Anyone ever actually lost weight with Intuitive Eating?

2

Replies

  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
    I can maintain with it but not lose, and I always end up with WAY too many carbs and not nearly enough protein.

    When my husband tries it he gains steadily. He'd like to be able to do it because he's on a submarine six months of the year and logging is difficult, but his natural hunger cues aren't honed well enough for it to work.

    I also suspect that both of us have a strong tendency toward self-deception. If I'm allowed to eat anytime I'm hungry I'll convince myself I "need" more when I really don't.
  • anybodys_fruit
    anybodys_fruit Posts: 17 Member
    Yes! I have! I am a mostly 80/10/10 vegan now but I learned about intuitive eating from josie spinardi on youtube and continue to use that mindset. I am actually on MFP to track ratios, trends, fitness, and success. I definitely do not believe in calorie restriction. I know that it works for others but it definitely does not work for me (it is tedious and boring and life should be abundant and beautiful!). I used to have an eating disorder and whenever I get back into the "I have to count calories" mindset it is too much of a temptation to go back down that path. I know this isn't the most popular opinion, but hey, I hope it helps you out!
  • anybodys_fruit
    anybodys_fruit Posts: 17 Member
    I suppose I should add that when I do it I eat very nutrient dense foods that have lower calorie content, so between 80/10/10 / Vegan principles and an intuitive eating mindset, I have found the most success (and health!).
  • beamer0821
    beamer0821 Posts: 488 Member
    this is kind of Geneen Roth's style as well, she writes REALLY well on the subject. im for that type of eating but it takes time to get there i think. (Geneen would argue that point).

    you need to ask yourself first what the weight is all about. i feel like this is such an overlooked topic when people are trying to lose weight. they focus on the food and scale and ignore whats going on their head.
    i recommend Geneen Roth's books and the Beck Diet Solution (not a literal diet book in the traditional sense).
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,268 Member
    Honestly if you could lose on IE you wouldn't be here trying to lose.

    I personally feel that IE could work if you are really intune with yourself and your body cues, but that takes a while...you have to eat slow, really know portion size and say no to yourself even when it tastes good...

    Can we as a species do that...mostly no...
  • BarbieAS
    BarbieAS Posts: 1,414 Member
    I could never do it, at least not starting from my current state. I was actually just sort of discussing this with someone last night (not that term, but the "eating when hungry" concept), and yesterday was a perfect example of what my issues would be.

    My activity level is perfectly described as lightly active. Yesterday I went and walked a mile on the rec center track at lunch and ran a few errands after work, but other than that sat on my butt most of the day. I'm certainly not training for anything; I haven't even been to the gym for resistance training in a few weeks (bad bad Barbie). My TDEE is around 2300. My deficit is set to 750 calories as I have almost 60lbs to lose to even hit the top of a healthy weight range.

    Yesterday I ate 1,610 calories. Got 108g of protein, 83g of fat and 26g of fiber. Had 6 or 7 servings of fruits and vegetables. In terms of food selection, was a very solid 80/20 day (in terms of 80% whole, minimally processed foods and 20% less nutritionally dense food). Seems like it should have been a pretty satisfying day, yes?

    Wrong. I spent the entire day feeling like I was starving and/or craving random crap. And that's not an atypical day for me, that's the norm. The problem is not that I need more food or anything. I'm eating more than enough for my current stats and for my goals. My problem is that I need to re-train my body and, most importantly, my mind to appropriately recognize the amount of food I DO need. If you've got that down, then a more Intuitive Eating approach could absolutely work. But, for most of us on MFP with goals to lose weight (yes, I know, not all, but most), we got here by "Intuitively Eating" way too frigging much. I think that "Intuitive Eating" should be viewed as more of a weight loss GOAL rather than a weight loss METHOD. Over the course of losing weight you hopefully re-learn what's appropriate for your body so that eventually you can stop logging and live your life while maintaining a healthy weight. That's *my* goal, anyway.
  • likitisplit
    likitisplit Posts: 9,420 Member
    I could never do it, at least not starting from my current state. I was actually just sort of discussing this with someone last night (not that term, but the "eating when hungry" concept), and yesterday was a perfect example of what my issues would be.

    My activity level is perfectly described as lightly active. Yesterday I went and walked a mile on the rec center track at lunch and ran a few errands after work, but other than that sat on my butt most of the day. I'm certainly not training for anything; I haven't even been to the gym for resistance training in a few weeks (bad bad Barbie). My TDEE is around 2300. My deficit is set to 750 calories as I have almost 60lbs to lose to even hit the top of a healthy weight range.

