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Has anyone succeeded with 'intuitive eating' after hitting their weight loss goal?

vpeachesvpeaches Member Posts: 18 Member Member Posts: 18 Member
MFP has been a great tool in reaching my goal, but I certainly don't want to live the rest of my life logging and minding every single calorie I intake. I have also had a history with disordered eating, so logging isn't something I try/want to be doing obsessively. (I am at a better place with my ED now and have been for years, but I'm weary of doing things that could potentially trigger me.)

After reaching a healthy weight years ago, I find that my journey of logging and reducing my intake has ultimately resulted in me naturally desiring smaller portions, which is great! Nowadays I don't log my food nearly as frequently (maybe twice a month just to check in and confirm that I'm, on average, eating at maintenance). My weight fluctuates around the same 10 lbs or so depending on time of year and my activity level.

However, I have been struggling a bit with 'intuitive eating' during this pandemic, and evidently have been snacking a lot more often than I used to. I weighed myself for the first time in about a month and a half, and have found that I am up nearly 12lbs since my last weigh-in, which means I'm at my highest weight in nearly 5 years. I am a little bit mortified as I was feeling pretty good about my nutrition/portions until seeing that number. It made me realize I need to be a little more honest with myself about whether my intuition is a craving or actual hunger.



I was wondering if anyone could share their experience with intuitive eating, how they manage/keep their weight in check, or whether or not they've found that it either does/doesn't work at all in the long term?
edited April 28
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Replies

  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,287 Member Member Posts: 31,287 Member
    Well...when I hit my 70 pound weight loss goal I tried not logging. I gained nearly 20 pounds in six months.

    So I went back to logging to lose that 20 pounds THAT I HAD ALREADY LOST ONCE - GRRRRR. I did lose it, but it was not an easy process.



    I quit logging again.

    Then I stayed pretty steady weight wise for a couple years without logging consistently. I would log if I got more than five pounds heavier and I would try stopping again, but I was near the top of my healthy weight range and I wanted to lose another 15 pounds so I went back to logging daily, using my food scale and the whole thing.

    Since I've gotten to my ultimate goal weight I've continued to log. I'm have much better nutrition and I feel more centered when I know the numbers.

    For most of the past 14 years I've logged and it's easy and makes my life so much more manageable. For me. There are a few intuitive eaters who are still on this site and in long-term weight management. Only way to know is to try it yourself. :) You can always go back to it.
  • vpeachesvpeaches Member Posts: 18 Member Member Posts: 18 Member
    Well...when I hit my 70 pound weight loss goal I tried not logging. I gained nearly 20 pounds in six months.

    So I went back to logging to lose that 20 pounds THAT I HAD ALREADY LOST ONCE - GRRRRR. I did lose it, but it was not an easy process.



    I quit logging again.

    Then I stayed pretty steady weight wise for a couple years without logging consistently. I would log if I got more than five pounds heavier and I would try stopping again, but I was near the top of my healthy weight range and I wanted to lose another 15 pounds so I went back to logging daily, using my food scale and the whole thing.

    Since I've gotten to my ultimate goal weight I've continued to log. I'm have much better nutrition and I feel more centered when I know the numbers.

    For most of the past 14 years I've logged and it's easy and makes my life so much more manageable. For me. There are a few intuitive eaters who are still on this site and in long-term weight management. Only way to know is to try it yourself. :) You can always go back to it.

    14 years, wow!!! Nice commitment! That sounds nuts to me, but I suppose once you make it part of your routine it must be second nature to you by now! Do you find yourself going over your daily allowance often, or does your lifestyle mean that you are always planning meals in advance?
  • TakeTheLongWayHomeTakeTheLongWayHome Member Posts: 119 Member Member Posts: 119 Member
    I have been at maintenance for around six months and I see myself logging food for the near future. I’m not 100% strict with it like I was when losing weight, but it keeps me honest with myself. If I lie or don’t log something, it hurts no one but me. It only takes a couple minutes a day for me, so I will just keep doing the only thing that has worked to help me lose the weight.
    edited April 28
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 542 Member Member Posts: 542 Member
    I would LOVE to be able to do this at some point, but I'm just not there. I actually got the Intuitive Eating book maybe 10 years ago, and the Mindful Diet book a year or 2 ago. Never finished them, but did try to implement some of the techniques.

