Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intuitive Eating Fail

A couple weeks ago, I got so fed up with following a set diet and meal times, I decided to just not follow ANY diet. After too many all-or-nothing diet failures, I just wanted to not feel like a failure anymore. I have a feeling this is more of a female thing than a male thing, as J totally didn't understand how I could feel like a failure if I ate a mini Snickers one day. He kept telling me to just accept it and stick to my diet the remainder of the day. After I smiled and nodded at him, I'd go home and eat whatever I wanted, because after all, I'd already messed up the diet that day, so why not enjoy some treats?

NOT the right mentality!

The "right" thing to do would be to follow J's advice: get right back on track. My mind doesn't operate that way, though. I take an all-or-nothing approach to most things in life, and while this results in some impressive successes, it also contributes to some equally impressive failures.

With failure weighing on my mind, I decided to just scrap a diet plan and just "eat intuitively." Easier said than done!

My Fitness Pal

A few of my friends are using My Fitness Pal to track their food and exercise, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to try it out with my new non-plan eating plan. The last time I tracked my food with an online tracker, it was 2006, and I was prepping for my first show. I didn't keep up with it because I felt it was a pain to have to be near a computer to log all my foods. My Fitness Pal has a corresponding phone app, which is oh so convenient!

After I entered all my information and goals into the program, it gave me a target calorie count. That calorie count is NOT for weight loss though; it's for maintenance - which was NOT my goal! And here's the really weird thing - for every calorie you burn exercising, it adds that calorie back into your daily caloric goal. Say what?! My Fitness Pal is NOT my pal anymore, since it's not supporting me in my weight loss goal; it just wants me to look the same!

With the caveat of disregarding the additional calories that I'm "allowed" to have, the program is actually rather interesting. I distrust the actual numbers for calories burned for exercises, but they're at least a semi-guideline. The coolest feature is the bar code scanner! I just have to activate the scanner, hold up a bar code in front of my phone, and it scans the item into the database. So slick!

Intuitive Eating Fail

So I was using the Fitness Pal app, and happily entering in all the various foods I was eating ... when I suddenly realized I wasn't making ANY progress. My weight was staying the same, and if anything, my arms were actually losing their shape! Not okay!

I decided to be really honest with myself. I was using "intuitive eating" as an excuse to eat whatever the heck I wanted to eat whenever I wanted to eat. That'd be great and all if I didn't have a goal of staying tight! Plus, some of the foods I was eating definitely made my body go into storage mode.

I discovered that I'm not very good at intuitive eating, and it doesn't really work for my stay tight goals. So, I switched back to keto for awhile (with the exception of last weekend) until I reach a target look, and then I'll add some carbs back in.

I'm still using the Fitness Pal app, but moreso for just fun now. Since I'm following a meal plan again (sigh), I don't pay much attention to the calories consumed count. I'll continue using it for awhile, since it's also fun to connect with my friends on it.

Do you use a food tracking app? Which one do you use? Have you tried intuitive eating? Does it work for you?


  1. Thank you for reminding me that I am not the only one that struggles with this. I tried intuitive eating about a month ago and wound up going over target calories, fat and carbs by 70+%. ACK! I use the tracking app called "pen & paper".

  2. Yep! I use CalorieMaster (iPhone app) which I love! You can set the caloric intake to whatever you want as well as being able to add in your favorite foods or other foods that aren't in there. They have a whole section of generic foods as well as a Brands section that is very comprehensive. I have used it for over a year and love it. :)
    I'm right there with you though, Kari. Don't feel alone. I'm struggling with my diet... Always nice to hear that I'm not alone in that. But I truly think you will bounce out of this and hit your loss goals! You always inspire me to do the same!

  3. I think we all have a hard time nailing down an off-season type of diet. I started logging my food back in 2006 and haven't looked back. Even when I'm dieting. I used to be a strict calorie counter and was shredded all the time (not too much muscle going on though). I still use a calorie limit as a guide, but make sure I'm getting the macros I need (off-season). I tried intuitive eating before and it was a huge FAIL! I like the knowing of what and how much I'm eating. But, as we all know, different things work for different people.
    Good luck with your goals, I'm sure you'll find your groove:)

  4. I can't do intuitive eating - I just end up eating too much but convincing myself it's okay. I find it much easier on my sanity to just have someone else write me a diet plan!

  5. I'm two weeks out to a competition and I've been thinking of putting a game plan in place for right after the show. I tend to over think things so having a written plan is very helpful and if I do the "intuitive" eating, I'd only eat fruit, oatmeal and sweet potatoes....I never can seem to get my fill of those:) My thoughts are to stick to the plan and then have one day a week where I don't plan and can eat what I feel like that is clean and in moderate proportion. Anyone try this and did it help? I'm thinking the one day on the weekend where I sleep in and have breakfast in bed...oh that sounds heavenly right about now!! What do you think about post-competition binges when people go crazy and eat a bunch of junk the days after a show? I'm thinking I'll have one meal or one treat and then let myself eat clean foods of larger portion Sun/Mon after the show and then back on a plan.
    Thanks again for great blogs!

  6. Intuitive eating can be a bit of a nebulous subject. Some folks find that their intuition creates some healthy results, but others find themselves just pigging out on junk. Calorie counting is something that I've never actually done. I think the best plan is to only eat healthy "types" of foods. Example, brown bread instead of white, sultanas on cereals instead of sugar or artificial sweateners, and always eats vegetables throughout the day. The biggest psychological lure to eating junk, is when you just want a snack. Snack food rarely come in a healthy form, but there are some out there, like cereal bars etc. Also, if you suffer from an all-or-nothing mentality, perhaps you could "allow" yourself 2 or 3 infractions a day (providing they are small)?
    Thanks for posting. Toby | My site: Does P90X Work

  7. Michelle - Yes, not tracking food one day a week in the off-season is usually the approach I use. It seems to work quite well. Binging after a show has so many negative effects - srsly, it can do quite a bit of mental damage.

    Toby - The plan of having a few treats a day is great ... in theory. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for me. I don't pig out, but if I make one off-plan choice, I just eat off-plan the rest of the day. Hence the fact that following a plan seems to work best for me.

  8. I find logging my food very onerous and intuitive eating doesn't give me the results I want. I rely on my trainer to set up my off- and on-season diets. Being accountable to someone helps keep me on track - well, most of the time :) Good luck to everyone on meeting their goals!