Elyse's answers to interview questions for Women's Health and Fitness Magazine in Australia

  • December 22, 2012 - 11:36am
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights

    by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    What if peace on earth could begin at the dinner table? Imagine experiencing an inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It's hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how to eat.

    Consider your Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights, as we enter the holiday season, to help you foster inner peace with food, mind and body.

    1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

    2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.

    3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying "no thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food.

    4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.

    5. You have the right to say, "No thank you," without explanation, when offered more food.

    6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of "no", even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat "No, thank you, really."

    7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

    Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family. (Note this was originally posted in 2010).

    Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • March 27, 2012 - 1:19pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

         By Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    Unbelievable. Disturbing. The April issue of Vogue magazine prominently features a cover story about a mother who puts her 7-year old child on a weight loss diet, triggered by the pediatrician classifying her as obese.
         

    The mother acknowledges her own disordered eating issues, with 30 years of dieting, with self-described “dabbling with the occasional laxative or emetic”. She even admits, “I like that the word [obesity], carries a scary diagnostic tone.” And to fight this scary battle, the mother rigidly policed every morsel of food that enters her daughter’s mouth. For example:

    • When discovering that her daughter ate a high calorie lunch at school, the mother “reproachfully denies her dinner”.
    •  In the case of social settings, “I often derided her for not refusing an inappropriate snack”
    • “I dressed down the Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance…” (of the caloric content of a kids hot chocolate).

          Let me be clear, my criticism is aimed at Vogue magazine’s irresponsibility of publishing such an article. (This is also why I am not using the names of the mother and daughter provided in the story). Not a single expert or health authority was quoted as cautionary source, even though the mother expresses her doubt, worrying at one point, that she might be stunting her daughter’s growth or metabolism. The research is quite clear on this matter:

    • A large 3-year study on nearly 2,000 adolescents found that dieting is the most important predictor of new eating disorders (Patton et al 1999).
    • Eating disorders are deadly.

          Furthermore, dieting appears to be causally linked to both obesity and eating disorders (Haines & Neumark-Sztainer 2006). Dieting is associated with increased food preoccupation, binge eating, and eating in the absence of hunger. A recent study on 2,000 sets of twins ages 16-25, found that dieting itself, independent of genetics, is significantly associated with accelerated weight gain. Furthermore, the risk of becoming overweight increased with each dieting episode (Pietilaineet al, 2011). Similar results were found in a study on nearly 17,000 kids school-age kids, which found that dieting, itself, was a significant predictor of weight gain (Field et al 2003). The risk of binge eating increased 7-12-fold in these young dieters.


          It’s beyond ironic that a fashion magazine would publish a child’s weight loss story in the name of health, when in actuality, they describe how to increase the risk of getting an eating disorder—for which there is no doubt a direct cause of death. Vogue’s ‘war on obesity’ as described by a mother-in-the-trenches, has created a dieting causality for a child, whose photo and story is on public display. The concluding paragraph, the mother reports, “When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she says yes.”


          With the ancient practice of Chinese foot binding, women really believed that if they didn't raise daughters with tiny feet, they wouldn't marry into the right family and they would have less status. Many of those girls were in extreme pain from the binding process, and 10% of them died. Today, we have modern day version—pursuit of weight loss, no matter the age, no matter the futility, no matter the danger.

    Outraged? Want to take action?  Let Vogue magazine know how you feel about this article:

    • Post on their Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/VogueU
    • Email Vogue: http://www.vogue.com/contact/
    • Write a letter to their editor, Anna Wintour: VOGUE Magazine 4 Times Square, New York, NY 10036


     

    Field, A,E. et al (2003). Relation Between Dieting and Weight Change Among Preadolescents and Adolescents. Pediatrics,112:900-906. [Free Full Text http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/4/900.long ]

    Haines, J. & Neumark-Sztainer D (2006). Prevention of obesity and eating disorders: a consideration of shared risk factors. Health Education Research, 21(6):770–782. [Free Full Text http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/6/770.long ]

    Miles, N. UCLA Asia Insitute. http://www.international.ucla.edu/shenzhen/2002ncta/miles/index.htm

    Neumark-Sztainer, D. et al (2006). Obesity, disordered eating, and eating disorders in a longitudinal study of adolescents: how do dieters fare five years later? J Am Diet Assoc,106(4):559-568.