    I was never officially diagnosed, but definitely struggled with binge eating and sought out therapy for it, even attended Overeater's Anonymous meetings for awhile. Mine started from a very restrictive diet as a teenager, and came and went, especially as I tried to restrict myself. So, I can definitely relate to the idea of tracking food regularly as triggering disordered eating and thoughts about food. I was on MFP about 9 years ago and successfully lost weight, but didn't want to track forever, either. My weight would go up and down, and I did try to eat more intuitively and mindfully, and overall make healthier choices most of the time . My weight started to creep up, so while I didn't go back on MFP, I did try the Body Reset diet (which worked).

    When COVID hit, I knew I was eating and drinking more than I should have, and my weight was going to be headed upwards again if I didn't do something. I actually wanted to see if I could reach (what I thought at the time) was my "ultimate" weight goal (a loss of about 8 lbs). However, the thought of tracking my food, measuring, etc., started to make me anxious based on my previous restrict/binge cycles. I've been successful, and have even lost more weight since then. I don't do things like measure/weigh food all the time, because for me personally, that may cross over into obsessiveness.

    Truthfully, I don't know if I'll be able to be both an intuitive eater and the weight I'd really like to be. I think I could eat intuitively and still be within the normal BMI range, albeit at the higher range. What I would still like to really work on, though, is becoming a more mindful eater. Tracking was actually one way to help me do that, but I'd like to learn to slow down and savor my food a lot more than I do now.
  • LazyBlondeChefLazyBlondeChef Member Posts: 603 Member Member Posts: 603 Member
    I'm still trying to lose the last few pounds (less than 10) and know that I'll be logging for at least the rest of 2021. I don't know what is intended by intuitive eating but I ate whatever I wanted and was never overweight up until about age 50-51. But since then I've lost weight several times times and promptly gained it all back because I stopped logging and weighing regularly. An alternative is to do a weekly weigh-in and if you're in your preferred range don't log. But as soon as you end up over your max number in the range then start logging for a few weeks to get back on track. I'll probably end up doing that at some point but not until at least 2022.

    edited April 29
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,388 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,388 Member
    I can't eat intuitively but I have maintained for years by eating thoughtfully without logging food.
    Don't ignore the middle ground between calorie counting and eating completely intuitively, there's more choices than that.

    I realised many, many years ago that as regards food my wants exceeded my needs so I have to exercise a measure of restraint. An experiment with intuitive eating confirmed that - quickly hit my highest ever weight with no sign of the rate of increase slowing down.

    But by watching my weight trend and having an inner dialogue about how much and what I eat I can maintain within an acceptable weight range or make slow adjustments downwards if necessary. Being more active and doing far more exercise definitely helps as I get to eat much closer to how I would like.

    But I doubt I could manage my weight this way without monitoring it and setting an upper limit that triggers action. To manage my weight I need to know my weight.

    Do you have an issue with weighing yourself regularly?
    If you do is there a proxy for weight that you could use instead - fit of a favourite pair of jeans or measurements perhaps?
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 420 Member Member, Premium Posts: 420 Member
    I think @sijomial brings up a really good point by saying "eating thoughtfully" instead of "eating intuitively."

    I think intuition is a really valuable skill in a lot of areas of life. But I don't like the idea that I can only rely on that and not go wrong. My natural inclination, in a lot of areas, is to luxuriate a little bit too much, be a little bit too indulgent, etc. I have the use of my reason, too, and I combine that with my emotions to come to good decision making. But as others have said, if I rely solely on intuition for eating - well, that's how I ended up overweight in the first place.

    Maybe, once I have kept the weight off for a while, I will not have to use calorie counting in such an exacting fashion, because some of the habits may be more automatic and I will always be making use of them. That would be good. For me I think about it like a person who, having struggled with punctuality his entire life, decides to purchase a watch or a planner and set alarms to make sure he leaves on time. Maybe eventually he'll stop using the alarms. But it probably wouldn't be a good idea to throw out the watch.
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 477 Member Member Posts: 477 Member
    I'm not really logging at this juncture. I am however, as sijomial says, eating thoughtfully. I know roughly how many calories things have and how many I need now. I couldn't get those out of my head if I tried.

