Intuitive Eating: Part I

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 21, 2010 at 5:46 am

To understand how I have modified (ruthlessly twisted and manipulated?) intuitive eating, which I will share with you after Christmas, you must first know what it is.  Here is a succinct summary, which comes from the website of Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, the authors of a 1995 book and its 2003 update entitled Intuitive Eating:  A Revolutionary Program that Works. These women claim to be the “original” experts on the topic, and I won’t dispute that.  I will, however, roll my eyes at them for using the explosive adjective “Revolutionary” and I will also accuse them of being too vague. “Program that Works” to do what?  Take off weight?  Come to peace with your body and food?  Whatever YOU want it to do (and will make money for the authors). 

Both size acceptance proponents and weight-loss promoters claim Intuitive Eating as a native belief system.  And this confusion has been unhelpful in a manner that should horrify these authors. It gives the imprimatur of size acceptance to something that can be twisted into weight-loss disorder.  The authors come from the vantage point of counseling people with eating disorders.  They certainly weren’t intending people to use their concepts in a disordered manner, and yet that may be happening, and I may be an example of it. 

Another example of Tribole and Resch’s vagueness would be the first line from the succinct summary I linked:  Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body–where you ultimately become the expert of your own body.   

Again:  approach to WHAT?  It probably should say approach to eating . . .  But even adding this clarification, it is vague.  I’m sure that Weight Watchers would feel comfortable inserting its logo in place of the phrase “Intuitive Eating.”  As would Slim4Life. As would Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS).  As would any number of diets that believe themselves not to be diets (or promote themselves as such), but rather “approaches,” or “lifestyles” that just happen to lead to (presumed radical and permanent) weight loss. 

Lacking a modifier, however, others have stepped in to clarify the word “approach.”  For example, this article begins:  “Intuitive eating has become popular as a healthier approach to weight loss and weight management.”  The article then references and links to the site above.  It goes on to advance confusing and exaggerated claims for Intuitive Eating.  For example, without providing a link it references this study and concludes that intuitive eating “is associated with weight loss as measured by body mass index, lower triglycerides and improvement in heart disease risk factors.” (emphasis mine.)  First of all, only BMI might signal weight loss, but that’s not really what the study found.  A Health at Every Size (HAES) approach to food management and exercise, which included intuitive eating was found to be more sustainable for two years than traditional dieting, which meant people were more likely to maintain their weights (and, in some cases, modest losses) and sustain healthier behaviors.  Another myth this article advances is that dieters think they’re going to return to their old eating patterns once they’ve lost weight.  I’ve pooh poohed this notion before.  This article, Intuitive Eating:  Lose Weight Without a Diet continues with the weight-loss theme, and even promises that you will lose weight.  (Note:  the fad diet ads that pop up with this article may be communicating something about its integrity.)  My size acceptance friends are often shocked to learn that intuitive eating has been “corrupted” in this way, but I think it may have begun this way, and Tribole and Resch don’t contradict this kind of use even now. 

In the introduction to their 2003 edition, they claim intuitive eating to be the “bridge between the antidiet movement and the health community.  While the anti-dieting movement shuns dieting and hails body acceptance (thankfully), it often fails to address the health risks of obesity and eating.  How do you reconcile forbidden food issues and still eat healthfully while not dieting?  We will tell you how in this book.”   I’m scratching my head.  Fails to address the health risks of eating?  That’s not size acceptance parlance.

Now, true confessions, I’ve never read the book. I came to Intuitive Eating in the early 1990s by way of the Boone Hospital Center Well Aware weight-loss program.  It was a six-week course taught by registered dieticians that featured a three-ring binder based on the Intuitive Eating concept (I think it was before Tribole and Resch published their book, but had already popularized their ideas among dieticians – and Boone was always cutting edge). 

It was made clear to me, that if I attained the proper body wisdom, I would lose weight down to my body’s “natural” size, which would be normal or close to it on a BMI chart, since no body “wants” to be fat.  So, I went about collecting body wisdom.  