    Yesterday I ate 1,610 calories. Got 108g of protein, 83g of fat and 26g of fiber. Had 6 or 7 servings of fruits and vegetables. In terms of food selection, was a very solid 80/20 day (in terms of 80% whole, minimally processed foods and 20% less nutritionally dense food). Seems like it should have been a pretty satisfying day, yes?

    Wrong. I spent the entire day feeling like I was starving and/or craving random crap. And that's not an atypical day for me, that's the norm. The problem is not that I need more food or anything. I'm eating more than enough for my current stats and for my goals. My problem is that I need to re-train my body and, most importantly, my mind to appropriately recognize the amount of food I DO need. If you've got that down, then a more Intuitive Eating approach could absolutely work. But, for most of us on MFP with goals to lose weight (yes, I know, not all, but most), we got here by "Intuitively Eating" way too frigging much. I think that "Intuitive Eating" should be viewed as more of a weight loss GOAL rather than a weight loss METHOD. Over the course of losing weight you hopefully re-learn what's appropriate for your body so that eventually you can stop logging and live your life while maintaining a healthy weight. That's *my* goal, anyway.

    My experience is that any time I cut more than 300 calories, I end up starving all the time. 300 calories and I'm fine. I can lose weight comfortably. More than that and it's a fight. I don't have "willpower" so, if I was going through what you were going through, I'd eat a little more and lose a little less but get to my goals without a whole lot of effort. I also lose surprisingly little lean mass when I lose weight.
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,299 Member
    I have never read the book you refer to, but yes, Intuitive eating is actually the only way I've ever lost weight and the way I kept from becoming overweight for most of my life.

    I'm pretty good at knowing when I've eaten too much. When I finally decided that the honeymoon had to end and I needed to lose the 30 lbs I had gained since getting married, I lost 27 of it by eating intuitively. Then I joined MFP* and got obsessed over calories and macros and slowly gained 10 back. :grumble:

    Now, I've stopped logging and have started losing again.


    * This is not meant as a slam against MFP. I think this is a wonderful weight loss tool for many, including me. My MFP friends and challenges I find on here keep my fitness on track. It just wasn't the right diet tool for me.
  • wonderwoman234
    wonderwoman234 Posts: 551 Member
    I have lost weight in the past eating intuitively, especially after the birth of my two sons. I just watched what I ate, started running, and cut back on portions (eating a half a bagel instead of a whole one, cutting out the starch at dinner and doubling up on veggies, etc.) But that was in my late 20's. I'm now in my 40's and packed on 40+ pounds mostly through emotional eating and a running injury that led to lack of exercise.

    Regarding your attitude, I used to have the same one. I was indignant about having to count calories, and "deny" myself. For me, it was a cover for wanting to continue eating for emotional reasons. I was just not willing to let go of the comfort, stress-relief and perceived "fulfillment" I thought I was getting through food.

    For me, the psychological relationship I have with food (what is means to me, what I wanted it to do for me, etc.) was something I had to deal with before I could really commit to losing weight. I never wanted to be overweight. I just wanted to feel good. Turns out, the food did not do anything good for me, my body, my life.

    Also, I think it is a total waste of mental energy to compare yourself to others. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, has crosses to bear, whether you can see them or not. Focus on loving and accepting yourself and forget what everyone else is doing. I know from experience that doing just that has led to many great things in my life (writing a novel, opening my own business, being happier and more confident, for starters).

    The easier part is choosing a calorie restricted plan to lose weight. The harder part is figuring out if you are in the frame of mind to commit to it.
  • boombalatty123
    boombalatty123 Posts: 116 Member
    You can definitely retrain your brain to recognize valid hunger cues vs. emotional eating impulses, and you should, but I have personally never known anyone claiming to follow "Intuitive Eating" as their primary weight loss strategy to be successful. Maybe I just know slackers, but it seems to be an excuse to "diet" without actually doing anything productive.

    On the other hand, I feel like I do practice a form of intuitive eating. The last few years I've been eating low-ish carb (around 100g a day) because I discovered I feel better eating that way.
  • PikaKnight
    PikaKnight Posts: 34,971 Member
    I really should know better...this time 3 months ago I had it all ticking over nicely. I was working through New Rules of Lifting, had my TDEE-20% and macros worked out to the dot, read everything that Sara2k1 and Sidesteel (and you too cwolfman13!) had to say on here...and it felt awesome having that knowledge and control. I just can't get my head back into it, and I guess that reading up on IE convinced me that I was flighting my body and that the nice easy route of basically eating what you like sounded lovely (kidding myself really).