    Patton, G. C., et al. (1999). Onset of adolescent eating disorders: population based cohort study over 3 years. British Medical Journal, 318:765-768. [Free Full Text http://www.bmj.com/content/318/7186/765?view=long&pmid=10082698 ].

    Pietiläinen, K.H. et al. (2011). Does dieting make you fat? A twin study. International Journal of Obesity, | doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.160

    Miles, N. UCLA Asia Insitute. http://www.international.ucla.edu/shenzhen/2002ncta/miles/index.htm

    Copyright © 2012 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, link to it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • February 11, 2012 - 6:14pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    We are happy to announce that our online community has officially been launched.   Our vision for the Intuitive Eating Community is to provide a safe and nurturing place--free from "diet talk", "fat talk", and body bashing. This is a place to get inspiration & support for your Intuitive Eating journey.

    It's free to join, but you will need to sign-up.  Elyse and I are dedicated to maintaining a free membership. We are in the early phase and are very open to feedback, so please leave a comment about features that you would like to see in our community.  Here's the link to join: http://intuitiveeatingcommunity.org/?xgi=0gz4KxMCis5pdX

  • January 21, 2012 - 6:23pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    By Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

         The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) asked if I would contribute an article on the dangers of dieting (specifically, how dieting increases weight gain)  as part of their outreach for National Eating Disorders Awareness week, which begins February 26, 2012.  Of course, I said yes, and here it is.

         While many people seem to know that dieting doesn’t work in the long run--most are shocked to hear that the process of dieting itself, (independent of genetics), increases your body’s propensity to gain weight.  Scientists call this “dieting-induced weight-gain” and it may be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.

         Dieting is biologically akin to compound interest—but in a negative context.  If you put your money in a compound-interest savings account, you will accelerate your earnings, resulting in more money accumulated, compared to an ordinary savings account.  In a similar way, dieting amplifies the amount of weight gained, compared to a nondieting person with similar genes and body.  Far-fetched analogy?  Not according to a new study on twins.

         The weight-amplifying effect of dieting was evaluated in a novel study on over 2,000 sets of twins from Finland, aged 16 to 25 years old (Pietilaineet al, 2011).  Dieting twins, who embarked on just one intentional weight loss episode, were nearly two to three times more likely to become overweight, compared to their non-dieting twin counterpart.  Furthermore, the risk of becoming overweight increased in a dose-dependent manner, with each dieting episode. 

         The results indicate that dieting itself, independent of genetics, is significantly associated with accelerated weight gain and increased the risk of becoming overweight.  The researchers concluded, “It is now well established that the more people engage in dieting, the more they gain weight in the long-term.” This study adds to a body of research dating back to World War II, which shows that dieting and the ensuing cycling of losing weight, re-gaining weight, and gaining more weight with each subsequent diet, ratchets the baseline weight up even higher, beyond the original weight

    Here are other compelling studies, which indicate that dieting promotes weight gain regardless of age, gender, or athleticism.

    • Research on nearly 17,000 kids ages 9-14 years old found that dieting was a significant predictor of weight gain (Field et al 2003).  Moreover, the risk of binge eating increased with the frequency of dieting. Boys and girls who dieted frequently, were 5 to 12 times, respectively more likely to report binge eating compared to their nondieting counterparts. The researchers concluded, "...in the long term, dieting to control weight is not only ineffective, it may actually promote weight gain".
    • Teenage dieters had twice the risk of becoming overweight, compared to non-dieting teens, according to a five-year study (Neumark-Sztainer et al 2006).  Notably, at baseline, the dieters did not weigh more than their non-dieting peers. This is an important detail, because if the dieters weighed more—it would be a confounding factor, (which would implicate other factors, rather than dieting, such as genetics).
    • A team of UCLA researchers reviewed 31 long term studies on the effectiveness of dieting and concluded that dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain—up to two-thirds of the people regained more weight than they lost (Mann 2007).

           If you think that exercise will protect your body from the weight-promoting effects of dieting, research tells another story.  A study on over 1,800 people, evaluated the impact of repeated losing and gaining weight, (known as weight cycling), on world-class male athletes involved in weight-based sports, such as boxing, weight lifting and wrestling. Weight cycling predicted subsequent weight gain and the risk of obesity in the athletes with a weight cycling history (Saarni et al 2006.)

         Dieting also is associated with increased food preoccupation, binge eating, and eating in the absence of hunger.  Furthermore, dieting appears to be causally linked to both obesity and eating disorders (Haines & Neumark-Sztainer 2006). A large 3-year study on nearly 2,000 adolescents found that dieting is the most important predictor of new eating disorders (Patton et al 1999).