I learned how to listen to my body’s cues, to place my hunger and satiety on a scale of one to ten, and start eating at a level three, regardless of the time on the clock, and continue only until (presumably) I reached a five to seven (though my satiety was always off kilter).  I set aside an afternoon and evening where I could just read a book while ticking down the scale of hunger, truly feeling, experiencing a four, then a three, a two, a one, and making notes on such things as when my stomach growled, nausea kicked in, and when my head got light and woozy.  Then I ate – small amounts spaced in 20 minute intervals – that ultimately provided satiety when added together, and I wrote down those feelings to share in class.    

One night, we were told to arrive at class hungry.  Then we sat communally, each chewing a single corn chip till it liquefied in our mouths, and we discussed the change in flavor and texture through the process.  Then we did the same with a chocolate kiss. Then other foods in tiniest portions.  We learned to savor, to treasure, to eschew mindlessness.  We talked about removing moral judgment from various foods.  We could eat whatever we wanted, as long as we were hungry and ate only until satisfied. 

We were told that ultimately our bodies would crave healthier foods.  We would “naturally” fall into a pattern where 80 to 90 percent of our food choices would be healthy, and 10 to 20 percent would be “treat” food.  We concentrated.  Obsessed.  While taking that class, I thought about my relationship with food pretty much all day, every day.  It reminded me some of my “method” acting training. We immersed ourselves and became True Believers.  But I don’t think any of us lost much weight. 

The final evening was supposed to be a celebration.  The instructors gushed at us, congratulated us for being healthier in our bodies now.  Some of my classmates seemed happy, claimed to be transformed people, but that could have been a show for our kind, enthusiastic instructors.  I, however, didn’t completely disguise my disappointed that I’d only lost four pounds in six weeks.  The instructors assured me that my body would gradually lose more weight, till I reached my “natural” size.  But I didn’t buy it.  And they invited me to take the class again for free, if I wanted.  But I didn’t.  Even without much weight loss, they assured me, I was healthier.  I didn’t buy that either.  The content of my diet hadn’t changed all that much from when I counted calories. I’ve always liked healthy foods 90 percent of the time (though in recent years I’ve re-evaluated what “healthy” means).  Here I was in possession of body wisdom, but still fat ol’ me.    

When I lost the weight this last time, in 2002, I picked up pieces of that old intuitive eating class and I’ve made those pieces part of my maintenance mindset.  Much of intuitive eating in the pure sense just proved impractical, but I would call my eating “intuition assisted” now.   We’ll look at this topic more in depth after I emerge from Christmas.  In the meantime, have a merry Christmas, yourself, if that’s your holiday.  If it’s not, be warm and well anyway.  Oh, and eat the way that suits you best and makes you happiest, intuitive or otherwise.

  1. Their version of “intuitive eating” sounds more like “fooling your mind into thinking it’s eaten more than it has” and it’s a diet. Any program that promotes weight-loss (and conflates weight-loss and health) is just another diet program.

    The Diet-Industrial Complex has simply become more savvy over the years – it has to be a “lifestyle”, not a diet, and it needs to sound like our Caveman Ancestors Lived This Way!!! And So Can You!!! And Lose Weight!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    …Completely ignoring the fact that our prehistoric ancestors tried to gain weight, not lose it.

    What bugs me is the petitio principii that weight loss will make you healthier. When I weighed 200#, I was a lot healthier than I am now – I didn’t have chronic pain, I excercised a lot more, I could climb (small) mountains and walk for miles without feeling tired. The chronic pain doesn’t have anything to do with my weight loss, but I have a lot less stamina than I did, because I can’t do the things I used to do that kept me reasonably fit, like fencing.

    I automatically distrust any program that promotes weight loss. In the end, no matter what else they say the program does, the hook is the weight loss, and the unquestioned wisdom is that weight loss will make you healthier, which is demonstrably untrue, considering the damage done to the body by yo-yo dieting, surgery, and the repetitve motion injuries that come with a punishing excercise plan.

