We continue with Part 2 of our interview with Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, FADA. The third edition of her powerful book, Intuitive Eating, which just was released a few short weeks ago! Additionally, she has a nutrition counseling practice as well.
You can read Part 1 of the interview here.
Why does our medical community so insistent upon prescribing diets to their patients? I think in part, it’s from the pressure from the ‘war on obesity’ public health campaigns—They seem to ignore the profound research that shows that dieting increases the risk for gaining more weight, independent of genetics. Instead, if the focus was achieving Health at Every Size, it would be of better service to public health. The recent global scientific review on physical activity really underscores this point—that movement is important for your health, regardless of your weight. One of their findings was that normal weight people had an increase risk of death from chronic disease if they did not engage in regular physical activity.
Why do you believe the media continues to push weight loss schemes on its viewers? Money & (more viewers for television, more readers for print media), which add up to more profit.
How does IE fit into the Health at Every Size paradigm? Actually, it is so important that we added information on the HAES concept—it’s crucial to Principal 8: Respect Your Body. Studies have shown that when people don’t appreciate their body, they score lower on Intuitive Eating assessment scores.
Pursuing a healthy relationship with food can be a battle, a struggle, or a journey. How can we learn to look at the successes and experiences instead of focusing on the times we may have binged? The answer lies in your question! If a person can learn from the binge or over-eating experience, it can provide meaning and help a person to let go of the guilt and apply the ‘lesson learned’ to future situations. But this kind of learning can be very difficult—because you are asking the person to re-experience the event, thoughts, and possible triggers—this requires an awareness, which usually feels very uncomfortable. It’s important to cultivate awareness without judgment. It’s very complex. But there is a very encouraging study out of the University of Notre Dame, which used our Intuitive Eating process for several weeks on people with binge-eating-disorder (BED). The results were very encouraging– it significantly lowered binge-eating. It’s also important to know that BED is a bonafide eating disorder and it takes a treatment team approach.
What is the connection between mindful eating and intuitive eating? We get this question a lot—which is why we also added a discussion on this in our new edition. While Intuitive Eating, includes mindful eating, that term was not in the public venacular, when the first edition of Intuitive Eating was published in 1995. Consequently, we used the term “conscious eating” to describe the process of being aware while eating. (I actually prefer the term mindful eating, because it’s less ambiguous). The first study on mindful eating wasn’t published until 1999. Mindful eating is a process of paying attention (on purpose), to your actual eating experience,without judgment. While this sounds straightforward, the process can be quite complex, especially for those inclined to multitasking.
I consider Intuitive Eating a broader philosophy, which includes physical activity for the sake of feeling good, rejecting the dieting mentality, using nutrition information without judgment, and respecting your body, regardless of how you feel about its shape. There are 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, but they can be boiled down to these three core characteristics, which were validated by the research of Tracy Tylka:
- Eat for Physical Rather than Emotional Reasons
- Rely on Internal Hunger and Satiety Cues
- Unconditional Permission to Eat
In short, Intuitive Eating is a form of attunement of mind, body and food. To date there are over 25 studies, the results of which, have shown Intuitive Eating is a healthful way to live with many benefits beyond nutrition. For those who struggle with eating issues, both mindful eating and Intuitive Eating can help facilitate normal eating.
What special considerations would you give to people who are in recovery for binge eating, but trying to implement intuitive eating? It’s important to have support and timing is also important. One of the reasons we launched the Intuitive Eating Community (www.IntuitiveEatingCommunity.org) is to help provide support and inspiration for a person’s Intuitive Eating journey. And we are dedicated to maintaining it as a free service to anyone who wants to join.
To learn more about Intuitive Eating, you can head to Evelyn’s website.