It's interesting how the perception of calorie counting evolves. I found it genuinely fun and helpful at first. Then it became an important safety mechanism and the responsible thing to do. From there it started to feel redundant, like busywork. I started to resent it a bit. Finally, I began to experience it as actively counterproductive. Clearly it was making my eating worse, setting me up to rebel and restrict. Plus, it occupied nearly every waking thought. I wasn't fully experiencing life and the world around me.
We had a health crisis in our family this year. You can look at it like, "This terrible thing happened and everything is terrible." Which is valid! And tempting! But it's been more helpful to look at it like, "This terrible thing happened, but I'm going to embrace all the ways in which it can make me stronger, happier, and more grateful."
There is something magical about just noticing what you need, how it tastes, and how you feel when you eat. I wasn't letting myself do that when I had all the rules and software. It was drowned out by noise about being on or off track, right or wrong. I found it helpful initially to do what I normally do in terms of meals and portions, but to slow down and do it with more awareness. I learned all kinds of things! Nothing bad happened at all. As I continued to notice and make adjustments, listening to my body became a much better match to my energy needs and values.
It has been so interesting to me to learn to recognize emotional satisfaction as well as physical satisfaction. They’re both important. Intuitive eating is not just stomach sensations rated on a scale. The gentle nutrition component weaves through all of it. What is practical and convenient also comes into play. It’s all so perfectly individual. No wonder I wasn’t finding my perfect-match, forever food plan in a book or on someone else’s blog. Your own body and brain can make far more subtle and personalized adjustments. It’s just a matter of learning to hear and trust them.
I think it's a HUGE misperception that intuitive eating has no regard for proper nutrition. Nutrition is actually one of the core principles. Nutrition is important. Health is important. If you don't know about it, you can learn about it, reap all the benefits, and still not become a slave to calorie counting and the scale.
It is not necessary to do math in order to eat healthy food, be a healthy person, or maintain a healthy weight. It took me forever to figure this out! I pay zero attention to how many calories I eat. I wish I had never learned about calories. Maybe some people find it helpful and don't become obsessed. That's great for them, but I don't think going down the calorie-math rabbit hole is prerequisite for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
If I were selling a book on calorie-counting, I would definitely present intuitive eating as a dangerous bogeyman to be avoided. Though people can learn all about food and how it affects them with simple observation.
Skwigg, one of the calorie counting fitness people with published book and big following said in one of his lives that most intuitive eaters who maintain healthy weight or lose weight know about calories and nutrition. That for someone with a lot of weight to lose and without the knowledge the impact of intuitive eating will be very different What do you think?
My journey was exactly like you Skwigg. I am still shocked by how done with calorie counting I feel We see what we want to see when we are ready to see it
I shortchanged my nutritional needs in the long run by calorie-counting, because I couldn‘t see the forest for the trees. Like, I’d judge a food based mostly on their calorie content, and not because it has a good amount of fiber, or antioxidants, or even more heretically, it tastes good. I ditched potatoes for a while since I freaked out over their calorie content 🙄. But they’re so tasty AND good for us. After a while, I’m convinced, playing that calorie game or macro-Tetris eventually short-circuits our brains since we can’t really fool it into thinking differently. It might take a while for us to realize it (I think it took me 15 years for that to register), but sometimes, we already know even if we’re not ready to acknowledge it.