    Not to mention that there is no “perfect weight”, even in one person’s body – our bodies are designed to change in weight and shape over time. And, I’m writing a novel in your comments, so I’ll stop. 🙂

  2. …Just one more thing, since I actually didn’t really comment on your post(!); you are quite right that any kind of system, be it “intuitive eating” or WW, can be twisted to serve one’s own ends. It’s incredibly unfair that thin people are privileged over fat people in this society, and you and I know first-hand the change in attitude we saw when we lost weight. My hope is that the whole system gets torn down, and that size is no longer used as an indicator of worth. I benefit from thin privilege, but I’d gladly give it up if it meant my wonderful, amazing, brilliant fat friends could be treated without prejudice.

    • Indeed, we do, Laurel. And I’m with you that I’d give up thin privilege in a heartbeat if we could culturally change the tide that creates it. And don’t worry about long comments here. If I get “big” I may start getting punitive, but this blog now is quite manageable, and I think you’re talking about important stuff.

      Oh, and your Christmas Turtle, over at your blog. I think it needs to become a Miyazaki movie. The dream sequence, especially, has that quality.

  3. I’ve got the book!! Thought it sounded good. It doesn’t work for me. End of story. mo p.s. the “Caveman diet” is – for now.

  4. I applaud people who have enough mind-body connection to practice intuitive eating. Maybe one day I can do that too… for right now, I practice ruthlessly controlled, measured and counted eating, and it’s working out pretty well for me.

    Actually, I’m pretty happy with it, because since I started the ACTUAL counting of calories instead of estimating, and I got this neato new borg unit attached to my arm telling me exactly how much I am burning, I find that I get to eat a lot more than when I was just guessing… to the point where I’m kinda like – what, I have to eat AGAIN? But it’s good for me… I find I am not as cold as I used to be, and I have more energy… all that stuff that intuitive eating promises, but I just don’t trust my intuition!

  5. It takes eating with family at a reunion (after traveling from disparate distances), to reassure me that my “Lifestyle Change” is actually a euphemism for D-I-E-T, maintenance or otherwise ….

  6. You hit the nail on the head, Laurel! That’s what’s niggling at me as I research these “paleo lifestyle” sources; way back when, fat was REVERED bcz it meant not only were you getting a surplus of calories, you also had the LEISURE not to burn ’em all up…
    There’s no way our ancestors were gorging on massive quantities of meat on a daily, or even every-other-day basis (many of these websites advocate controlled periodic fasting), even though undoubtedly they did when it was AVAILABLE.
    Ah well, I’m still working out the details, although as for you, NCP, I find my intuition for the most part to be lacking.

    • I steal from the primitives more than I steal from most of the Great Obesity Advisors, but there’s a lot about them that doesn’t ring true. Some talk about the reliance on lean meats, for example. That just doesn’t strike me as paleo. I know my lazy ancestors were walloping possoms and squirrels. We weren’t the Gazelle chasers. Not that I’ve done a past life regression or anything. I know too that my ancestors would be really jealous of all the out-of-season, out-of-region (high carbon footprint) foods I allow myself, in the name of convenience and weight control.

  7. “…bridge between the anti-diet community and health community”? Clearly, according to this reasoning, anti-dieters are not into health, as shown by their reluctance to say that eating poses health risks.
    If George Orwell were writing a dystopian novel today, then along with the MiniTrue (ministry of lies) and MiniPeace (ministry of war), he’d throw in MiniFeast (ministry of getting people to starve themselves in the name of health). Black is white, up is down, and O’Brien is really holding up 7 fingers on one hand.

    • Ooooh, Mulberry, you’ve struck upon a really cool writing idea! My assignment to you: a poem first. Write it on New Year’s day. That may be where it ends. But it may be a play trying to happen. Or a novel. Or something else. Oh, that’s a good thought.

  8. As usual, Debra, your posts make me think. My head hurts LOL.

    Anyway, I will anxiously await your twisted version of intuitive eating. I read the book, tried it. Their vagueness was exasperating. It doesn’t work for me, but maybe I use a twisted version of it a little bit too…

    • I’m so glad you thought it was vague too, Debby. The proponents seem to think it’s quite clear and reasonable, and maybe it is for them, but my intuition fails me, especially on the satiety side. Again, it’s endocrine. Mine may not send me all the messages that others get.

