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H&W Column: Intuitive Eating vs. Fad Diets

Did you know that over ninety-five percent of fad diets fail at some point? You may be asking, what exactly is a fad diet? An example of a fad diet could be intermittent fasting, keto, etc. These diets usually come from trends found on social media and tv. What many don’t realize is that fad diets aren’t attainable for long periods of time. If we begin to see immediate results, it is usually because our body isn’t used to that way of consuming food. After a while of sticking to diets such as these, individuals will begin to plateau and not be able to resume a healthy lifestyle.

The main reason fad diets become so popular is because many people are under the impression that they will see results quickly. This usually comes from individuals struggling with weight management, disordered eating, body dysmorphia, etc. Whether it is healthy or not, they want to achieve a goal as quickly as possible. What isn’t considered when looking at diets such as keto, intermittent fasting, etc. is whether it can be attainable for a long period of time. With these diets, lack of nutrition is usually a large issue. On the other hand, intuitive eating is a concept ruled around listening to your body’s hunger cues.

There is a philosophy behind intuitive eating. The general rule of thumb behind intuitive eating is understanding that the body knows what it needs to nourish itself. The act of intuitive eating is being aware of consuming and restricting. It also means knowing that your body will naturally crave a variety of foods whether they are healthy or not. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to be in tune with your hunger cues due to different societal cues that we have learned such as having dessert after dinner or being sure to clear your plate. We become used to these tactics because it’s all we have known.

When we look at diet culture, we tend to get flooded with misinformation and the new “diet” that works for everyone. What we never see is long-term sustainability tactics to help not only with weight loss but also with body image and the overall relationship that one has with food. Overall, intuitive eating practices will do more than just physical work, it will target a behavior and psychological change. The research that supports intuitive eating suggests to trust your body to tell you what you need.

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