If intuitive eating can help people lose weight and eat healthier, shouldn’t it stand to reason that “intuitive smoking” or “intuitive drinking” should also help people manage THESE addictions too?

Somebody comes up with the term “intuitive eating,” and with aggressive marketing, this catch-phrase has caught on like wildfire.

Intuitive eating is not the same as mindful eating.

We intuitively are drawn to high fat foods and foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates – a throw-back to our ancient days when we needed fast sources of energy to be prepared for a fight or flight situation.

In these modern times, our bodies are still hardwired to crave sugary, high-fat processed foods over low-glycemic, low-fat natural foods.

We all know what a hungry baby (with all teeth), if presented with a plate of cucumbers or fresh-baked peanut butter cookies, will plow his fingers into.

We intuitively make our way to McDonald’s, Krispy Kreme and chocolate brownies rather than stir-fried vegetables, apple slices and grilled cod.

Now admit it: You stared quite a while at the frosted brownie above. Had this been a green salad, chopped carrots and celery, handful of raisins, sliced peach or tuna salad, you wouldn’t have looked at it for so long or in the same way. We are hardwired!

However, some people are able to fight their intuitive drives and go for the healthful items.

When I was a personal trainer I counseled many overweight clients on diet and nutrition. That came with the territory.

I never told them to “eat whatever and as much as you want.”

Intuitive eating, according to its tenets, translates to “eat whatever and as much as you want.”

Shutterstock/Ken Tannenbaum

Intuitive Smoking and Drinking

What if we were to apply those tenets to smoking and drinking liquor?

There’d be an outrage if “intuitive smoking” or “intuitive drinking” were promoted. Same with intuitive cutting, intuitive purging and intuitive pill popping.

Well, being told we should give in to our cravings for giant bowls of mac ‘n cheese or a 1,500 calorie meal of pancakes drenched in syrup and butter should also be met with criticism.

Imagine if a smoker practiced intuitive smoking. What do you think would happen? She’d end up giving into every craving for a smoke.

Same with the heavy drinker. When that urge strikes to down a six-pack, he’ll do it. After all, it’s what his body (and mind) wants. It’ll make him feel better.

I explained to my clients the concept of MINDFUL eating.

• Don’t eliminate your favorite foods; this is a non-sustainable approach to fat loss.

• DO limit portions on your favorite foods if they are the so-called junk foods. This means only enough ice cream to fill a coffee cup, not a cereal bowl.

• Practice overall portion control.

• Snack on healthful items such as nuts, seeds, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit.

• Eat your heaviest meals, if possible, within two hours of a hard workout, when glucose metabolism is at its finest.

• Never eat only because food was offered to you or because others are eating.

• Never eat out of boredom or stress.

• Stop eating when you begin feeling satiated.

• Fight the urge to overeat.

I’ve read the tenets of the classic intuitive eating approach, and if taken literally, they DO translate to giving in to the temptation to over-indulge or binge on junk food. There’s just no way around this interpretation.

Thus, if we apply the rules of intuitive eating to smoking and drinking, by golly, we’ll really be in big trouble.

In fact, that’s precisely why smokers find it so difficult to quit. They intuitively light up every cigarette.

Same with drinking. It’s intuitive for some folks to hit the liquor cabinet within minutes of coming home from a trying day at the office.

Or, it’s intuitive for them to head straight for the local bar and “unwind” with heavy drinking instead of hitting the gym.

Imagine the disaster if we applied the intuitive approach to parenting, money management and oral care. I needn’t say more.

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