  9. My size acceptance friends are often shocked to learn that intuitive eating has been “corrupted” in this way, but I think it may have begun this way, and Tribole and Resch don’t contradict this kind of use even now.

    I first encountered the concept that “if you quit worrying about it and get in touch with your hunger and only eat while hungry and only eat what you REALLY want your body will become naturally thin” in Diets Don’t Work in the 80s, by Bob Schwartz. (Because if your weight is higher than the current fashion, obvy you’re doing something to keep it above its setpoint.)

    One interesting anecdote I recall from the book was the author’s method of treating underweight patients who wanted to gain weight: he’d put them on a diet. To lose weight. For a week or so. And they would lose. Then he’d have them go off the diet for a week, during which time they’d regain what they’d lost – often plus more. Then they’d go back on the diet for a week. Basically, he’d have them yo-yo diet their weight up to their goal weight.

    At the time I was floored at the idea that all the diets I’d been on (I was in high school) might have contributed to the weight I’d gained since starting them.

  10. Wow, what a concept. Dieting as a way to gain weight.

    A co-worker was talking about possibly trying to lose a few pounds. I said in my opinion she was fine and that doing that might just cause more trouble than she’d want. Then I worried that maybe I gave her the wrong advice. Maybe not.

    My primarian diet as I practice it has very little meat. I love nuts. Maybe it’s the “primate diet”??

  11. Oh, Mo, your advice was very good and affirming to your co-worker. Give yourself points.

    Thanks, Living, for the history. Tribole and Resch may have only given it a popular name and codified it some more. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes back even further. I have an old grocery check-out pamphlet of diet “facts” from the 1970s that could be reproduced word-for-word in a Women’s magazine today. Before my next post, I’ll comb it for this concept. Heck, I wouldn’t doubt that intuition (by that name or another) was part of the first modern weight-loss diets of the 1800s. Somewhere in my files, I have a summary of those. Hmmmmm.

    • Thanks, Living, for the history. Tribole and Resch may have only given it a popular name and codified it some more. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes back even further.

      Me neither.

      I will also note that a couple fat-accepting nutritionists (Fat Nutritionist and Family Feeding Dynamics) tend to go with Ellyn Satter’s “Eating Competence” model, which has more structure than the “intuitive eating” model. (I will note it’s supposed to be descriptive, not proscriptive – changes are only recommended if the family has feeding problems, like “my kid only eats buttered noodles”.) They don’t promise weight loss as a natural result, either.

  12. I’ve started writing something in response to this post several times and nothing seems right. Here goes again:

    About two years ago, I came across Paul McKenna’s “I Can Make You Thin”. At the time, it really struck a chord with me and I gave his suggestions an honest try: eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, eating what you want, but eating your food mindfully. I did lose a small amount of weight and have kept a couple of pounds off.

    It still rings true to me, though I have come to the conclusion that significant weight loss is still probably a pipe dream for me.

    Our society has made us all into food obsessives, no matter what our weight. So although I still remain overly focused on food and what and how I eat, I think that “mindful eating” (at least on an intellectual level) has been a really good thing for me. At least I now question my urge to eat X, my fear of eating Y and whether I really need to eat Z NOW, NOW, NOW!!! I know that I was restricting food when I really needed it and eating when I really didn’t have to/need to/or even really want to.

    Mindful eating has been a true revelation to me, hard as I find it to put into practice. I am kinder to myself than I was before. I have a bit more respect for my needs, I have a tiny bit less of a need to eat sweets, because I make a very conscious effort to not make anything off-limits. I am less angry with food and my body. And I know that starving myself is no longer an option.

    The biggest change that I have gone through since becoming a more mindful eater has nothing to with food: I have lost my fear of exercise. As a life-long spaz (please excuse the un-politically correct term), I thought that exercise was for the Jane Fondas of the world, not me. Reading Paul McKenna got me out of that mindset. Now, I really want to exercise. Trouble is, I can’t because of my wonky knee. Hopefully, with surgery at the end of 2011, I can finally start putting my elliptical trainer and my stationary bike through their paces and put an important part of the puzzle back in place. Though I think that the simplistic mantra of “calories in, calories out” should be shoved where the sun don’t shine, I do want to move more. That would make a huge difference for me, though I have no idea if it would actually help me lose weight.