         Studies aside--what has your own dieting experiences shown you?  Many people say their first diet was easy- -the pounds just melted off.  But that first dieting experience is the seduction trap, which launches the futile pursuit of weight loss via dieting. But your body is very smart and wired for survival.

         Biologically, your body experiences the dieting process as a form of starvation.  Your cells don’t know you are voluntarily restricting your food intake.  Your body shifts into primal survival mode—metabolism slows down and food cravings escalate.  And with each diet, the body learns and adapts, resulting in rebound weight gain.  Consequently, many people feel like they are a failure—but it is dieting that has failed them, and contributed to the weight gain process.  Dieting disconnects you from your innate hunger and satiety cues, and it becomes easier to eat in the absence of hunger and develop a mistrust of your biological eating cues.

           So what’s a chronic dieter to do? The answer lies in attunement with your mind and body, an inner-oriented process, rather than an external approach (such as counting calories or points). This process is called Intuitive Eating, which consists of 10 principles, but can be summarized into these three characteristics  by the research of Trach Tylka (2006):

    1. Unconditional permission to eat when hungry and what food is desired
    2. Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons
    3. Reliance on internal hunger and satiety cues to determine when and how much to eat .

         To date there are over 25 studies on Intuitive Eating, which combined, show that Intuitive Eaters have lower body mass index levels, (without internalizing the unrealistically thin ideal), lower disordered eating and eating disorders, eat a variety of foods, enjoy eating, better cholesterol levels, and a psychological hardiness, which includes welling-being and resilience (Tribole & Resch, 2012). 

          No diet or meal plan could possibly “know” your hunger and fullness levels, or what satisfies you.  Only you know your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  Only you, can be the expert of you.  But dieting interferes with attunement and Intuitive Eating, which is one of the reasons why the first principle is “Reject the Diet Mentality”.

         Dieting has harmful consequences, beyond lacking long-term effectiveness.  Dieting is not an innocuous right of passage, whether it’s for teenager angst, a wedding dress, a New Year’s resolution, or athletic performance. 

         Consider this article a public health service announcement and tell everyone you know:  Dieting increases your chances of gaining even more weight in the future, not to mention increase your risk of eating disorders, and body dissatisfaction. The dieting industry won’t like this message. A recent Wall Street Journal article described how a major weight loss company is targeting men to increase their market share, which comprises about 90% women.  (This company had $1.45 billion in revenue in 2011.) We don’t need another dieting casualty, male or female.

    References

    Mann, T. et al.  (2007).Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American Psychologist, 62(3): 220-233.

     Field, A,E. et al (2003). Relation Between Dieting and Weight Change Among Preadolescents and Adolescents. Pediatrics,112:900-906. [Free Full Text http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/4/900.long ]

    Haines, J. & Neumark-Sztainer  D (2006). Prevention of obesity and eating disorders: a consideration of shared risk factors. Health Education Research, 21(6):770–782. [Free Full Text http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/6/770.long ]

     Kwoh, L. (January 9, 2012).Weight Watchers Chief Looks to Men, China for Growth. Wall Street Journal. http://on.wsj.com/xnZqfD

    Neumark-Sztainer, D. et al (2006). Obesity, disordered eating, and eating disorders in a longitudinal study of adolescents: how do dieters fare five years later? J Am Diet Assoc,106(4):559-568.

    Patton, G. C., et al. (1999). Onset of adolescent eating disorders: population based cohort study over 3 years. British Medical Journal, 318:765-768. [Free Full Text http://www.bmj.com/content/318/7186/765?view=long&pmid=10082698 ].

    Pietiläinen, K.H. et al. (2011). Does dieting make you fat? A twin study. International Journal of Obesity, | doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.160

    Saarni, S. E. et al (2006). Weight cycling of athletes and subsequent weight gain in middleage. International J Obesity, 30: 1639–1644. [Free full text at http://bit.ly/yvfnhE]

    Tribole E. & Resch E. (2012-in press). Intuitive Eating (3rd edition). St.Martin’s  Press: NY,NY.

      Tylka, T. L. (2006). Development and psychometric evaluation of a measure of intuitive eating. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53,  226-240.

    Copyright © 2012 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, link to it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • January 14, 2012 - 8:48pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    This is quick update to let you know that there are exciting things underway for Intuitive Eating in 2012.

