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Home Cooks: Does intuitive eating work for you?

ZodikosisZodikosis Posts: 149Member Member Posts: 149Member Member
This post is targeted to people who cook most or all of their meals at home, mostly from scratch.

I've heard it said before that eating mostly homecooked meals correlates somewhat strongly with maintaining a healthier weight.

At first I was a little skeptical -- I cook almost all my meals at home, from base ingredients (yeah, sometimes they're canned or frozen depending on the time of year, but my point is that I don't usually cook boxed or prepackaged meals where you mostly just heat-n-eat), and I know that you definitely can make very rich meals at home if you load up on the butter, oil, dairy, and high-fat meats. Desserts made at home are still usually just as calorie-dense as desserts I could buy elsewhere. Most of the meals I make aren't explicitly healthy...they're not particularly unhealthy either, but I'm not making a point of excluding bacon altogether and loading up on kale, if you get what I mean.

However, as I gradually enter maintenance, I've noticed that, as long as most of my meals are still cooked and eaten at home, I don't really need to watch what I eat that much. I still log it because I'm obsessed with data anyway and think it's interesting and would like to have some information to work with if I regress, but I don't measure or weigh any of my food anymore (eyeball method 95% of the time), and I don't really ever tell myself no on what I can eat and (within reason) on how much I can eat (I suppose they call this intuitive eating around here). I tell myself that if I want a pie, I have to make the pie myself, from scratch. But once I make that pie, I can have as big of a slice as I want, with ice cream (I'm probably full at this point anyway, so it's not like I'm gonna have a slice the size of half the pie anyway). It's been almost 6 months of this and I haven't gained any unwanted weight, in fact I unexpectedly dropped a few pounds about a month ago.

I had a conversation with my mom awhile ago about if the people she knew growing up in her home country ever had to consciously maintain their weight, especially as they got older. She said no, no one she knew thought about those kinds of things -- being a healthy weight was the default, you didn't really need to try to be at a healthy weight and it was unusual to be overweight. Very few people exercised for the purpose of losing or maintaining weight. Of course, she also pointed out that when she was growing up, if you didn't like what was on the dinner table that night, well that was just too bad -- there were no snacks in the house, no convenience stores open, often not even enough food in the fridge to prepare yourself another meal, as they shopped for dinner ingredients daily. The junk food available at the store wasn't terribly high quality and the selection was limited -- maybe one or two types of chocolate bar available, and it was waxy, sometimes half-melted.

So, I wanted to ask you folks that mostly cook all your own food at home -- do you find that as you enter maintenance, it's pretty easy to just rely on intuitive eating? If not, why do you think it's not?

I've seen people mention before that intuitive eating just doesn't work for some people, but I do wonder if it's because their diets rely on a lot of prepackaged, ready-to-eat convenience food and restaurant/takeaway meals. Almost half of my friends don't cook and eat every meal out of the house, so I wonder if maybe that's why they have a hard time "feeling out" how much to eat and when to stop eating.
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Replies

  • hesn92hesn92 Posts: 5,491Member Member Posts: 5,491Member Member
    My main problem comes from mindlessly snacking and grazing in between meals, I think. When it comes to building my plate for dinner or lunch, unless it's some special meal like at a really good steakhouse or something, I don't have issues with eating too much. I like to be comfortably full but not totally stuffed. As long as I limit my snacks I can maintain my weight without counting calories.
  • EvamuttEvamutt Posts: 1,571Member Member Posts: 1,571Member Member
    I'm similar to you in that I cook almost all our meals. I was born in Europe & my family came here where I was little. They made literally everything from scratch including having a pig slaughtered & making different kinds of sausage every year, making pasta, etc. I've been maintaining since last November but I do usually weigh & log my food. Even though after 2 years + I know about how much everything I eat weighs, I'm a bit ocd plus It's a way to keep me accountable. I'm afraid I'll start eating larger portions if I don't weigh, but I've been thinking of trying it for a week
  • FL_HikerFL_Hiker Posts: 919Member Member Posts: 919Member Member
    I've always been a normal BMI, my mom cooked every meal from scratch including extravanagnt breakfasts for us kids every morning. I was so lucky to have a mom who is such an amazing cook! When I moved out on my own with my fiancé I adopted his bad habits of eating out every meal, it was pizza and fried chicken and no fruits or veggies every day. I put on 20 pounds, still not "overweight" but the heaviest I had ever been in my life. Once we got married I started cooking every day for us, we still get a small pizza every Friday and I have no issue just eating a slice or two at most and after a long run on the weekend we sometimes go out to a breakfast buffet. I lost all my weight by eating intuitively, I log loosely but I have never used a food scale. I judged my portions by how I used to eat when my mom served me food. My parents also always made us sit down for dinner together every single night, we never ate in front of the TV. My husband grew up only eating in front of the tv lol, so we compromise in our own household and sometimes do both (I still prefer the table!). I love cooking and making my moms and grandmas old recipes, restaurant food just often doesn't compare...
  • hroderickhroderick Posts: 750Member Member Posts: 750Member Member
    Congratulations on reaching your goal. You are where I'm working to be. I'm losing a lot of weight with calorie deficits and changing my eating behaviors. Mindful eating is helping me modify behaviors. We use platejoy.com to plan wonderful interesting meals from scratch. By the time I'm at goal weight I'll have been at this for at least 18 months and just start eating a bit more for maintenance, not change my improved habits. I'm learning proper portion size, the value of planning, and even how to order at restaurants and keep control. In maintenance, I plan to weigh weekly and commit to logging when I get 5 lb over. Good job reaching your goal and good luck with simply maintaining.
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Posts: 12,160Member Member Posts: 12,160Member Member
    I don't think it correlates if we home cook then we eat intuitively but I do feel it cuts the calorie intake considerably - we can keep the ingredients low cal/low fat easily and limit the portion size.
    The majority of my meals are home cooked, I don't even choose low fat versions of ingredients all the time yet my average dinner is no more than 600 cals, average lunches are 450.
    I reckon if I was eat to out more maintaining my weight might not be so effortless as it feels now - plus I think of all the money I'm saving by not eating out! :smiley: .
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