    For me, the complete picture means eating as mindfully as I can and working up a reasonable sweat on a regular basis. I’m still hoping to get there one day.

  13. I’m glad you jumped in NewMe, and I’m still waiting to hear from DeeLeigh. I know that for some people, intuitive eating does “work” to provide the closest approximation to a “normal” relationship with food that one may achieve in this abnormal food culture of ours. For some people it does serve as a framework without becoming a diet mindset. (I guess the same could be said for Weight Watchers, but someone else would have to speak to that.)

    I guess where I find fault with the intuitive eating bunch is that they . . .

    {Note: remainder of post summarily lifted and pasted into a Word document. To appear in next thread.}

    Merry Christmas, NewMe. Thanks for making me think and rap words around my thoughts.

    • Thanks, DebraSY, but I don’t really have much to say about intuitive eating. I think the Ellen Satter model has a lot of merit.

      I myself enjoy food and cooking, and eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fresh produce. However, I don’t particularly avoid “bad foods.” I eat takeout once in a while, eat dessert when I feel like it, and I’m no stranger to beer and wine. Sometimes I eat until I feel full, and sometimes I just eat until I ‘m not hungry. I almost always cook and eat three meals a day. Sometimes I feel like snacking in between meals, and sometimes I don’t. Is that intuitive eating? I’ve always thought that maybe it is, because I do listen to what my body tells me about what and how much to eat.

      I’m just grateful to have so much choice; so many wonderful foods at my disposal and enough money for fresh produce, artisan bread, good quality meat, and other great ingredients. It really makes eating a pleasure.

  14. This is a great blog!

    Intuitive eating is a nice concept, but it won’t result in weight loss for everyone, nor will it necessarily lead to weight maintenance in the reduced weight person. For some reduced-weight people (me!) intuitive eating leads to a weight regain over time (25 lbs. to be exact!). Not fun.

    It’s decidedly unfun to have regained 25 lbs. (of a 49 lb. weight loss) over the past two years while eating “moderately,” “intuitively,” and “healthfully,” and while exercising 5-6 days a week doing a combination of step aerobics, hi/lo aerobics, and pretty intense strength training, all done to the DVD workouts of the most advanced instructors in the industry (cardio done on all exercise days, strength sessions 3x/week -total exercise time per week 5-6 hours).

    I swear I have read AND implemented all the recommendations and I just cannot maintain the weight loss without RESTRICTING my food intake and UNDEREATING. But, if I do that for too long, the “EAT” impulses get very strong and I eventually succumb. I would actually get “EAT NOW” impulses in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back to sleep until I ate something, which was usually a piece of grilled chicken leftover from dinner or some reduced fat cheese or sliced turkey breast. It was crazy! Trust me, standing in front of an open refrigerator jamming Pollyo part-skim mozarella sticks into your mouth at 3am is really pretty cuckoo. Thankfully those episodes have stopped since I’ve gained weight.

    Lest anyone think I had dieted myself to underweight, that wasn’t the case. I’m 5’6″, lost down to 147 lbs. and I’m now at 172 lbs. I don’t eat processed foods of any kind, I don’t eat out in restaurants, I cook all my meals from scratch, I eat a Meditteranean style diet, I eat tons of fresh vegetables and fruits (produce bill is outta control!), I don’t stuff myself, I don’t eat sweets AND I exercise vigorously. It drives me crazy that it’s assumed that I somehow didn’t make the necessary “lifestyle changes” because if I did I wouldn’t have regained.

    I’m no longer intuitively eating. Now I’m ramping up the exercise (added running into the mix) and am cutting back on my food intake a bit in an effort to drop back down to 160 lbs.

    I’ve been fighting my weight my whole life, and I’m 46 now. It’s brutal.

    • Andrea, I BELIEVE YOU!! You are the poster child for what “should” be maintenance, and it ain’t! At least not for you, and not for many people.

