Beware of “intuitive eating,” despite its funky sounding name; it could make you gain FAT weight. Intuitive eating is essentially a free-for-all when it comes to food.

Tenets of Intuitive Eating

  • No foods are forbidden.
  • Don’t eat for emotional reasons.
  • Eat when hungry, stop when satiation starts kicking in.
  • Eat foods you love and that make you feel good.
  • Rules and restrictions, structure and plans, are out.

The term “intuitive eating,” I gather, is part of its appeal. I wonder if it would have caught on with a name like “no-rule eating” or “no-plan eating.”

No Rules, No Restrictions

What the heck is wrong with rules, regulations and premeditation when it comes to eating?

Intuitive eating has no place in a modern-day culture where pastry shops, fast-food diners and all sorts of other eateries are on every street corner.

The tenet of “don’t eat for emotional reasons” is the only sensible one.

No Foods Are Forbidden, Eat Foods You Love and that Make You Feel Good

We shouldn’t give up our favorite foods. But if we ate them intuitively rather than mindfully, how many of you would eventually get as big as a horse?

For many overeaters, psychological issues drive this behavior. They may eat out of depression, stress, loneliness, boredom or based on social cues such as dinner out, parties and social functions.

This is dangerous advice for an obese or overweight person who’s an emotional or situational eater, even though one of the tenets is to avoid emotional eating.

Plus, the tenet of avoiding emotional eating contradicts the one about eating foods that make you feel good.

It’s like telling an alcoholic, “Drink the beverages you love and that make you feel good.”

Can you imagine a doctor applying this concept to smoking? “Go ahead, smoke whenever you feel like it as long as it makes you feel good.”

Is there anyone out there who gets the same “feel good” feeling from steamed vegetables as they do from ice cream, fast-food or munchies?

Shutterstock/Viktoriia Hnatiuk

Eat when Hungry; Stop when Satiation Kicks In

What if you used hunger to guide you rather than the clock, physical activity or some other predetermined structure?

Some people are hungry quite often. This problem can’t always be corrected by increasing water and protein intake and eating less processed food.

It’s just that for some people, it takes a lot of food to subdue their hunger. If it takes 1,000 calories of pasta in one sitting to do this, should they do it?

Yes, according to the intuitive eating approach.

For some obese overeaters, hunger is a constant problem, as their hunger signals may be out-of-whack. For instance they may be leptin resistant, causing excess hunger.

Do fresh vegetables and fruits have a place in intuitive eating?

According to intuitive eating, vegetables and fruits will never get eaten — unless you find peas and apple slices to be comfort foods or find them as heavenly tasteful as a milkshake or cinnamon roll.

If ALL food had the same nutrient and caloric value (e.g., a brownie was identical in nutrients and calories to a cup of spinach), who’d choose the spinach over the brownie?

Okay, maybe you don’t love brownies. What DO you love? Maybe it’s butterscotch candies. Maybe it’s M & M’s. Maybe it’s Mickey D’s fries or Applebee’s bacon cheeseburgers.

If these unhealthy sugary and fatty foods were as low in calories as carrots and as health-giving, would you ever eat carrots again? No way. You’d be filling up on the “bad” stuff.

Because it just tastes SOOOOO good! And the texture! Can broccoli match the textural sensation of pudding, mousse, ice cream or chocolate cake drenched in warm chocolate syrup?

Would you be staring at this image like you would if it were a plate of raw vegetables? Yeah, right. Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Though this is an attractive shot of health-giving raw vegetables, let’s admit it: You’re not staring at this the same way you were looking at the cake above! Shutterstock/giedre vaitekune

Weight Gain from Intuitive Eating

I once decided to eat intuitively. I gained weight because all I was eating was high calorie, fattening foods (bread, baked goods) and hardly any vegetables or fruits.

Only when I apply those forbidden rules and regulations to my eating habits do my triglycerides go down to an amazing 39, and my baseline blood pressure gets in the 90s over 60s. And my body becomes lean.

Sure, I allow myself cheesecake and homemade chocolate milkshakes – but not intuitively. It’s mindfully. There IS a difference.

I can eat an entire loaf in a single sitting of my mother’s legendary homemade bread (intuitive approach). But I stop after a few thick slices. Any problem with that?

There is NOTHING wrong with applying rules, regs and structure to your eating habits and not eating every time you’re hungry.

Intuitive banking, anyone? How about intuitive parenting? I thought so.

Imagine how destructive it would be if you applied the intuitive approach to other components of your life, such as dating.

If you as a woman were to practice “intuitive dating,” you might end up taking rides from men you just met at a bar – men disguising their danger with good looks and superficial charm.

If men were to practice intuitive dating, they might end up with eye-candy shallow women who want only their money.

What about intuitive money management? Let’s not even go there. Want to go near intuitive parenting? I didn’t think so.

Intuitive Eating Encourages Overeating Junk Food

So many formerly obese people report that they had no idea how much they’d been overeating until they began breaking the rules of intuitive eating (e.g., tracking calories).

The standard American diet is heart-harmful and triggers hunger. Like one personal trainer, whose many clients are morbidly obese, has stated: “People intuitively eat like shit.”

Intuitive eating translates to listening to the voice inside your head urging you to polish off those three donuts sitting on your counter.

What next, intuitive shopping? Hello credit card debt!

Intuitive Eating Is a Marketing Scheme

Not only is this concept something that those who’ve failed at healthy eating want to hear, but the funky term also appeals to non-overweight health professionals.

“I’m all for intuitive eating!” a dietician expert source for a few of my nutrition articles once told me. Yet her advice that I used for my articles breached the rules of intuitive eating!

Don’t Be Led Astray

  • There is no crime in having to strictly surveil eating habits!
  • There is no crime in using apps or whatever method suits you to track calories and fat grams.

Intuitive Housecleaning

Screw intuitive eating. It makes no sense. No more sense than it would to apply it to maintaining your house.

Imagine practicing intuitive household management. The laundry would never get done, dishes never cleaned, toilet bowl never cleaned, beds never made…

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 

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Top image: Shutterstock/Kzenon