I’m always intrigued when I hear people say that intuitive eating didn’t work for them. I’m intrigued because I’ve never seen it not work for one of my clients, and I want to know exactly where and how it went sideways for this person. Now that I’ve had enough time to gather some data, I wanted to share with you some typical reasons why intuitive eating doesn’t end up working out for people, and how you can avoid these pitfalls.
- They treat intuitive eating like a diet with a new set of rules.
If you think that intuitive eating is about only eating when you’re hungry and always stopping when you’re full, you’re going to be disappointed. Intuitive eating is much more complex than that. Practicing eating according to hunger and fullness is an opportunity to learn about yourself, not another doomed attempt to make yourself follow someone else’s rules. When you are an intuitive eater, you’ll naturally eat according to your internal signals, but there is a big difference between choosing to do this because it feels good, and choosing to do this because you want to be “good.”
- They want a quick fix.
So you’ve been struggling with food your whole life, and you’re tired of it. Of course you want to end the struggle and make peace with food, but it’s not going to be easy. I feel frustrated when I see other health coaches promise to fix your food struggles in six weeks, because it encourages unrealistic expectations. The length of time it takes you to become an intuitive eater strongly depends on what you’ve been through and where you’re at now.
- They don’t deal with root causes.
There are perfectly good reasons why you don’t eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Every time you reach for food when you are not hungry, you are trying to meet a need. Figuring out what exactly that need is and how you can meet that need is your life’s work. The more you practice, the easier it’ll get, but this process is never ending. You can’t become an intuitive eater without learning to meet your true needs.
It’s natural to have some doubts as you switch over from dieting to intuitive eating. In fact, there is often a crisis moment early in the process, where you feel the temptation to do “one more diet” as all of your deepest fears come bubbling to the surface. That’s ok, and we can work through that. But if you’re still looking for a quick and easy fix to your food issues, or you truly just want someone else to tell you what to do, you are not ready to become an intuitive eater.
If you are completely sick of trying diets that don’t work, intuitive eating is for you. If you’re ready to prioritize your health and well-being over your size and appearance, intuitive eating is for you. If you are ready to transform yourself and your life, and do the work it takes to become your highest self, intuitive eating is for you. Once you have reconnected with your inner wisdom, you will trust your intuition when it comes to food. There is no way for your inner wisdom to “not work.”