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It's pretty common for me to talk to folks who are interested in intuitive eating, but then say they want to lose a little weight first. I want to acknowledge that this is totally understandable: we're in a culture that is OBSESSED with weight, fully conflates weight and health, and treats fat folks like crap. So look, I understand why you might feel like you want both things: to lose weight and to also be able to divest from diet culture. Here's a hard truth for you: you cannot pursue intentional weight loss and also ditch dieting. It's like trying to fuck your ex. It just doesn't work.

There's even professionals out here who will act as though both were simultaneously possible. I recently heard about a coach who had a program to count macros to lose weight, and then transitions people from that program into an intuitive eating program. My brain almost exploded when I heard it, and I'm going to tell you why.

  1. The majority of people who transition from some form of restriction into intuitive eating will gain weight. I know that nobody wants to hear that, and that many intuitive eating coaches/counselors will give you the ole' "might gain, might lose, might stay the same" line. Shit, even the book says that. The reality is that if you were restricting and then you stop restricting, you're probably going to gain.

  2. The idea that you'll lose weight on a diet, stop doing the diet, and then it will just somehow stay off is such a common and profoundly harmful form of magical thinking among both professionals and dieters. To me, this is my fundamental question about weight loss drugs (but let me try to stay focused here). These folks will run around parroting "calories in calories out", but then bury their heads in the sand when you ask what happens after the diet is done and you start eating more calories.

  3. This is a co-opting of the language of intuitive eating in a way that feels predatory. "We'll count macros for a while, get you to your goal weight, and then transition to intuitive eating" sounds lovely in theory, and I get why people would sign up for that program, but that is just antithetical to intuitive eating.

I am deeply sympathetic to people who desire to lose weight and believe that weight loss will bring about the improvements they are seeking in other areas of their lives. At the same time, I hate that there is a culture obsessed with weight loss that convinces us all that the only way to achieve a sense of health and wellbeing is to lose weight.

This might sound harsh, but this is not something you can really have both ways. If you truly want to give intuitive eating a go, you're going to need to let go of expectations about your weight.

Want to learn more about intuitive eating? I have a workshop coming up soon!

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