Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Chapters 9 and 10 of Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating Chapter 9 - Feel Your Fullness

I tend to be one who cleans her plate. After becoming aware of this fact and trying to break myself of the habit without much success, I now start out with less food on my plate to begin with. I've gotten pretty good at judging how hungry I am and deciding how much food it will take to feel satisfied. I also tend to be a fast eater so learning to slow down and savor has been something that I've had to work on and am still working on. I find I'm much better at this if I don't wait until I'm famished to eat. There are so many factors that condition us to eat more than our bodies need. I know some of you have mentioned that you don't like to waste food. What are some other factors that cause you to eat more than you need?

The most important part of learning to stop eating when your full is to know for certain that you can have any food you want again, when ever you want it. If you don't truly believe this then it's really hard to listen to your body. When I eat at a restaurant that I know I can't eat at everyday, I tend to over eat. So, for my day to day living, I find it critical that I truly believe that I can have access to any food. Do you believe the principle that nothing can be off limits or Intuitive Eating can't work? Explain why or why not.

Feeling your fullness is where the rules come in for Intuitive Eating. This way of eating does not promote eating until you're sick (although they allow that sometimes this will happen). The key is to listen to your body and act accordingly. To do this you must learn what it feels like to be comfortably full and then STOP! This will be different for everyone. The amount of food that fills up one person may not fill up another so don't compare yourselves. Just listen to your stomach.

We all know there are foods that won't keep you full for long. I don't cut those foods out of my diet, but I do keep in mind, when choosing what to eat, that certain foods will keep me fuller, longer. Have you ever told yourself "I shouldn't be hungry" and then not allowed yourself to eat? It's silly, because when you're hungry, you're hungry. Eat something and move on. I find that some days I'm very hungry and other days I don't eat much at all. It all seems to even itself out over time.

Learning to eat intuitively during social events has was the hardest for me. I'm was so busy jabbering, listening to others jabber or sitting around the table too long picking at the food that I'm wasn't as tuned in as I should have been. Being with people seemed to be a cue for me to eat. Over time, I've gotten much better with this. I just remind myself to be aware. Also, eating intuitively is becoming more and more automatic for me. Do social situations cause you to eat more? I know for some people they eat less in social situations because they don't want others to think they're pigs. Which of these problems do you experience?

Intuitive Eating Chapter 10 - Discover the Satisfaction Factor

I love this chapter because I think the satisfaction factor is critical to a person's mental health when it comes to a relationship with food. Diets very rarely take into account the satisfaction factor. I believe this a huge reason they fail. There is something very powerful in feeling happy and satisfied when you leave the table. So many other cultures around the world seem to remember this. The Japanese promote this as one of their goals for healthy living and many people believe that this is why the French are much healthier than Americans even though their diets contain much richer foods. They're just satisfied with much less because they are taught to enjoy and savor their food. Meal times in France are slow and leisurely. Americans are so concerned with health and eating quickly, that they sometime forget that food is supposed to taste good. We don't take time to enjoy and savor!

I know that some of you are saying, "I always eat foods I love and enjoy and I'm fat." But ask yourself if you are really thinking carefully about what you really, truly want, and then savoring each bite, stopping when you're full? Sometimes we just plow through our food without really even tasting it.

I had so deeply bought into the idea that I must deny myself tasty food because it made me fat that I had a hard time believing what the authors say, that if you allow yourself pleasure and satisfaction from every possible eating experience, your total quantity of food will decrease. When I tried this principle out for myself, I found it to be amazingly true. Now I try to get the most out of every eating experience. Sometimes this isn't possible, we all have to eat on the run sometimes, but I do this whenever I can. And yep, I eat much less than I used to! Not only that, but I think I'm a happier person in general and I don't obsess about food. My favorite result from intuitive eating! How do you guys feel about the principle of pleasure and eating?

And remember, when you're digging into that favorite package of cookies make sure you're checking in with yourself to make sure the third cookie is still tasting as good as the first one did!In my experience, they usually don't.

One slice of apple pie has got to have less calories than that package of Graham crackers and can of applesauce you ate instead of pie, not to mention the satisfaction factor that is almost absent in the Graham cracker scenario! Just savor the pie and move on. I think you'll find that you eat much less pie than you ever thought you would.


  1. I did skip ahead to these chapters and I have to say: 1. I am an unconscious eater 2. My body still doesn't have the hungry full thing down -- but I love that the book says to give it time. 3. I have started only eating (no reading, tv, car or other activities during eating - for the most part) This has been very hard for me. But it has done two things -- it has slowed my eating down and has allowed me to take a break in eating and try to listen to my body. The most important concept that I am was introduced to is: I will be able to have that food again. My mentality is " eat it all now because you'll never get it again because you shouldn't have it" So last night I was eating microwave popcorn. Usually I eat the whole bag. This time I put it down about half way through. I picked it up again and started eating. No it didn't taste as good. I ate a few more bites and then put it down. Picked it up one last time and said to self "You can have the whole bag if it tastes good and you are enjoying it" Much to my surprise I threw the rest away. I will take one victory a day and crown the day as successful.

