Recently I’ve heard a few people say they would prefer not to count calories and instead want to try Intuitive Eating.
Intuitive Eating is almost an anti diet movement, believing people should eat when they are hungry and what they feel their body needs. It follows a ten point plan which includes respecting your hunger, not labeling food good or bad and not using food as an emotional crux.
There is actually very little about intuitive eating that I disagree with, it largely encourages people to have a healthy relationship with all foods and not starve themselves.
My issue with Intuitive Eating is this.
Unless you have already mastered tracking calories you will struggle to reach your goal eating intuitively.
I can see the appeal. If you’ve always struggled to stick to a certain number of calories the idea of eating what you ‘feel like’ you need is appealing. Let’s be realistic here though. If you were able to do this you’d probably already be at your goal (here I’m assuming it’s some form of fat loss).
If you’re not at your goal, which here I’m going to assume is fat loss, you are probably currently eating more calories than you burn. If you were not you’d be losing fat and not looking for an alternative way of eating.
So what you need to do is learn how to track, then stay within your calorie goal for a sustained period of time.
Now once you have mastered this and done this for a fair while chances are you will be able to eat intuitively. You’ll start to get an idea of how much you need to eat each day to be at the right energy level for you and be able to track less and still stay on track.
But until you reach this stage eating intuitively is likely to be much the same as eating as you currently do, with a limited idea of how much you are actually eating and no way of educating yourself on how to make the changes you need to make.
Think of it like driving a car. Now when you drive you probably get in the car and just go- everything happens automatically without even thinking. But that wasn’t the case when you first started to learn – you followed rules and checklists.
Think of your job, how you were in the first few weeks or even years of doing it compared to now. As you become more skilled in something you can react more instinctively, but to begin with you need to learn that trade.
So if you want to eat intuitively and reach a specific goal, you really need to qualify to do that by first learning how to track and understand calories.