    As a result I'm... still losing actually, albeit very slowly right now (I'm into vanity weight territory). My habits have legitimately changed in response to the knowledge and the result of THAT and knowledge is just all around sustainability with minimal 'accountability' from an outside source. I don't need the calculator in MFP because I know how many calories I need and roughly how many I ate. Am I likely entirely precise? Nah, but it balances out to a very small deficit and that's fine.

    That said my bad habits that got me obese were pretty specific and not deeply psychologically or emotionally rooted (mostly - there was one thing but recognizing that was all I needed). They were just ignorance and apathy. I also have no history of loss and regain or other diets before MFP.
    edited April 29
  • EmmaIsAVeganEmmaIsAVegan Member Posts: 7 Member Member Posts: 7 Member
    Check out Paul McKenna-he has hypnotic gastric band cd and I can make you thin hypnotic cd
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 420 Member Member, Premium Posts: 420 Member
    @cmriverside , do you happen to have templates for any of those spreadsheets? :D
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,287 Member Member Posts: 31,287 Member
    @penguinmama87

    No.

    I change formulas and columns frequently. Right now I have Weigh-in Weight, Calories, Exercise Calories, Net Calories, Running Average (of daily calories,) Deviation from daily goal, Weekly Calorie Total, and Weekly Goal Deviation. Then notes. I don't do graphs, I'm not that into it.

    :neutral:

    :lol:
    edited April 29
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 420 Member Member, Premium Posts: 420 Member
    @penguinmama87

    No.

    I change formulas and columns frequently. Right now I have Weigh-in Weight, Calories, Exercise Calories, Net Calories, Running Average (of daily calories,) Deviation from daily goal, Weekly Calorie Total, and Weekly Goal Deviation. Then notes. I don't do graphs, I'm not that into it.

    :neutral:

    :lol:

    That's helpful! I could easily figure out how to track a lot of those myself. I have been keeping track of calories and weigh ins, but I do like to do deep dives on data collection. It's my nerd version of fun!
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,287 Member Member Posts: 31,287 Member
    @penguinmama87

    No.

    I change formulas and columns frequently. Right now I have Weigh-in Weight, Calories, Exercise Calories, Net Calories, Running Average (of daily calories,) Deviation from daily goal, Weekly Calorie Total, and Weekly Goal Deviation. Then notes. I don't do graphs, I'm not that into it.

    :neutral:

    :lol:

    That's helpful! I could easily figure out how to track a lot of those myself. I have been keeping track of calories and weigh ins, but I do like to do deep dives on data collection. It's my nerd version of fun!

    It's been immensely helpful to me to go deep in the data collection and review. By doing so I've learned I can easily eat 500 calories per day OVER my allotted goal every day. I also know that if I push that to 800-1500 over one day a week it's not a big deal.

    Logging food makes me make sure to eat Enough, not just watching to not go over.


    I think all people in recovery from EDs could benefit a lot from learning to eat Enough every day. It stops that binge/restrict unhealthy cycle. The idea that logging food is stressful or obsessive is just part of the Addictive Voice, in my opinion.
  • 1martinimomma1martinimomma Member Posts: 10 Member Member Posts: 10 Member
    I lost 60 lbs two years ago, have kept it off but still log very loosely. I weigh high calorie items such as meat and sweets, but only use guesstimated measurements like cups for low calorie items such as most greens and other low calorie vegetables. By keeping track, although loosely, it gives me peace of mind when I see the scale move up a couple pounds on my daily weigh-ins, I know it's just water and I have not truly gained weight. This has seemed to work for me.
  • fittocyclefittocycle Member Posts: 774 Member Member Posts: 774 Member
    I'd love to say I can but I can't. Unfortunately, chocolate and I are inseparable. Logging allows me to enjoy a small but reasonable amount of dark chocolate each day. Without being held accountable for my sweet treat, well . . . . let's just not go there, okay? :smiley:
  • meeppeepneepmeeppeepneep Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Yes and no. I did great for a year-ish. Then depression happened, so 2 years of weight gain. Was getting better. And then covid happened. Now I'm back.
    edited April 30
  • ExpressoLove11ExpressoLove11 Member Posts: 193 Member Member Posts: 193 Member
    A big fat no from me. My intuition wants to eat an entire packet of cookies and a share bar of chocolate. Tried it once after my first year of maintenance - never again!
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