Chocolate Dipped Intuitive Eating

Hello.  I’m a former dieter.

Like you, perhaps,  I’ve tried every diet on the market, from the Cabbage Soup Diet to South Beach and everything in between. Right now I call myself an intuitive/mindful/healthy/flexitarian eater. I have no idea what that means (I’m still trying to figure it out). All I know is that it works for me. On a good day. To reach this point, however, has been a major struggle.  Let me explain.

I fell in love with a philosophy called Intuitive Eating last year. While I had heard the term and read books about it earlier in my dieting career, I would think, “Yeah, that sounds nice. But not for me. Now pass the Wasa crackers.”  But for some reason, I picked up the book Intuitive Eating one fated day and thus began a wonderful love affair.

If you’re not familiar with the principles of Intuitive Eating, it’s all about turning your back to dieting and learning to listen to the inner whispers of your body. You’re taught how to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full (seems obvious and simple, right? Not for a compulsive, emotional eater). To eat all the foods that you truly enjoy, including…gasp!…chocolate.

Now let’s stop here. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic and, as a professional dieter, I had never allowed myself to truly enjoy a morsel of chocolately goodness. OK, perhaps on my birthdays, but then I’d spend the next day feeling ridiculously guilty and spending large parts of my day at the gym.  So, the fact that this way of eating allowed me, no, convinced me, that chocolate should be a part of my diet was all I needed.

The floodgates opened. I didn’t just eat chocolate. I consumed it by the pound. I visited every bakery in a one-mile radius of my home. I became best friends with the guy that drove the artisan ice cream truck to my neighborhood. I ate desserts that began with the words “ooey” and “gooey” and “death by.” I tell you, life for those three or four months were good. I ate something sweet every day.

Then, who could believe it? My pants wouldn’t fit.  And I realized I didn’t feel so good anymore. I felt tired, sluggish, and my digestion was off. Way off.  It seemed that I was back where I started before Intuitive Eating: unhappy and overweight.

You see, I turned Intuitive Eating into some sort of strange diet that gave me the permission to eat whatever I wanted. No matter that my body was craving something—anything—green, my thought process went something like this: “Well, I see the cookie, and the cookie looks good. And, I want the cookie, and so Intuitive Eating says I can have it because no foods should be off-limits. Thus, the cookie shall be mine.”

Now can you see what sort of mess I got myself into? In my zeal for trying something new, I began treating Intuitive Eating as this weird way of eating, or, as I fondly call it, the “I can eat anything and everything whenever I damn well please” diet. That’s obviously not the point of intuitive eating.  The point is the exact opposite: to honor your body and it’s desires, to feed it wholesome foods that it naturally craves, and yes, to allow yourself chocolate, but in moderation. If you want the cookie, eat the cookie and don’t feel guilty about it. But don’t use it as an excuse to eat ALL the cookies at your local bakery in one sitting.

It’s taken me some time to rebound from those  “chocolate crazy” days as I not-so-fondly call them.  I went back and re-read Intuitive Eating and really studied its principles, and recognized that my body feels better—actually, much better—when fed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a small piece of chocolate.

Giving up chronic dieting was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.  Seriously. And being introduced to Intuitive Eating was one of the best things to ever happen to me, chocolate covered mishaps and all.  Intuitive Eating has given me freedom from rice cakes, cottage cheese, and foods that start with “low fat.” My weight has finally stabilized and I feel like a well-humming machine.

Even after eating the occasional “Ooey Gooey Death by Chocolate” dessert.


Holistic health counselor, Master's candidate of Nutrition at NYU, healthy living blogger, body image crusader and lover of cake, carrots, and chocolate

7 thoughts on “Chocolate Dipped Intuitive Eating

  • March 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    This is great and intuitive eating is something I am trying to get to grips with myself.

  • November 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Loved this piece! All foods can be part of healthy diet, when eaten in moderation. It took me some time to finally grasp what “listen to your body” means; Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. Make your body happy and healthy eating will stick with you for life.

  • November 19, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I am on the Intuitive Eating bandwagon and totally agree with your thoughts here. It’s so hard to “just listen to your body” when you’re a compulsive eater.
    I think the hardest part is really finding a balance between eating what you want, but listening to your body’s physical cues and how food makes you feel.
    Great job :)

  • November 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’m thinking that intuitive eating is like a pregnant person. You usually crave for certain foods or tastes that somehow has the nutrients that your body & baby needs. Besides, sometimes its not really what you eat, its just how much you eat. Eat in moderation to satisfy your cravings, don’t over do it.

  • November 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Some articles are refreshing to read and this is one of them. It is always good to strike a balance between eating right and eating enough. Exercise and proper diet is still the best way to lose weight but then there are adventurous people who want to try crash diets. Well, they dont really work the way you want them to.

  • November 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Very informative post. Dieting is so not what it is cracked up to be. Choose healthy eating and excercise; so much better.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  • November 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Great article. I really enjoyed the read. You’re right about people and diets. They take the parts that suit them and then use it as a free pass to overdo it. I had a client that said, “I feed my body what it craves”. I had no problem with that, but when you begin to say your body is craving junk then I think you’re missing the boat. Most of the time our body will crave vegetables but we don’t understand what language it’s speaking to us. We crave water but we eat instead.

    I remember after I lived in Korea for a year (which is heavy on the meat and proteins and low on the fresh leafy vegetables), I craved spinach like a mad man when I returned to the US. I felt like I couldn’t get enough vegetables. Your body talks…we just need to listen carefully.


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