Stuffing a double cheese chicken topped pizza slice in her mouth, she declared, “Please guys, no judgement tonight! My 3-month pre-wedding diet begins from tomorrow, so I’m gonna eat as much as I can, and whatever I want.”
Well, nobody judged.
In her wedding dinner pictures, Melissa is found gulping in every cupcake that came her way.
Does this sound familiar?! Welcome to the party!
We love food, but we hate it for making us fat. That’s the kind of distorted relationship we have with food. And the result is visible in post-wedding weight gain.
Now, I’m not just talking about weddings here. Our weight has embarrassed us on more than one occasion. We pledge to diet but almost every time either lose motivation mid way or gain the lost inches back in no time. And we wonder, if we could try those surgical procedures or non-invasive pills and test if they really do work.
But do you know what the problem actually is?
The problem lies in your will power.
You successfully achieved your target weight in stipulated time so, I’m not at all implying you have any less of will power. But the point is that you are depreciating it without thinking.
The theory comes from my boss – Will power is like a muscle – the more you make use of it, the more it gets fatigued.
This is clear from Melissa’s example. She fatigued her will power in those 3 months of pre-wedding dieting and could not resist cup cakes any more. You can very well imagine what would have become of her after that day.
Now, the question is how to make use of will power so as not to overuse it, not to under use it, and still lose weight?
(Here, losing weight includes maintaining lost weight too. Weight rebound? Not welcomed!)
Lose weight and maintain it
For that, I have three steps for you to follow.
- Call a truce with your food
- Honor your feelings without food
- Trust your instincts
These are the three pillars of the concept of Intuitive Eating. To me, it feels more like getting back to eating like a kid – eat whatever you want, whenever you want, keeping yourself busy when you’re not hungry and eating only when you feel hungry.
Now let me explain all these a bit.
Warning: These pillars may sound very simple but they are not. Some might even raise a brow while reading them, but trust me, this thing…works!
Calling a truce with your food
Some snack up on it, some judge it, some worship food while some hate it. But, at the root level, we have food because we feel hungry and need it. Your intuitive eating journey begins with this realization.
Food is not your enemy. It is your need.
So, make peace with it and yourself.
Honoring your feelings, without food
The people who’d relate most to this article would be binge eaters. They eat for emotional reasons. Well, there are other ways to make yourself feel better rather than checking out what’s in the refrigerator. Isn’t it? Try video games, or a bit of swimming or any other exercise. And next time you eat, do write down how that food actually makes you feel.
For example: Dumplings >> evil, Sushi >> amazing, Chocolate >> two bites after 2 p.m…umm…okay.
Learning to trust your instincts
Everyone claims to be knowing something about weight loss. Find me someone who does not have an opinion on fats or carbs, so we can declare him our President.
But for once ask yourself: Would you still be reading this article had those things worked out well for you?
I don’t understand how people can trust someone living thousands of miles away from them and not trust themselves!!
Eat only what you want to eat. Eat only what your body needs.
Please do not think of me as someone promoting fat activism. Though I do not find anything wrong with “Health at Every Size” movement advocated by Oprah Winfrey, Geneen Roth, and Katharine McPhee, I do have a scientific backing behind my stance on intuitive eating.
Let science speak for itself
In a randomized clinical trial carried out in 2005, researcher Linda Bacon found that “health at every size” approach enabled participants in maintaining long-term behavior change while the diet approach didn’t. As a result, the former was abe to lose more weight and maintain it with increased feelings of contentment.
Similar results were observed by Tracy Tylka of Ohio State University in her 2006 research, where she defined key traits of Intuitive Eaters as unconditional permission to eat, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, and reliance on internal hunger/satiety cues.
Steven Hawks, a professor at Brigham Young University followed his own version of intuitive eating and lost as much as 50 pounds! More than anything else, he calls this approach to weight loss as “common sense”.
Others at the university who followed this approach were found less anxious about food, garnered more enjoyment from all kinds of dishes and reported lower BMIs. Didn’t I already tell you it works?
The ride is going to be Bumpy
This is how your intuitive eating adventure would look like:
1. The first few days would be a junk extravaganza.
Hot dog for breakfast? Why not!
Cheese pizza for lunch? Sure…
Pasta for dinner? Hell yeah! Keep it coming!
Don’t forget to take feel notes though.
2. Then, you start to panic. All the “high starch”, “high cholesterol”, “deep fried” tags that researchers have labelled on different food items will begin to haunt you.
At that point of time, ask yourself: What do I really want to eat? Order whatever it is. Even if it is a salad you never enjoyed. An exile from veggies and passionate affair with the rich foods will make a that kale salad taste as great as the pizza.
3. You learn your first lesson – Listening to experts wired your brain in thinking that junk is tasty and healthy is otherwise. But the lesson you now teach yourself here is that you can re-wire your brain! Guilt free – eating whatever your body needs.
The best realization this no-diet diet plan brings to you is that you have a life to live. And it is too small. When you have a bucket list to kill, can you waste time dodging bagels?
A fulfilled life and a wedding dress – are they even comparable?
You might not be skinny, you might not fit into every dress you find, but you will share a healthy, happy relationship with food. Isn’t that the reason why we head to the refrigerator every time? To feel better?
Unfortunately like all good things this will not happen overnight. It’s a journey, which you’d be taking up every day.
So, are you ready yet?
Let me know if you do. Next week, I’ll be coming up with 10 characteristics of people who share a healthy relationship with food. Come back to see if you are too do!
Till then…Happy Eating!
References:  Bacon L, Stern JS, Van Loan MD, & Keim NL (2005). Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105 (6), 929-36 PMID: 15942543. ^Back to Top^  Tylka, T. (2006). Development and psychometric evaluation of a measure of intuitive eating. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53 (2), 226-240 DOI: 10.1037/0022-018.104.22.168. ^Back to Top^  Professor loses weight by 'intuitive eating' - NBCNews.com. ^Back to Top^