, but I am not an expert for other people. This is what I prefer, but it may not be right for you.
However, Lucy - you say you joined Slimming World and gained a stone? Is there any reason it should be successful the next time, if you opt to diet again?
Intuitive eating / normal eating
I have moved away from seeing what I'm doing as 'intuitive eating' to just calling it 'normal eating'. Normal eating to me encompasses everything that normal people who don't diet (and have never dieted) do. They sometimes overeat, they sometimes miss meals, they sometimes eat at funny times, they sometimes eat crap food, and they probably eat the food of their choice when they want to eat it, not just because it's breakfast or dinner.
Normal eating for me also means aiming to eat nutritious food (though I'm sure not all 'normal' eaters are like this!). I really don't feel good about myself when my diet is slack and nutritionally extinct - I like to fit in a lot of green vegetables, and not hinge meals around carbs. When I started out with IE, I got the impression with the 'eat what you what' concept that nutritious food wasn't as high on the agenda as simply eating what you want.
Though I think that it is necessary to 'eat what you want' at first to take the personality away from food (as long as it's only as much as you need!), you have to respect your body, and feed it the right things. For me, once I started moving back towards truly nutritious food then I stopped gaining the weight that seemed to appear when I stopped dieting.
Lucy - you also mentioned Beyond Chocolate's workshops and how pricey they are. I have to say, I don't really follow so much what is going on with Beyond Chocolate anymore because while reading the book was the reason I started my blog, my learning and development has been from a number of sources since. So I checked in on the website and I see a lot has changed.
I agree the workshops and membership is expensive - I would not be able to afford them myself. But I suppose the difference is that the authors are two women who are trying to earn a living from a method which has worked for them and that they wrote a book about, with a genuine intention for helping other women. They are not a multi-million pound industry which feeds off our despair, by giving us something that may work in the short-term (offering such promise) and is unlikely to work in the long-term.
It's a bit the other way round with Beyond Chocolate. It doesn't appear to work in the short-term, but is MORE likely to work in the long-term. And if you think about the amount of money many women pump into the diet industry over their lifetime (from diet yogurts, diet aids, appetite supressents, weekly meeting fees etc) on something generally doomed to fail, then it starts to look less expensive.
However, I do feel that it's a shame that the members' forum isn't open to anyone who buys the book. Speaking to other people trying this new way of managing weight is a valuable support, and I think if you've bothered to buy the book, then the forum at least should be available to you. I haven't tried it but maybe the Through Thick and Thin forum could be an alternative?
If you decide you are going to persist with intuitive eating, then I think you have to be really honest about how closely you are following the principles to make it work. I have not been following them very closely at all lately, although I make many more intuitive choices than I used to, I know I'll gain weight unless I revisit them.
So, a very long-winded response - maybe with a few typos cos it's late and I've been ill! But hopefully this is a kind of up date on where I'm at, as well as some feedback to Lucy's comment on my Slimsticks post.