    Intuitive Eating-New Edition. Elyse and I just finished our final tweaks on the manuscript for a newly updated Intuitive Eating (the 3rd edition), which will be released in July 2012.  We are especially excited about this update because in addition to updating our entire book, we added two new chapters:

    • The Science of Intuitive Eating.  There are over 25 studies to date on our work, which validates the benefits and characteristics of Intuitive Eating for health and wellbeing.
    • How to Raise an Intuitive Eater.  This is a much-needed chapter about how to apply the Principle of Intuitive Eating for your family.  We often get queries about teaching children how to become (or continue to be) Intuitive Eaters.

    Online Community. We will launch a free online community at the end of this month to help support your journey in creating a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body.  We hope that the Intuitive Eating Community will be a source of inspiration & support with tools and discussion forums.

    Speaking at Conferences. Elyse will be speaking at the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) conference on Intuitive Eating: The Path Toward Healing. And Evelyn will be speaking at the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) on Food Addiction, Nutritionism, & Intuitive Eating in the Prevention & Treatment of BED: From Science to Application.  You can find more information on our Events Calendar.

    Intuitive Eating Webinar for Health Professionals. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (PCNA) is hosting a webinar on Intuitive Eating: Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food, Mind & Body Understanding the Research. See our Events Calendar for more information.

    Eating Well Magazine Hosts an Intuitive Eating Chat. In March 2012, Eating Well magazine will host a Facebook chat with Evelyn on Intuitive Eating, in conjunction with their March issue, which will feature an article on Intuitive Eating. I will post this information on our Events calendar as soon as it is available.

    Intuitive Eating Professionals on LinkedIn. The group continues to grow--currently there are over 1,600 allied health professionals from around the world. The purpose of the group is to unite health professionals who help people create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body—through Intuitive Eating practices.  Ultimately this is a place to resources, network and collaborate.  Allied health professionals welcome, including but not limited to: dietitians, psychologists, therapists, physicians, exercise physiologists, and psychiatrists.  More information here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=1806863.

    Intuitive Eating is off to a great year and we will keep you updated on the launch of both the Intuitive Eating Community and our new edition.

  • April 19, 2011 - 10:42pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    There has been a lot of media attention on food addiction research.  Scientists are curious about this possibility because the brain region (and neurochemicals) involved with substance abuse, are also implicated in overeating.   But there are a lot of reasons, other than addiction, that can explain the rewarding aspect of eating.

    Survival of the Species - This brain-reward system is believed to be necessary in order to ensure human survival. This involves the brain chemical, dopamine, which triggers both a pleasurable feeling and motivation behavior. Engaging in activities necessary to survival (such as eating and pro-creating) triggers a rewarding-feel-good experience.

    Hunger Enhances Reward Value-Hunger by itself, enhances the reward value of food, in which more dopamine is triggered.  For example, you might find yourself suddenly interested and motivated to cook a meal, if you discover you are hungry.   Dieting (which can be a form of chronic hunger) also has this effect.

    Pavlovian Conditioning- The dopamine effect could be attributed to Pavlovian conditioning (recall the classic study, in which Pavlov’s dogs salivated at the mere ringing of a bell.  This anticipatory salivation occurred because the dogs were conditioned to receiving a treat after a bell rang, each time). This is not addiction.

    Dopamine Deprivation? Many pleasurable activities trigger dopamine, including socializing, hiking, and playing games. The great majority of people I see in my practice who binge-eat, are often leading very unbalanced lives, which "deprives" them of the dopamine benefits. When needs are not being met, food becomes even more enticing, more rewarding.

    Music Lights up Dopamine Brain Centers. Recently,a new study showed that when people listen to music, it lights up the same region of the brain (nuclear accumbens), which has been implicated in the euphoric component of psychostimulants, such as cocaine [Salimpoor 2011]. Just the anticipation of hearing the music lit up the dopamine brain centers. (Yet, I really don't think you can make the case for "music addiction")

    Food Addiction Studies Limited & Flawed-The research on "food addiction" is way too early to be drawing any conclusions. The great majority of studies have been on animals. The limited research on humans has only been brain-imaging studies with a very small amount of people and not much exclusion criteria [Benson 2010].

