Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will review a book called Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works. This review was written a while ago but I didn’t publish it because I have been in a peaceful relationship with food lately. But as the semester starts, I have begun to feel some stress and anxiety and I find myself eating more than usual. I sometimes use eating to distract myself from overwhelming emotion or to justify that I’m not doing any productive work. I find this time appropriate to review this book and set a reminder for myself and for someone who faces similar issues with food.
The book was recommended by my favorite vegan youtuber Sadia from Pick Up Lime, whose vegan recipe videos feel like a massage for the eyes and souls. In addition, she was trained as a dietitian before becoming a youtuber.
How the book changed me?
Diet Doesn’t Work Because It Can’t Sustain
I’ve always been conscious about my weight and have been on several diets. Even though they don’t work for me, I still somehow believe that diets can work, at least for a specific group of people. But reading this book changes my mind that no diet would actually work because it can’t last. A diet can probably help you lose some weight but the weight you lose often comes back in the future, because how you eat when you are on a diet can’t last for a long time. A diet often restricts you from eating something and the fact of restraining makes you want to eat that particular food even more. For a diet to be actually effective, it has to last for a long time.
Last Supper Effect
It means that during the last meal before starting a diet, you are allowed to eat whatever you want to eat and thus you often eat more than you usually do because you’re afraid that you will never be able to eat that again. For some chronic dieters, they almost enjoy this part because they are entitled to eat anything.
I have similar experience, but not on eating. A membership of a grocery store is about to expire and I don’t want to renew it. So during the last weeks before it expires, I buy a lot more than I usually do because I worry that I might never be able to buy that again.
Attend to the Signals Your Body Send
We humans are born with an intuitive eating ability, but as we grow up, it’s been suppressed, especially by dieting. Dieting essentially trains you to ignore your body signals and stick to some rules that people other than yourself made. At the early stages, it might be difficult to notice the signals your body sends you so the book suggests that you pause in the middle of a meal or snack for a time-out and feel how your body reacts. I’m an unconscious eater, meaning that I watch some sitcoms while I eat. It’s difficult to pay attention to the signals my body sends me when I’m not mindful.
Exercise should be more about moving your body and feel how it feels, rather than calculating how much you burnt during the workout. I used to often fall into the It’s-Not-Worth-It Trap, meaning that it doesn’t count because time is too short for any real exercise. But over the long time, it all counts.
Nothing will change overnight, so be patient. Be present with your body and be aware of how it feels and responds. After all, it’s the process, not the end, that counts.