    However the fact that I have trawled the internet looking for one IE weight loss success story and failed says it all really. Like you say wolfman, I think that the system needs to be reset or retrained before anyone can trust their natural eating cues.

    Still, it would be interesting to see if there is anyone out there that this has worked for...? Maybe someone who has only recently had some weight problems?

    Question for you, do you really think there is anything wrong with having to log all or most of the time for the rest of your life?

    Here's the thing. I have issues with food to the point where I not only have issues with disordered eating, but an eating disorder as well. I've tried intuitive eating to the point where I went from one extreme to the other and back. I don't' think those will ever truly go away or that I'll "recover" (in the sense that I'll never have that problem again) from being an overeater and stress/bored/emotional eater. But I can deal with it and make it to where it's not negatively affecting me (i.e. gaining weight or working my way to the other end of the spectrum again).

    Counting calories has worked in allowing me to lose weight as well as help prevent overeating/binging. It's not a 100% effective, but it's improved a lot compared to a few years ago thanks to logging everything and holding myself accountable.

    If you happen to be like me, then just know that there isn't anything wrong if you aren't able to be like an "average" person in regards to intuitive eating. If tracking your food works then that works. Just like writing in a diary or taking medication for a medical/psychological issue is nothing to be ashamed of.

    TL;DR : Don't drive yourself nuts trying to be like "everyone else" or "normal". Do what works for you and what will help you not just lose weight, but maintain as well.
  • mazmataz
    mazmataz Posts: 331 Member
    Thanks for the amazing responses guys! I think that this comment really hit the nail on the head:
    "For me, the psychological relationship I have with food (what is means to me, what I wanted it to do for me, etc.) was something I had to deal with before I could really commit to losing weight. I never wanted to be overweight. I just wanted to feel good. Turns out, the food did not do anything good for me, my body, my life."

    If I was overeating because I can't recognise hunger signals etc, then maybe IE would work better. But it's not my body that's tricking me, it's my mind. When I overeat it's almost always with something sweet. I can take or leave savoury snacks (I've had a huge bag of chips in the cupboard that have been there so long that they're probably out of date now, but a bar of chocoloate wouldn't make it through the night!), but the little bit of dopamime that get's released in my brain when I have something sweet keeps me coming back for more.

    I've not had a traumatic life, and no real reason to 'comfort eat', I just enjoy it...it's like a drug I guess. If I'm feeling a bit down or even if I've accomplished something, my condolence/reward will always be sugar. And yup, that's not my body telling me it's what it needs, it's a little high that I enjoy in my brain!

    I know that MFP is generally anti-detox, but I was thinking of following a mild detox program next week just to reset my system a little and hoepfuly kill the sweet cravings...then maybe I'll be able to get back on track and actually work with my body for what it needs to be healthy. :-)
  • PikaKnight
    PikaKnight Posts: 34,971 Member
    Thanks for the amazing responses guys! I think that this comment really hit the nail on the head:
    "For me, the psychological relationship I have with food (what is means to me, what I wanted it to do for me, etc.) was something I had to deal with before I could really commit to losing weight. I never wanted to be overweight. I just wanted to feel good. Turns out, the food did not do anything good for me, my body, my life."

    If I was overeating because I can't recognise hunger signals etc, then maybe IE would work better. But it's not my body that's tricking me, it's my mind. When I overeat it's almost always with something sweet. I can take or leave savoury snacks (I've had a huge bag of chips in the cupboard that have been there so long that they're probably out of date now, but a bar of chocoloate wouldn't make it through the night!), but the little bit of dopamime that get's released in my brain when I have something sweet keeps me coming back for more.

    I've not had a traumatic life, and no real reason to 'comfort eat', I just enjoy it...it's like a drug I guess. If I'm feeling a bit down or even if I've accomplished something, my condolence/reward will always be sugar. And yup, that's not my body telling me it's what it needs, it's a little high that I enjoy in my brain!