      The only suggestion I might add, try cutting out or reducing drastically the grain-based carbs (even those wonderful, delish, whole grains). When I was a runner, I could do Mediterranean “foodie,” but now I’m having to look at the kinds of calories I’m taking in, in addition to the amount. Some people (many? who knows) get relief from hunger or “eat” impulses when they don’t mess up their insulin cycles with the grains. Other “white” carbs are suspect too. For me, cutting grains cold turkey didn’t cut out those impulses, so I added them back in, but in VERY modest amounts. They gotta be really good karma grain products to pass my lips. While I haven’t quelled the “eat” impulses this way, I’ve really seen remarkable improvement in my old rickety joints!

      The “texts” for this philosophy are Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories and Barbara Berkeley’s Refuse to Regain. I’ve read the latter. Mean to read the former. Have seen him lecture.

      The Paleo camp people swear by this. I don’t buy it whole hog, because I think body type and genetic luck are big players in this picture, and, hence, I don’t think everyone is equally sensitive to grains and white carbs, but cutting grains is an experiment that won’t hurt you (like some other experiments might — such as over-restricting). You can get all the nutrition you need without grains. (Sigh.)

      Good Karma to you. I’ll be interested to see how your story plays out now that you’ve dropped the intuitive eating. Your intuition, obviously, was trying to return you to your natural (highest established weight) body. Intuition is an expression of endocrine.

    • Andrea,

      I need to ask you a big favour. Could I quote some of what you just wrote here in my blog? I’m trying to write a post on dieting and metabolism (it’s going about as quickly as molasses) and your experience sounds so much like that of so many other people. It breaks my heart, for myself and everyone else out there.

      I suspect that you are up against the same automatic strikes against them that many women who are trying to lose weight have: menopause and lower muscle mass than men. Put these two factors together, add a slightly sluggish metabolism (possibly or in part) attributable to food restriction and the result is the struggle you describe so achingly.

      Now I may be totally wrong about what may or may not be happening to you, so please accept these thoughts as mere musings. I really don’t have any advice, just sympathy. It’s a nasty, brutal struggle as you yourself say.

  15. NewMe, sure you can quote me. I’m sure my story is a pretty common one.

    Debra, at this point, I probably won’t give up the whole grains or the small amounts of pasta that I do allow myself because, for me, doing so doesn’t really help me keep calories in check. Several years ago, I went to a total South Beach Phase 1 style of eating, which is basically Atkins except the proteins must be lean and low fat. It didn’t result in any appreciable weight loss and, although I didn’t crave carbs, about a month into the program it did cause mini-binge eating episodes of lean proteins. Again, I was at the fridge jamming in grilled chicken breasts and feeling like I couldn’t get satisfied. Of course, along with that came the familiar self-loathing. The satiety factor that people reported when they ate the “South Beach” way just didn’t become a reality for me. I still needed to restrict my intake to beneath that which my body seemed to want and, well, I figured I could do that without giving up whole grains or even the dreaded rice! Thankfully, for me, I’m not insulin resistant and don’t carry weight in my abdomen (I’m a true pear) and perhaps that’s why eating paleo-style doesn’t work for me. I’ve heard as much but I’m not sure if the science backs that up.

    At this stage of the game, I’m starting to enter menopause and figure that’s probably a contributing factor. Months go by now in between cycles and, once that started happening, I noticed big jumps on the scale. At first I thought it was just water weight but then I had to except the fact that it wasn’t when my hips and thighs got a lot bigger.

    A part of me just wants to give up the dream of being thin and continue to eat healthfully and exercise and let my body be where it wants to be.
    But then I look in the mirror and feel just awful and ashamed. It’s crazy stuff. I don’t think I’ve known a day, even one day, since childhood where I haven’t thought about calories, or how the food I was eating would impact my body size (for good or bad).

