5 Major Downsides to Intuitive Eating

I’m excited to talk to you today, I get this question ALL the time!

I want you to walk away with a better understanding of some major downsides you want to avoid around intuitive eating in regards to binge eating, extreme hunger, and food obsession or mental hunger.

I've worked with many people who end up stressed and confused when trying intutive eating to cure their food obsession and manage their large appetite.

People are seeking to develop a peaceful relationship around food, free from confusion and guilt around their hunger cues - mental preoccupation with food, insatiable physical hunger, emotional eating tendencies, free from the confusion and guilt around:
how much to eat?
what kinds of food to eat?
how full?
how satisfied?

They are craving to be free from fears around their body gaining body fat from making the “wrong” decision around eating, right they want to be free from these kinds of mental dialogues and mental bargaining. But are feeling worse and more obsessed around food, with intuitive eating. Right, can you relate?

Because people who are experiencing both ravenous mental and physical hunger or are binge eating, are looking to intuitive eating thinking if they “practice” intuitive eating, everything will be cleared up and they’ll overcome this hunger and obsession with food. 

Now, I want to say, that I am not an intuitive eating coach for this reason, because intuitive eating doesn’t offer the solution to the real problem that is going on when one is facing such extreme hunger, food obsession and binge eating, and without getting to the root of this true problem, one just becomes even more confused about eating, they feel so stressed and guilty all the time and it just destroys their mind and life.

I am not here to bash on intuitive eating, what I am pointing out is that the concepts of intuitive eating aren't able to be properly applied when one is binge eating and facing an extreme hunger physically and/or mentally. Alright, just wanted to get that out of the way.


On top of that, they may use intuitive eating to gain to a “normal weight” or try to maintain their starting weight, or now even as a weight loss tool, and are looking to the number on the scale or the size of their pants to determine “how to eat” and how to make decisions around food, rather than looking at the real problem of what’s continuing  to contribute to their ravenous mental and physical hunger and extreme draw to food where their mind is constantly preoccupied with food and it interferes with their focus and concentration, and they are finding it hard to think about other things other than food,
(and this phenomena of food obsession, doesn’t go away once there at a certain weight, or even that this can’t happen to people at all if they’re not considered underweight) 

But this is the problem - they are so afraid they will become obese, or that they’ll lose their identity as the fit or thin chick,  that their fears keep them from doing the thing that will actually help them find freedom, and therefore they continue trying to control themselves around food via intuitive eating and other various philosophies such as reverse dieting, which we’ll talk about in a future video.


But the reason why this is important to understand is because there are intuitive eating coaches or diet recovery coaches or eating disorder recovery coaches and therapists and treatment centers who don’t understand the extreme hunger element and therefore cause more confusion and stress for people as they aren’t offering the solution to this problem.

if one doesn’t address their extreme physical hunger, binge eating and mental obsession around food ie extreme mental hunger FIRST, intuitive eating will make them feel even more stressed around food, guilty all the time and still mentally obsessed around food and often does not allow the BMR to rise in other words it doesn’t allow for a full rehabilitation process to occur of the mind and body.


The problem with the concept of Intuitive Eating when dealing with extreme mental & physical hunger or binge eating is:

  1. It can become another way to control your weight through “eating intuitively” aka what people have turned IE into “the intuitive eating diet” 

    “You can hardly talk about health and taking care of yourself without discussing nutrition.  But our experience has shown us that if a healthy relationship with food is not in place first, it’s difficult to pursue a truly healthy diet.  If you’ve been a chronic dieter, the best nutrition guidelines can still be embraced like a diet.” 
    -Evelyn Tribole

  2. After being our of touch with intuition, intuition and huger cues is all out of whack for a while

  3. IE does not encourage one to listen to their mental hunger and deems it as emotional eating. Intuitive Eating mainly focus’s on fullness and not mental satiety. Which is restriction and will perpetuate your food obsession, binge eating

  4. It often takes on a similar mindset of something you can fail or succeed at just like the diet mentality, so if you follow the rules, you’ll either fail or succeed, so one may adhere strictly to “hunger and fullness” as a set of rules - example: you ate extra spoonfuls of peanut butter even though physically you felt full  - therefore you failed and emotionally ate

  5. Suggests against binge eating often missing the purpose behind the body and minds desire to binge

  6. Often one needs to feel very full ie you may need to eat more food than you're comfortable with physically, or that a hunger scale would say is unacceptable, for a while when recovering from restrictive eating, suppressing (or attempting to suppress without success) one's weight and healing the metabolism, to be able to neutralize binge eating and food obsession


In other words:

  • intuitive eating perpetuates the feeling of control -> which perpetuates confusion / stress / guilt
  • which perpetuates obsession with food, binge eating and extreme mental & physical hunger


You don’t do this stuff with your bladder, right like if i peed extra today than yesterday, that must mean my bladders emotionally peeing so i need to hold myself back or else i’m going to pee myself into a deficiency.

It’s crazy.

Eating intuitively and being a normal eater is the goal long term, but you can’t just go from restricting your food and crazily working out and feeling obsessed around food to eating a normal amount of food and eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. No this is a big mistake people make is trying to skip the recovery process of rehabilitating your metabolism, hormones and all else and rehabilitating your mind. 

This is your number 1 priority, before you start thinking about anything else, that’s where your focus needs to be rehabilitating your metabolism, your hormones, your adrenals via rehabilitating  both your physical and mental extreme hunger  and rehabilitating your mind, so making necessary mindset shifts around your relationship towards exercise, towards food, towards your self, towards your body.

And if you don’t understand these things, you won’t ever become an intuitive eater and when you try to be an intuitive eater, you’re going to be confused, stressed, guilt ridden, anxious and obsessed around food.


Now the counter-intuitive thing to do to fix this problem, is to stop trying to be an intuitive eater - you need to get out of your rut and out of you’re familiar with - aka familiar with the perceived control around your body and food.

-you may say: well i’m doing this, and i’m doing that, and following this and following that, well these are just a bunch of excuses, if somethings not working you need to change it in order to get what you’re trying to do to work. And take a hard look at the things that you’re trying to avoid.

The biggest mistake I see is that people are inflexible. They just lock in to something that they find, and may have worked initially and so they latch onto it and they don’t want to let go, when it only gets them so far, and they’re stuck.

So what are some things that you can do to get of the rut you’ve fell into and shake things up?

Whatever you’re doing it’s time to make a shift.

And when you make this shift, it’s important that you give it enough time to play out.

Healing doesn’t always feel good right, so you often need to give your body more time. And just because you’re feeling worse in the beginning or for a time being, doesn’t mean that you should stop recovery altogether.

So keep an eye on - your overall mental health, not the number on the scale - each time you make a change.

This is just a brief introduction to the downsides of intuitive eating when trying to overcome binge eating, extreme hunger, your mind being preoccupied with food and things of this nature.

I’d love to see you in my free community forum on my website to keep the discussion going over there by joining here!


Kayla Rose

Holistic Nutritionist

The Creator of The Find Your Balance System



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