If you see or hear the word “diet”, there is a definition of sorts that may come to mind. Feelings may also pop up when you are exposed to that word. And I’m not talking about the definition that indicates the types of food you consume. I’m talking about “diet” as in my-New-Year’s-Resolution-is-to-go-on-a-diet kind of diet. If the word “diet” exists, then there should be an opposite concept, right? Well, what would be the antonym for “diet”?
Because I’m a nerd, I did some research. I found synonyms quite easily (e.g., “reduce”, “slenderize”, “restriction”, “starvation”, “fast”), but finding an antonym was elusive. This tells me that dieting is something that has been created with a purpose in mind. I believe this purpose is related to money. If you don’t believe me, let’s take a look at Weight Watchers’1 revenue from 20162. They made $267 million dollars! That’s right. They made $267,000,0003 by promising people that they could lose weight by following their specific program…and, of course, by paying a monthly or weekly fee and purchasing their products. You may still believe that the diet industry is not fueled by money, but I personally find it hard to believe.
Back to my original question: “What would be the antonym for dieting?” Essentially, there isn’t one. “Dieting” is just the term that indicates a state of being that goes against our natural relationship with food. The Intuitive Eating authors, Resch & Tribole, state that this approach to food “provides a new way of eating”. I agree that it will be new for most people because all they know is dieting and don’t remember a time when dieting wasn’t part of their lives. But is it really new? I would argue that it’s not. It’s just that we were hit with dieting and everything that goes along with it at such a young age that now it’s just the status quo. Intuitive eating is about reclaiming and reconnecting with our own inner wisdom and our bodies. Resch & Tribole add to the previous statement by saying that “Intuitive Eating4 provides a new way of eating that is ultimately struggle-free and healthy for your mind and body. It is a process that unleashes the shackles of dieting…It means getting back to your roots—trusting your body and its signals”. I don’t know about you, but that has a certain appeal to me.
To me, IE is really about rewinding and getting back to a time in your life when you approached food and your body in a way that was natural. No infant goes about her day thinking about how many calories are in an ounce of breast milk, how many calories she burns if she wails for 20 minutes, or if her onesie makes her look fat. She cries for food when she’s hungry and pushes away the breast or bottle when she’s done. IE is about getting back in touch with that connection to your basic inner signals and eating based on your instinct and intuition rather than on outside influences.
IE is not a diet. It is the opposite of dieting. I found IE when I had simply had it with dieting and was looking for some sanity5. You may find yourself in a similar situation. If you do, open your mind to IE. It’s not an easy path, but it’s a path worth exploring.
What does intuitive eating mean to you? Please share in the comment section below!
1I’m going to pick on Weight Watchers because I fell for their trap!
2Thanks for the info, prnewswire.com!
3It looks like so much more money when I write it out!
4I will sometimes refer to intuitive eating as IE because, to be honest, I’m a lazy typist.
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Podcast Version: What Is This Intuitive Eating You Speak Of?