    Yale Food Addiction Questionnaire- has generated a lot of headline news.  Yet, upon a closer look, the questionnaire seems to actually be measuring compulsive eating or rebound eating from chronic dieting [Gearhardt 2009].  Here is a sampling of the questions:

    • I find myself consuming certain foods even though I am no longer hungry.  (Classic compulsive eating or distracted eating can cause this).
    • I worry about cutting down on certain foods. (Chronic dieting and overeating can cause this)
    • I have spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating certain foods, instead of spending time in important activities such as time with family, friends, work, or recreation. (Chronic dieting and compulsive eating can cause this)

    To read more questions and details on scoring the questionnaire see [ http://abcn.ws/dN8FcI and Gearhardt 2009]

    Studies Show Eating “Forbidden Food” Decreases Binge Eating--Finally, there are three studies to date, in which binge eaters, eat their "forbidden foods" as part of the treatment process. [Kristeller 2011, Smitham 2008] Binge eating decreased significantly in all of these studies.  If food addiction was a causative issue, you would not expect these types of results. Food addiction theory would predict increased binge eating, triggered by eating “addicting food”. Yet, the opposite happened. 

    So rather than fear-mongering about food addiction, how about putting your energy into satisfying eating experiences, without distraction or duress; and working on creating a balanced lifestyle, while getting most of your needs met (which includes getting enough sleep).

    Selected Citations and Resources

    Benton D. The plausibility of sugar addiction and its role in obesity and eating disorders. Clinical Nutrition 29 (2010) 288–303.

    Berridge KC & Kringelbach ML. Affective neuroscience of pleasure: reward in humans and animals. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 August ; 199(3): 457–480.

    Gearhardt An et al. Preliminary validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Appetite 2009 (52):430-436.

    Herrin M &  Matsumoto N. The Truth About So Called Sugar Addiction.  Eating Disorder News. March 2011.

    Kristeller JL, & Wolever RQ (2011). Mindfulness-based eating awareness training for treating binge eating disorder: the conceptual foundation. Jan 2011; Eating disorders, 19 (1), 49-61.

    Salimpoor VN. Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nature NEUROSCIENCE. Feb 2011;14 (2):257-262.

    Smitham.L.Evaluating an Intuitive Eating Program for Binge Eating Disorder: A Benchmarking Study. University of Notre Dame, 26 November 2008.


    Copyright © 2011 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, link to it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • February 12, 2011 - 2:42pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    There seems to be a common perception that mindless eating is a condition in which you have no idea that you just ate, akin to “eating amnesia”. Many of my clients eat while distracted—but don’t consider themselves mindless eaters, because they are aware that they are eating while engaging in another activity, such as watching television.

    Similarly, most car drivers would not readily identify themselves as “mindless drivers”, because they are aware they are driving, and usually get to their destination without getting lost. However, if you describe someone as a distracted driver, it conjures up a clearer image—such as driving while talking on the cell phone or while applying make-up.

    The problem, I believe, is a terminology issue. Unless you are trained in mindfulness, the description of “distracted”, rather than “mindless” seems to resonate with more people. A new study published this month makes a good case about the effect of distraction on eating.


    Distracted Eating Study
    Scientists divided people into one of two groups. The Distracted group ate lunch while playing a computer game of solitaire. The Non-distracted group ate the same type of lunch, but without the distraction conditions.

    The study’s findings showed that distraction made a significant impact on the eating experience, both qualitative and quantitative. When compared to the Non-distracted group, the distracted people:
    • Ate faster
    • Couldn't remember what they
    • Ate more snacks
    • Reported feeling significantly less full

    The research also showed that that distraction during a meal influenced meal size later in the day.

    Satisfaction & Satiety Effected by Distraction

    We are living in such a multitasking-high-urgency era, that even when not pressed for time, it seems that many people are in the routine of eating while distracted. The distracted conditions in the study are similar to how my clients eat, such as eating while: checking email, texting, Facebooking, tweeting—you get the idea.

    When I suggest eating a meal without distraction to my clients, they practically go into withdrawals. And therein lies the paradox. To achieve a satisfying eating experience (principle six of Intuitive Eating) requires being mentally present while eating. When I get a lot or resistance to this notion, (which is usually the case), I ask my clients to contemplate these questions:

    • What would it be like to eat without doing any other activity or distraction?
    • What do you need in order to eat without distraction?
    • What do you fear about eating in this manner?

    I hear responses such as, “I don’t know what I’d do…” or “I need to have my kitchen and eating area de-cluttered and cleaned before I can do this” or “I’ll be bored” or “I’ll feel guilty if I’m not doing something while I eat”….

