• Gabrielle Morreale

Fasting Is Not Intuitive

You may be aware that there has been some upset over a recent book release by a celebrity claiming to have worked with a doctor on coming up with a new diet that involves mixing intuitive eating with fasting. If you are not aware of this, we are going to deep dive into what these two concepts mean, how they became popular, and why they should never be mixed up in the same sentence.

Intuitive, or intuition as many people may know the word, is based on what one feels to be true without involving conscious reasoning. Therefore, intuitive eating means eating or feeding oneself based on what feels right with the body, rather than what one thinks is right with the body. It is based on the logic that the body knows what is right for the body rather than the mind, which can often be flooded with misinformation or falsehood that impacts how the body takes care of itself. A great example of this is to compare eating to going to the bathroom. We all know the sensation that leads us to get up from where we are and use the bathroom. When we feel this sensation, we act thought trying to reason consciously with it. We never go, “Oh I cant possibly have to go to the bathroom again, I just went at 9am. I have to wait another hour at least before I can go.” Here, you see reason tries to get in the way of intuition, which makes it seem like the mind knows better than the body. Intuitive eating rests on the belief that trusting the body’s cravings, hunger cues, and sensations will lead to the best relationship with food and oneself.

Fasting, on the other hand, is the willful restriction from eating. Willful…. Ugh. Everything is wrong with this. This, again, insinuates that one who can refrain from eating is strong, powerful, willful, like it says. As if this should be some kind of achievement? No. Fasting is dieting. It is restriction one’s consumption of food based on a time interval system that assumes it knows better than the body and will lead to weight loss/ maintenance. It trains the person to disregard and ignore all bodily sensations related to hunger, and trust in a system more than the body. It goes completely against intuition and cannot be, for one second, related to it.

The problem that lies in the recent book and conversation related to the book released recently is how these two concepts were wrapped together as if there is a way to do both at the same time. To speak more clearly, recovery is not linear. Its a process of ups and downs. But can be thought of on a continuum where restriction, purging, fasting, etc. are at one end and intuitive eating, food freedom, body neutrality are at the other. This put simply says that fasting is very much considered disordered and an eating disorder behavior. There is absolutely no way to engage in behaviors related to disordered eating or eating disorders and still have a healthy relationship with food, or reach intuitive eating. For someone in the spotlight to use their platform to insinuate that doing both at the same time is possible is dangerous.

The point of this blog is not to shame the person that wrote this book, but to educate those that may be unconsciously consuming this information and believing its false narrative. If you find yourself struggling with either of these concepts, or not understanding how you can apply a healthier relationship to food to your life, reach out for help! There are people here that can assist you.

For resources on these topics, check out:

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