I like the idea of intuitive eating but unlike Tracy, who loves it and blogs about it here, it doesn’t always work so well for me. More evidence, as if it were needed, that we’re all different, and that the YMMV principle is right in matters of diet and nutrition.
I do aim to eat slowly, mindfully, to just comfortably full. But I’m open to guidance about what I eat and that’s good because sometimes my own instincts aren’t what I might hope for. Sometimes I’m also hungry when I know that really I have no need for extra calories, and other times, I can tell I’m running low on fuel but the idea of eating repels me.
So intuitive eating is for me a goal, something to strive for. But I’m not there yet.
I was fascinated then to see this piece of reporting, The New Theory On Weight Loss: Your Bad Diet Has Damaged Your Brain , in my Facebook newsfeed which puts some science behind my experience.
It reports on research by Louis Aronne, M.D., Director of the Comprehensive Weight-Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital /Weill Cornell Medical Center and gives an explanation about why my gut feelings might sometimes lead me astray.
“According to Aronne, scientists are finally finding answers to the mystery that has stumped them for so long: Why do some people seem to find it impossible to lose weight, despite numerous serious attempts to get slim using diets and exercise?
And what they’ve discovered might surprise you: Years of eating – and overeating – the typical American diet actually changes the brain. More specifically, it damages the signaling pathways in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates metabolism…..
Over time, consuming too many calories from fat and simple sugars damages the nerves that conduct signals through the hypothalamus, affecting the function of leptin and ghrelin, and thus the body’s ability to regulate weight and metabolism, says Aronne. ”Because of this damage, the signals don’t get through about how much fat is stored.”
In other words, your brain has gone haywire and you can no longer trust the messages it’s sending you about appetite, hunger, and fullness. “It’s like your gas gauge points to empty all the time, whether or not the tank is full,” says Aronne. “So you keep stopping for gas, and then eventually you start filling up gas cans and storing them in the back of your car because you’re so convinced you could run out of gas at any moment.”
Me, I’m still mulling and still taking the halfway path between following advice, reading nutrition plans, and making new habits and listening to what my body wants. What’s your experience with the idea listening to your body when it comes to food? How does that work for you?
Relevant past posts from here:
- Listen to your body, yes, but with a skeptical ear….
- Science, exercise, and weight loss: when our bodies scheme against us