    The irony of eating while distracted is that you end up missing out on the eating experience, which often means, eating needs to be repeated. It’s akin to having a phone conversation with a friend while you are checking email. You might respond to the conversation at the right times, but something is missing, there is a disconnect—and usually the person on the other line can tell you are not 100% there. In the case of distracted eating—it is your body that knows.

    Links

    Oldham-Cooper RE et al. Playing a computer game during lunch affects fullness, memory for lunch, and later snack intake. Am J Clin Nutr 2011 93: February 308-313.

    Are You a Distracted Eater? written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    Copyright © 2011 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, link to it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

     


     

  • January 8, 2011 - 2:40pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    My patients often express difficulty being around enthusiastic friends, who incessantly talk about their new weight loss diet.  The friends are usually well meaning, with no intent to harm.  Yet, this diet talk stirs up a bunch of mixed feelings, such as:

    •    Envy of the quick weight loss
    •    Fantasies of embarking on just one more diet—(get the weight off, and then deal with “the issues”)
    •    Triggering for patients with eating disorders
    •    Worry about the dieting consequence for the friend

    And so I tell this story. When I first got started in my career, I naively got baited into cocktail party conversations, where someone would ask me: What do you think of ____ (fill in the blank with the latest diet craze).   I would give careful thought and describe the latest research, only to discover that the person asking the question really didn’t want to hear what I had to say!

    I started to see a pattern.  The person usually asked the question as a means to convince me that they just discovered the greatest diet ever.  I started to realize that their passion and blind enthusiasm, was really a belief system.  And anything I might offer, would offend their “religion”.

    So, then I ask my patient--if you are at a party, and have a friend who is of a different religion or faith, do you try to convert them? (No, of course not, is the usual reply).   How do you tolerate this difference in belief systems with your friends?  Therein lies the solution.

    Often, just the change in perspective helps—viewing dieting as a religion for some people.  But every situation is different.  You might need to set boundaries around “diet talk”.  Or you might decide you doesn’t want to spend energy on any discussion—and might choose to exit the conversation.

    You might also find it helpful to just watch and observe your dieting friends, without judgment.  How does their dieting saga really unfold—six-months from now, one-year from now?  

    And most importantly—what has your own dieting experience shown you—after the euphoric honeymoon stage?  The answer to that question will likely keep you grounded.

    "The Religion of Dieting—How to Tolerate Friends & Evangelists of the Latest, Greatest Diet"--written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

    Copyright © 2011 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, link to it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional

    xx
  • January 2, 2011 - 4:26pm
    Written by: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, Co-Author Intuitive Eating

    If dieting programs had to stand up to the same scrutiny as medications, they would never be allowed for public consumption.  Imagine, for example, taking an asthma medication, which improves your breathing for a few weeks, but in the long run, causes your lungs and breathing to worsen.  Or, imagine taking a medication to unclog your arteries, but ultimately, caused increased blockage.

    Would you really embark on a diet, (even a so-called “sensible diet”), if you knew that it could cause you to gain more weight?   Here are some sobering studies indicating dieting promotes weight gain:

    • A team of UCLA researchers reviewed 31 long term studies on dieting and concluded that dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain—up to two-thirds of the people regained more weight than they lost [1].
    • Research on nearly 17,000 kids ages 9-14 years old concluded, "...in the long term, dieting to control weight is not only ineffective, it may actually promote weight gain" [2].
    • Teenage dieters had twice the risk of becoming overweight, compared to non-dieting teens, according to a five-year study [3]. Notably, at baseline, the dieters did not weigh more than their non-dieting peers. This is an important detail, because if the dieters weighed more—it would be a confounding factor, (which would implicate other factors, rather than dieting, such as genetics).

    Studies aside--what has your own dieting experiences shown you?  Many of my patients and workshop participants say their first diet was easy- -the pounds just melted off.  But that first dieting experience is the seduction trap, which launches the futile pursuit of weight loss via dieting.  I say futile—because our bodies are very smart and wired for survival.

    Biologically, you body experiences the dieting process as a form of starvation.  Your cells don’t know you are voluntarily restricting your food intake.  Your body shifts into primal survival mode—metabolism slows down and food cravings escalate.  And with each diet, the body learns and adapts, resulting in rebound weight gain.  Consequently, many of my patients feel like they are a failure—but it is dieting that has failed them.  Not only do diets not work, they increase your risk of weight gain.

    It’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiastic hoopla of the New-Year-Dieting-Season-- with celebrity testimonials and promises anew.  Instead, how about embarking on an inner journey--in pursuit of becoming the expert of your own body. It takes listening and inner attunement.