  16. Oh, Gawd, the big M. I’m staring it down too. Age 51. I guess, technically, I’m in Periville. The monthlies are still going, but I’m seeing other symptoms. Moreover, it sounds like you’re as up to speed as I am on the carb/Paleo thing. And, yes, a pear body probably doesn’t indicate metabolic syndrome or the associated symptoms. Sorry I had nothin’ much to offer. On the other hand, I can offer sympathy. And since it sounds like you’re (maybe) one step ahead of me on the M-word process, I’ll be real interested in how things progress for you. Keep me apprised. Share whatever wisdom you happen upon.

  17. Not everyone responds to menopause the same way (SHOCK??!!) In fact, during my second year of M, I was able to lose 95 lbs after struggling for decades with the binge/fast phenomenon of PMS/period eating. In other words, I would feel compelled to eat large amounts during the week before my period, and always put on several lbs in a short time, then as soon as my period started, my appetite would practically disappear for 3 days, gradually returning to *normal* within a week. Any weight I managed to lose during part of the month would be replaced during that week leading up to my period.

    As for intuitive eating…I have lost significant weight that way at least a couple of different times in my life but regained when extreme stress factors accumulated (death in family, job losses, car wrecks, etc.) I now believe, for me personally, that intuitive eating can fuel food obsession/compulsion as much or more than restricting.

    RE menopause in general, I can’t explain the physiology or biology behind my own experiences, but THIS seems like life should have been all along. Able to roll with the punches, good gritty anger and bitterness about the state of our world/culture without taking it personally, a gut level security about my own strengths, a WTF-shrug attitude about other people’s bs (issues), and an ever-growing clarity about the big picture.

    Menopause, like childbirth, gets a VERY bad, VERY unfair rap when compared to my personal experiences.

  18. RNegade,

    Thanks for another point of view on menopause. Although I am old by big M standards (54), I’m only peri-menopausal (shorter, or longer, but mostly regular periods; only missed one so far). Honestly, I’m ready for my fertile years to gently come to a close!! As far as weight goes, who the heck knows what will happen!

  19. I have also found it much easier to lose and maintain weight loss going through perimenopause. It has seemed strange to me since the expectation is that one will gain weight during middle age.

  20. I lost weight this last time VERY post-menopause. It is staying off, so far, but with much mindfulness and maybe a teensy bit stubborness.

  21. Wow! I go away for a few days and you guys talk up a storm. THANK YOU!

    THANK YOU, especially, for the M-word advice and encouragement. Last year, I went into such a funk about Menopause, and couldn’t find any maintainers locally who’d been there. I even started calling around nationally — to the NWCR (you can guess how helpful they were, good Lord), and to other weight-control programs begging for the names of maintainers who’d gone through the Big M. Duke found me one woman, and we began an email exchange, but she’s been my only contact who knows this and, actually, she’s been having her own challenges recently. I hope she reads your comments and takes heart too.

  22. I know this was posted almost a year ago, but when I lived in the KC area and was struggling with perimenopause (not weight-related issues, more the hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, depression, painful joints, etc.), I was so very grateful to find Dr. Jane Murray. She’s a doc who works independently of insurance companies, so you usually have to pay out-of-pocket, but it was the best money I could have spent. She’s at the Sastun Center for Integrative Medicine, and I see she’s got a new book out on transforming health care.

  23. Thanks for the link, Katje. I had never heard of this place/doctor group.

    So, you lived in KC metro? We’re all very high on ourselves now. We just got a grand new performing arts center.

    • As well you should be, it is spectacular! I saw it starting to go up a few years ago, and my friend Rick Usher has been working towards it for years! (He’s in the city manager office, i think). We lived in Brookside, in a creaky but beautiful old house that we had to walk away from (broke my heart even worse than our credit rating). Husband worked at Stowers Institute for Medical Research, at the old Menorah Hospital site (Volker and Troost). While it was in some ways a difficult place for me to live (I used to live in a town with bike lanes on every street; no bikes in KC, too many SUV drivers who don’t know how to share the road!), we had some great times there.

  24. Brookside! Cue music “It’s a Small World, After All . . .” I lived in the 400 block of Greenway Terrace the first five years I lived here. We moved north of the river as my child approached school age. KCMO schools are . . . troubled. I’m in Park Hill, north of the river, now, but I used to adore walking (roughly 900 yards) to the Brookside shops.

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