  2. Vicki:
    This is wonderful progress! One of the hardest parts of Intuitive Eating, for a lot of people I've talked to, is really learning to believe that every thing is avaliable to eat at any time. We've spent so many years telling ourselves the opposite, for health and dieting reasons, but this part is probably the most critical step in the process. You MUST truly believe that you can have whatever you want. People are so worried that if they do this they'll never stop eating or only choose junk for for the rest of their lives. People who are willing to give this a shot find that this does not happen. In fact, giving yourself permission to eat helps you eat less and select healthier foods naturally. It's strange how it works, but it does!
    Of course part of this is to eat mindfully as well. As you're eating what you really enjoy, you have to check in with yourself to see if you are still enjoying it as much as you thought you would. If not...stop. I love that your taking time out to eat in peace and quiet. This really helps. The only time I find myself mindlessly eating in when I watch T.V. I try not to eat in front of the T.V. for this reason. Thanks again for your comments.

  3. I definitely agree also that for Intuitive Eating to work you have to truly believe that you can have any food you want to at any time. There is just something about NEEDING what you tell yourself you can't have.

    I used to do things too like not eat the pie, and eat the whole box of graham crackers instead. It is amazing how your body and mind work together. When I used to eat without being truly satisfied, it seemed like I was always in search of that food that would be what I was looking for (but I wouldn't allow myself to eat what it was I really wanted). I still struggle with this sometimes-feeling sinful and guilty when I eat something rich and delicious. But it's a process, right?

    I remember when I first started allowing myself to eat things I wanted. I love cookies! But I never let myself eat them. So I went through a phase where I would make a batch of cookies, and that's all I'd eat all day. And then amazing things happened and I really didn't want them that much anymore, and I lost that out of control feeling I had whenever I even thought about eating a cookie.

    And Vicki, I didn't know what it was to feel hungry or full either, and it did take time, but I learned again how to feel those feelings gradually.

  4. Bryanna:
    I liked what you said about your body and mind working together. So many people begin dieting, only focused on the weight loss and the rules of the diet, never taking into account the phycological factors at play. These factors are powerful and can sabotage our efforts to eat right. One thing I love about Intuitive Eating is that it takes into account the mental side of eating and navigating a world full of food... considering that enjoyment and satisfaction are important to keep in mind, that there is a powerful mental disadvantage when you restrict yourself, and things of that nature. Intuitive Eating is a holistic approach, taking into account both mind and body. Intuitive Eating emphasizes the idea of freedom of choice, and as we know, this can be a powerful and important thing.

  5. New question. Have any of you ever experienced this: By Thursday or Friday of the week -- I don't want to eat intuitively, I don't want to take a break while eating. I don't want to enjoy my food. I don't want to do anything that I have committed to do? I want to eat tons of junk food without the consequences of all those extra calories?????? I don't want to be responsible any more.

  6. My first reaction to this would be that you're still somehow thinking of Intuitive Eating as some kind of diet and you're rebeling against the rules you feel are imposed on you. I did the same thing when I first read the book, mistakenly thinking that Intuitive Eating was about being "good" or being "bad" in my eating experiences and not really giving myself permission to eat what ever I wanted. When I did give myself permission, I had many months of eating nothing but junk and eating way too much food....
    This might help... I read the book for the first time over 3 years ago, and I still have a ways to go and more to learn. Learning to eat this way is a long process. In my opinion, it's almost impossible to read the book and just, all of a sudden, become an intuitive eater. It has taken me years to work through all the buried issues I have about myself and food. The feelings of rebellion you are experiencing are just one part of the process for you to figure out and work through. It would be nice, but I've found that Intuitive Eating is not a quick fix, but something that takes a long time to figure out and learn. But the rewards are great!

    I'll think about this some more and try to dig back in my memory to the time when I started this process and see if I can't think of more things that might help you. Maybe Bryanna or Julie have some ideas about this also, since they are not new to this way of eating?

  7. For Vicki, I really agree with what Jill said about you thinking of it as another diet and that maybe you are rebelling against yourself because you feel like you have imposed rules on yourself you must keep.

    If you truly believe in Intuitive Eating, then if you feel like eating junk, you should eat it! That's what I say. It's part of the process, like Jill said.

    It took me a lot of years too to get the voices out of my head that told me what I was eating was naughty. I still have those voices sometimes. But if you believe that no food is off-limits, there are no naughty foods.

    Many times our relationship with food becomes a control issue, so that's something to think about.

  8. I don't have as much time right now to comment as I'd like because it's almost midnight and I should be in bed . . . but I agree with what Bryanna and Jill have said.

    For me at times there's been another component outside of dieting that keeps me from being a true intuitive eater and that is emotional stuff and food. (I guess it's all emotional sometimes when it comes to food). But I've often used food to numb or check out - so if things felt overwhelming - eating junk food was a way to check out and not have to cope with the emotions I was feeling (this isn't all past tense - this still happens, but I'm usually better at recognizing it and thinking through why this is happening before it gets bad).

    Maybe this is along the lines of what Bryanna was saying about control issues. Sometimes I think if Intuitive Eating feels oppressive or like one more thing you have to think about and juggle the urge to eat junk can be a way of "checking out" of it. And I do think Intuitive Eating is work in that it asks you to approach food much differently - food shouldn't be a numbing agent or something to control. And getting used to that takes time.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Maybe you could just think of every meal like you do about Sushi...every bite costs two dollars! :-) Just kidding, but I am going to think about this for awhile and get back to you with my answer. Hang in there.

  12. Laura! I had such a good answer for you and then you removed your posts! Now I can't remember the question. Did you change your mind about your question? Maybe you've decided to try something different? Call me!