    Isn’t time to get to know you—your wants and needs, what you like to eat--what tastes good and satisfies? But it’s hard to listen to your body when you are following the external directives of a diet program, which is why the first principle of Intuitive Eating, is Reject the Dieting Mentality.


    [1] Mann, T. Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. Am. Psychologist, 2007; 62(3): 220-233.
    [2] Field AE et al. Relation Between Dieting and Weight Change Among Preadolescents and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 2003 112:900-906.
    [3] Neumark-Sztainer D. et al. Obesity, disordered eating,and eating disorders in a longitudinal study of adolescents: how do dieters fare five years later?J Am Diet Assoc. 2006;106(4):559-568.

    Warning: Dieting Increases Your Risk of Gaining MORE Weight written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD.

    Copyright © 2011 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org

    •Rights to Reproduce: You may reproduce this post, as long as you leave it unchanged, you don’t charge for it, and you include the entire copyright statement. Please let us know you have used it by sending a website link or an electronic copy to Etribole at gmail dot com.

    DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

  • December 24, 2010 - 6:39pm
    Written by: Elyse Resch, Co-Author Intuitive Eating, Nutrition Therapist

    by  Elyse Resch, Nutrition Therapist

    I hope that you're finding that preparing and rehearsing your holiday plans is helping to reduce your stress and anxiety about the holidays.  Some of my clients find that they can avoid eating problems during these holiday events and have a happier holiday season.  Here are some of the strategies that might be helpful:

    1) Making sure to eat regularly throughout the day.  If you skip meals, it's so easy to fall into primal hunger and end up eating way beyond your fullness signals at the evening meal.

    2) Taking a plate at appetizer time and placing an array of interesting appetizers on the plate.  Treat this as your snack, and focus on being mindful, while eating what's on the plate.  Mindlessly taking one appetizer after another is not very satisfying and will probably diminish your enjoyment of the dinner.

    3) Have a back-up plan for the stressful feelings that might come up around family or friends.  You could ask a friend if it would be OK to call, if you're having a hard time.  Or try taking a time-out and walk outside for a while, so you can get some space for yourself.  If you have a smart phone, this would be a good time to write a note to someone safe.

    4) Always keep in mind that you can eat whatever pleases you any time you like.  This will help you remember that you don't need to "get it all in at the party or dinner", because you won't be able to have it freely in the future.   Making peace with food is essential, especially around holiday time.

    5) Evaluate how much holiday activity you can manage, and choose to attend the amount of events that you can handle, without getting overwhelmed.  Remember, it's OK to say "no" to some things.  You don't have to please everyone.

    6) Pay attention to how alcohol affects your hunger and fullness signals.  Drinking too much for your tolerance can end up becoming a problem for your eating experience.

    7) Don't forget that you can say "no" to the second serving of food, if you get full.  Again you don't have to please everyone! 

    Hope this helps!  Enjoy

 


 
What is intuitive eating?
 
Intuitive eating is a philosophy of eating which is based on the belief that the vast majority of people are born with all of the intuitive wisdom they need to have to know how to eat.  That includes knowing when they're hungry and full, knowing what taste preferences they have, and knowing how their bodies feel after making their food choices.  Unfortunately, many people, for various reasons, become distracted from this wisdom.   These people need to challenge their diet thinking and distorted cognitions and myths in order to find their way back to their inborn wisdom.
 

What are its origins and how big is it as a worldwide movement?
 
The origins of Intuitive Eating come from a movement toward a non-diet philosophy which emerged sometime during the late 1980's.  It became evident that dieting for the purpose of weight loss could only lead to failure, more weight gain, and lowered self esteem.   The two authors of Intuitive Eating, both Registered Dietitians were the first dietitians to take this broad philosophy and lay down ten principles, named the principles of Intuitive Eating, which addressed how people could move away from diet thinking and move back toward their intuitive wisdom about eating.  The original edition of Intuitive Eating was released in 1995, with a second edition in 2003, an audio book with guided practices for all of the Intuitive Eating principles in 2009, and now the 3rd edition in 2012.  The term, "intuitive Eating" was coined by the authors.
 

Why is it a better option than three meals a day and other more structured eating philosophies?
 