    I know that MFP is generally anti-detox, but I was thinking of following a mild detox program next week just to reset my system a little and hoepfuly kill the sweet cravings...then maybe I'll be able to get back on track and actually work with my body for what it needs to be healthy. :-)

    There is no resetting yourself though. Do what you will, but what you are doing isn't going to "kill" the cravings. Nothing like that (the changing of how you think, react, and deal with things, especially food since it is a necessity) is suddenly going to change in a few days or even weeks. If you want to get back on track, then get back on track. That's that. Today, log everything you eat and drink and your exercise and bam! back on track.
  • brpaulsn
    brpaulsn Posts: 2
    Ok so I've been Doing IE fir just over a month now and I'm down 9 pounds, 5 inches overall in my waist thighs n hips. My pants keep falling off. I logged here at MFP for 2 years but even that wasn't working. I found this book called Have ur cupcake and ur skinny jeans too. By josie spinardi. Changed my life. Blew my mind. She gives u the cues on how to recognize hunger and cravings, the difference between habitual hunger and real hunger. I had cheesecake for breakfast today. Because I can. And no my metabolism isn't high. I've had 6 kids. I'm 34. I'm a darn food *kitten*. But it doesn't pimp me anymore. I own that. It's so awesome to be liberated. Yes it works.
  • I maintained eating intuitively. However, I think I may have lost some LBM as my BF% is clearly higher now than it was when I was counting.

    I do think intuitive eating can work for MAINTENANCE as long as your lifts are in good shape and you are making a concerted effort to keep your macros in check (for example, forcing yourself to eat protein with every meal).
  • mrsburghart
    mrsburghart Posts: 166 Member
    My success story has nothing to do with weight, although I wish it did, and I'm almost certain it will eventually. I first started seeing my nutritionist about IE because I was binge eating 5-6 days a week and putting on weight like a crazy person. It wasn't necessarily the weight that had me bogged down, but the uncontrollable eating and the guilt...OH the guilt. I'm not 100% true to the principles of intuitive eating, but I found that by following them for the most part (like keeping my binge foods available and telling myself I can have them with no guilt, eating when I'm hungry, stopping when I'm full, etc) that I can now say that it's been 7 weeks since my last binge. To me, that's better than losing 5 lbs! I finally have control over my eating. I might be a bit more emotional since I have to actually feel my feelings now instead of eating them....but I'll take some teary eyes over the binging any day!

    I think IE is great for people with EDs or those that just can't do the dieting anymore. It really does give you a new lease on life, and can save you time, and money. I don't think it's 100% though for people trying to lose weight. I feel like there should be a bit more direction on that...but for the most part I think it is really helpful and helps us get back in tune with our bodies. I used to eat when I wasn't hungry because that's what my "diet" told me to do. Now I eat only when hungry (which is definitely less often)...and it really is much, MUCH less stressful!

    A word of advice, however, if you have thyroid problems that aren't properly regulated....you won't have hunger signals. I found this out the hard way...it was the one reason I "failed" at this in the beginning. I couldn't understand what people were talking about when they would say "vague empty feeling." I only knew I was hungry when my tummy rumbled, and by then it was too late to stop a binge.
  • editorgrrl
    editorgrrl Posts: 7,060 Member
    A word of advice, however, if you have thyroid problems that aren't properly regulated....you won't have hunger signals. I found this out the hard way...it was the one reason I "failed" at this in the beginning. I couldn't understand what people were talking about when they would say "vague empty feeling." I only knew I was hungry when my tummy rumbled, and by then it was too late to stop a binge.
    MFP has a Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism group: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/forums/show/770-hypothyroidism-and-hyperthyroidism
  • tennisdude2004
    tennisdude2004 Posts: 5,609 Member
    Hi I currently eat IE and have lost 25lb doing it.

    I would point out the body isn't that great at giving hunger queues and IE does need a common sense approach and will require manual overrides from time to time.
  • brpaulsn
    brpaulsn Posts: 2
    I would point out the body isn't that great at giving hunger queues and IE does need a common sense approach and will require manual overrides from time to time.

    I have to agree 100%!!! I think IE starts when you're filling your plate. If you know you don't normally eat 3 eggs but you put them on your plate because you can, it's wasteful... and most of us were raised to clean our plates. When plating, plate sensibly. That's my suggestion. It is hard to get in touch with the body, but my binging is way down too. And I love it. I didn't say how much I'm down, I'm down 47.4 as of this morning. And a significant number of inches. from all over.

    I wish every one good luck in their endeavors. And the biggest thing I've learned from IE is you're doing great, GREAT!
  • TheFitnessTutor
    TheFitnessTutor Posts: 356 Member
    "One great big festering Neon distraction...I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied...."