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When the mindful and intuitive way appears to make things worse…..?

This is a reflective piece. Please discuss with your dietitian for what’s best for you.

Mindful and intuitive eating habits does not always work for everyone. Don’t get too excited, I am not discrediting it….

Mindful eating happens when we make conscious food choices. Our physical and psychological cues of hunger and fullness are considered as we identify how our senses, both emotionally and physically, respond to food. Intuitive eating, puts an end to ‘diets’ and the categorization of foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It instead, highlights valuing hunger and enjoying foods.

Mindful and intuitive eating, has helped individuals overcome their struggle with binge eating tendencies; with subconscious underlying problems. Overtime, the ‘mindful’ and ‘intuitive’ lines blurred and became part of the weight loss journey. But the question is how does the mindful and intuitive way work when applied to a weight loss goal? Can this method negatively impact weight loss attempts?

Trying to lose weight is not necessarily a bad thing. If it is a personal goal or preference, wanting to lose weight, is a perfectly acceptable ‘want’. It is often married with body image and wanting to lose weight due to the prejudice of it all.

Some health professionals recommend weight loss as a management plan to improve chronic disease or risk factors and the referral to a dietitian who promotes intuitive and mindful eating soon may confuse those individuals who may end up being lost in the pressure of eating intuitively and mindfully and end up struggling worse than before. This is a true struggle.

Studies, have shown that both the weight centric method or weight neutral method have their own strengths and limitations.

To keep it very simple, what do you need? What do you want? Do you need to improve your blood glucose levels to improve your management of diabetes? Do you have evidence to show that that 5% weight loss helped improve your blood glucose levels or did the change in the diet and the fact that you exercised helped? It seems like one in the same, or not?

Why do you want to lose weight? Is it because you think or you are told that by losing weight you can improve all poorly managed health markers or because you just want to feel and look good?

Does losing weight make you feel good, or is it the fact that you were successful in achieving some weight loss that made you feel good?

Does looking slimmer make you feel great, or the fact that you bought some new clothes, styled your hair and put some extra care into getting dressed, that made you feel great?

Did those extra kilos make you feel bad about yourself? Or is that yours or someone else’s critical mind making you feel that way?

My point here is, if you would like to lose a few kilos or would like to improve your eating habits and patterns, you need to have clarity on what you are hoping to achieve. Sometimes it takes time to identify what you are looking for.

Personally, I find that writing down my thoughts or sharing them out loud always gives me some perspective on those thoughts and helps me process what I am aiming to achieve in life.

Some people work well with structures and some don’t. You need to first identify what works for you. Does the mindful and intuitive way suit you? It is not an easy task and certainly not one that you want to rush. It is a journey. You first need to identify what you want and what your body needs? The next thing is to clearly understand that wanting to lose weight or not is your decision! And the method used is your choice! Sort out what you want and need first.

A tip you can try

Ask yourself some questions

Do you need a change in your eating habits?

If Yes? What change do you need? Write them down

If No? then stop thinking about this

Can you make that change on your own?

Yes? Get started…when you are ready of course

No? Get help! If you want?

Who can help me?

Just some examples:

Food knowledge: Dietitian

Emotional issues: Psychologist

Physical Activity: Exercise physiologist

Health status/blood test and other tests: GP or specific specialist

When you seek professional help, do a bit of investigation to find out their areas of specialisation. It makes a huge difference when you speak to people who understands and have some experience on how to help you achieve your personal goals or someone who is willing to investigate with you.

Sometimes, it may even take time to find the right professional suited to you. When you find, the help, make sure to be clear about what you are hoping to achieve or let them know what you are confused about. If the advice does not sit right with you or is not helpful, speak up or switch to a different health professional.

When the mindful and intuitive way appears to make things worse, question if you are doing it right by you?

The method is not the problem....the suitability is !


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