A structured meal plan or diet comes from "the outside in" rather than "the inside out".  In other words, structured plans tell people what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.   This is completely counter to and invasive of the very private place within each human that houses the information responding to the what, when, and how much to eat.   Diets engender deprivation, with its accompanying deprivation backlash and rebellion against being told what to do, which triggers an individual's need to assert autonomy by going against the diet.   Dieting has been proven to be a consistent predictor of weight gain.
 

What are the benefits of intuitive eating? Eg lose weight, better relationship with food etc
 
Intuitive Eating has scientifically been proven to be associated with both physical and emotional benefits including:
 
•lower body mass index (BMI)
•lower triglycerides
•higher HDLs, (the "good" cholesterol)
•higher self esteem, well being, optimism, body appreciation and acceptance, proactive coping skills, psychological hardiness, unconditional self-regard, pleasure from eating, and variety of foods eaten
•lower internalized thin ideal, eating disorders, emotional eating, and self silencing
 
 
Who would you recommend it for?
 
Intuitive Eating is recommended for people of all ages and genders.

Do you find that lots of women try it only to eat too much - is it too testing for most women's self control?
 
I think that this question needs to be looked at in a different way.  First of all, Intuitive Eating is not about will power or self control.   Instead, it's about trusting the body to give accurate information about the what, when, and how much to eat.  This trust can only come from going through a process of making peace with all foods, so no food is forbidden.  Forbidding or restricting certain foods creates a sense of deprivation and a subsequent period of overeating as a backlash to the deprivation.   In the beginning of finding their way back to their internal wisdom about food, many people go through a period of eating more of the foods that have previously been forbidden, and eating them more often than they will as time goes on.  When they finally truly belief that they have unconditional permission to eat any food, without judgment, and without fear of future deprivation, more balance in eating organically evolves.   The people who tend to eat "too much" for "too long" are holding onto some inner belief that "if this doesn't work, I can go on to some new diet".   Even the mere perception of future deprivation will lead people to feel out control and eat in an out of control manner.
 

Are there instances where you wouldn't recommend intuitive eating to someone?
 
There are some children and adults who have inborn errors of metabolism or genetic abnormalities, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, or who are severely developmentally delayed or are on the autistic syndrome who would have a great difficulty turning in to the information that their bodies give about eating.
But other than in these rare cases, Intuitive Eating can be used in its entirely or slightly modified for many different conditions.  Even people who are healing from Anorexia Nervosa, can begin to utilize some of the principles of Intuitive Eating regardless of being weight compromised.  People who are suffering from medical conditions can also utilize Intuitive Eating principles as long as they understand that the tongue is not the only part of the body that can give information about what and how to eat.   Information can be derived from how the stomach or head feels after eating certain foods, or how the whole body feels when deviating from using rational thinking to expand upon the body's instinctual knowledge. 
 
 
What are your top practical tips for making the most of intuitive eating?
 
The most practical tip I can give is to make the seeking of satisfaction be the primary goal in eating.   When that is the focus, people will find that they will have greater satisfaction if they eat when they're moderately hungry, rather than being in primal hunger, and if they stop when moderately full, as food loses its satisfaction factor after fullness has been achieved. If they're eating in a favorable environment, which includes a lack of emotional tension and which provides foods that please the palate, while eating slowly and savoring the food, they will have more satisfaction in eating.   They will also achieve greater satisfaction if they have made peace with all foods, have challenged the negative internal and external voices about eating, have learned to nurture themselves, and have found ways to cope with their feelings, rather than going to food as a coping mechanism.
 

What are some of the recent research findings in this area?
 
All of the items mentioned under the question about benefits of Intuitive Eating have come from recent research studies.   There is an entire chapter in the latest edition/3rd edition of Intuitive Eating that came out in August of 2012.

Any other comments?
 
Yes,  Intuitive Eating has been known to change people's lives.  The more they begin to trust their inner wisdom about eating, the clearer they are to evaluate other areas of their lives, through trusting their inner voice.  They find peace in the realm of eating and body image, and they are freed to pursue areas that have been left behind while they're been focused on dieting and losing weight.   
 
And, lastly, it's most important to take weight loss out of the picture.  It must be put on the back burner.  If someone's current weight is a result of a dieting history, without honoring hunger and fullness signals and perhaps of using food emotionally as a coping mechanism to get through life, and or the person has not allowed her/himself the freedom and joy of natural movement, then his/her weight is likely to normalize throughout this process.   But any focus on weight loss can only sabotage one's ability to tune into intuitive signals.
 
 
Thanks for this opportunity to spread the Intuitive Eating word to our neighbors in Australia!
Elyse