Does Intuitive Eating Work for Weight Loss?

If you’ve heard of Intuitive Eating, you may be familiar with the framework’s philosophy about weight loss. If this is brand new to you, check out the Intuitive Eating book for a solid introduction. 

Almost 50% of Americans tried to lose weight between 2013-2016, according to data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

But research shows that at least 80-95% of intentional weight loss efforts result in regaining the amount of weight that was lost (or more) within 5 years.

Those that do manage to keep weight off long-term likely engage in disordered behaviors such as religiously counting calories, overexercising, and/or obsessing over body image. And that, my friends, is the opposite of “health”. 

does intuitive eating work for weight loss tips from a registered dietitian

In today’s article, I will be discussing my take on Intuitive Eating and weight loss as an Intuitive Eating dietitian. I will also be providing you with my best tips for success that don’t involve looking at the scale.

So let’s get started!

Curious if you are engaging in disordered eating behaviors? Check out my article on disordered eating and how to know!

Intuitive Eating and Weight Loss

If you want to pursue weight loss, that is your prerogative.

You have full body autonomy (the right to do what you want with your own body). Even as a registered dietitian, I am not here to tell you what to do with it. However, I am here to provide a different perspective. One that you may or may not have heard of before. One that you may or may not agree with.

But hear me out – it just might change your life (or at minimum the way you approach your health).

If you are here, you most likely want to change your body in some way. Probably by losing weight. You have most likely done some serious googling on the best diets or exercise plans to follow in order to reach that goal.

Maybe you’ve tried losing weight before but were unsuccessful at keeping it off. Maybe this is your first time.

Either way – I invite you to consider a new approach to your health and fitness, specifically in the way you set goals for yourself.

The course I am launched, Nourished Body Basics, will help you do just that. Make sure you are signed up for the interest list here!

Can you put weight loss on the back burner?

When has putting an intense focus on weight loss ever felt good… or been successful long-term for that matter? It doesn’t need to be this way. Improving your health should FEEL GOOD and be SUSTAINABLE. It should make sense for your life and your values.

This is what Intuitive Eating is all about!

Placing weight loss on the back burner allows you to explore your health without the pressure of reaching a specific number on the scale. It opens an honest conversation with yourself about how the behaviors you are engaging in on a daily basis are affecting you. How you feel is way more important than how you look – who’s with me?!

So…how do you focus on improving your health without prioritizing intentional weight loss?

I will be giving you a few of my best tips below from an Intuitive Eating dietitian!

3 tips for goal-setting without focusing on weight loss.

  1. Set behavior-based goals, instead of numbers-based goals. Swap out a “goal weight” for a goal about how many days per week you would like to be active. Ditch the calorie or carb counting and aim to include colorful foods in most of your meals. Let go of the need to fit a specific jean size and pay attention to how different foods affect your digestion, energy, and mood. Adopt a new awareness of how various behavior changes make you feel.
  1. Identify health-promoting behaviors that you can ADD versus what you think you need to take away. This positive approach is so refreshing, especially if you have been stuck on the diet roller-coaster for longer than you’d like to admit. Adding movement that feels good, nourishing foods that give you energy and nutrients, and stress-management techniques like journaling or meditation may be just the outlook that you need. 
  1. Set realistic goals that you are confident you can accomplish and sustain. Continue to build on those goals as you gain momentum. If you set huge goals that don’t allow for flexibility, you are more likely to get discouraged and give up! For example: instead of setting a goal to exercise 6 days per week for 1 hour, try aiming for 4 days per week for 30 minutes. Starting out with more reasonable goals allows you to adjust to changes gradually. Then, continue to set new goals based on what is working and what is not. 
intuitive eating and weight loss tips from a registered dietitian

Intuitive Eating and Weight Loss: The Takeaway

Remember – you are the expert on your body. If something doesn’t FEEL right in your body, then it is wrong.

End of story. 

You are not alone in the desire to pursue weight loss, whether it’s “the last 5-10 pounds” or whether it’s a significant amount more. You’re exactly where they (the diet industry) want you – on the diet roller-coaster that keeps you coming back for more. 

You are not a failure. And your body is not broken.

But IT IS possible for you to feel better in your body without pursuing intentional weight loss.

Are you looking for another way to improve your health without dieting?

Then let’s chat! I am a registered dietitian nutritionist located in Philadelphia, PA and my passion is helping YOU ditch dieting and heal your relationship with food.

Schedule a FREE 15-minute discovery call with me to chat about your dieting history and see if a new approach is just what you need. I also released a course all about intuitive eating and body image. Join the waitlist here!

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