Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It takes time and practice to change

I have a unique perspective when it comes to intuitive eating. I believe that the way I think about food and eating, how I can lose weight without a diet is the goal of intuitive eating.

However, I have a unique perspective as I didn't get here by following the intuitive eating rules, I got here by working with a cognitive behaviour therapist and slowly changed my eating behaviour.

In addition, I belonged to an intuitive eating support group, so I understand the challenges of following the intuitive eating rules.With that perspective, I can offer some useful insight into an intuitive eating journey.

I was interested in intuitive eating because I pictured a normal eating life; eating food like a normal person, in normal amounts without counting points/calories. We are all born to eat intuitively, but in some of us, that intuitive ability is lost as we mature. So when you think about it, intuitive eating is about resetting our eating behaviour- overturning a deeply ingrained learned behaviour for a behaviour that is based on instinct.

It takes time and practice
If you are moving towards changing your eating behaviour - it takes practice and it takes time to change. Expect to make mistakes; even welcome mistakes, because you can learn from your mistakes. In my own journey, mistakes revealed my true eating triggers. If you expect to be perfect from the start, you are setting yourself up to fail by giving up.

How much time? I can only go by my experience: I saw my therapist for a year; while I didn't count the number of sessions, I believe I had twenty sessions. With one-on-one counselling, it took a year to experience significant changes in my behaviour. The interesting thing is that a year after therapy ended, my eating behaviour continues to change - as I am still practicing.

The bottom line - change doesn't happen overnight, but with patience, time and practice, you can permanently change how you think about food and eating, whether you are an intuitive eater or someone who just wants a little peace when it comes to food.


  1. I don't believe the goal of intuitive eating is to lose weight. It can be a side effect, however, of learning to tune into your signals of hunger & satisfaction. I believe the goal of intuitive eating is to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body.

    I urge you to read the entirety of the new 3rd edition which was just released.


    1. I'm trying to write faster so I may not go into complete details. Yes, I totally agree that weight loss is more of a side effect rather than the goal. In my mind, I was comparing intuitive eating to HAES, if these two are on a sliding scale, I think weight loss is a stronger goal for IE than HAES. That is where I was coming from.

      You are right, I rely mostly on my own IE experience. I read IE blog postings, but I haven't read any IE books lately. However, I had an in depth experience with IE; I paid money for one-on-one counselling and then paid money for group therapy that met once a week for six months.

      From my experience and that of CBT, I have strong feelings as to what worked and what didn't work. IE is difficult to master, and through my experience I have different thoughts on the process that may help people break through their struggles with food.

      While I agree with many of the IE ideas, I do not agree with them all. I hope you'll hear me out and perhaps one idea or two will make sense to you. But, if not, I will always welcome your thoughts and perspective!

  2. Great post and I agree with all of it! It's an evolutionary process with ups and downs, not the flip of a switch.

    1. It's interesting because in retrospect, it sometimes feels like a flip of the switch, but it wasn't. CBT, systematically chipped away at each eating trigger, and writing, practicing and more practice lead to real change.

      Next, perhaps I should tackle the photograph issue I have. I loved the picture on your recent post from fitbloggin' conference!

  3. I don't think I am there yet Kara. I want to be. I read your very helpful hints and some I have been able to fold into my life, but.. I think I am not trying hard enough.

    How do you keep from slipping into your old ways?

    1. Munchberry, no. Trying too hard is probably making it worse.

      You, me, anyone who struggles with food has a lifetime of hard-wired eating behaviours to overcome. That is no easy task (I'm starting to believe that our western society is basically sets up a lot of us to struggle with food).

      I completely attribute CBT with this permanent change in my eating behaviour. CBT is very effective in helping people with eating issues. Is CBT something you could consider?

    2. Yes. In fact I was just talking it over with a physician friend on the phone. I have decided I may be too overwhelmed right now and need some help in getting back on track towards health... before I completely take a dump.

      I am with ya about W. Society.

    3. It took me a few years to actually look into and make the call to a CBT clinic. You've got a lot going on right now, but CBT will be available when you are ready.

  4. CBT & IE together have been very helpful for me.

    1. IE definitely played an important part in my recovery too.


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