article by Christine Zimmerman
The pursuit of weight loss has created a billion-dollar industry, but it’s an industry that data trends suggest hasn’t really contributed to creating a leaner or even healthier America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the prevalence of obesity from 2017-2018 through 1999-2000 increased from 30.5% to 42.4% and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. Traditional diet programs, while sometimes successful in the short term, have largely failed when it comes to long-term weight loss maintenance. Evidence suggests that emphasizing weight and weight loss is associated with worse health outcomes and that programs within this paradigm don’t result in long-term weight loss for most individuals. In fact, weight cycling (repeated periods of weight loss and gain) is nearly guaranteed to occur with weight loss interventions and is associated with adverse medical, metabolic, and psychological health outcomes.
Instead of focusing solely on weight loss, consider taking a new health-centered but non-diet approach to behavior and lifestyle change. Intuitive eating (IE) offers a weight-inclusive alternative to help people create better relationships with food and their body. Intuitive eating is a dynamic mind-body integration of instinct, emotion, and rational thought. It is a personal process of honoring your health by paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs. Many studies have found that this non-diet approach to eating and behavior change improved psychological well-being, body image, and also improvements in metabolic health including blood pressure, lipid levels, and cardiorespiratory fitness.
There are 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, which work in two distinct ways. Some of them help you gain body attunement- the ability to hear and respond to the physical sensations that arise within your body, such as biological cues of hunger and fullness and other principles work by removing the obstacles of body attunement.
A healthy eater is one who not only strives for a healthy balance of foods but also has a healthy relationship with food. Becoming an intuitive eater is a life-long journey involving paying attention, patience, and practice.
Christine Zimmerman is the Thomas Endurance Coaching (TEC) team Dietitian/Nutritionist as well as an Intuitive Eating Counselor. She works to encourage athletes and non-athletes alike on their journey of wellness, developing a peaceful and satisfying relationship with food, their bodies, and movement. To schedule your Nutrition Consultation click HERE.
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