I’ve been asked various times as to how I made the transition from IIFYM to Intuitive Eating, so I thought I’d write a post about it to share with you all
~ If you want a little more background on my past relationships with food and IIFYM and why I made the switch to Intuitive Eating, you can read about it in my From Restrictive/Binging Cycles & Exercise Bulimia to Weightlifting & IIFYM to Intuitive Eating post.
~Full Day of Intuitive Eating Video
I think what has made my transition to Intuitive Eating so much smoother is my history with IIFYM and the knowledge base that diet has given me. IIFYM gave me insight as to the types of foods that would provide me with certain nutrients and how to create a specific balance of each in my diet.
I tracked my macros (fats, carbs, proteins) while I was bulking, maintaining, as well as when I was cutting. Many times, too, I would eat a lot of the same meals and same types of foods, so I became very familiar with the portion sizes of the “staple foods” in my diet that I should eat to hit each of those goals.
I absolutely loved IIFYM and still do love the concept of it. It helped me hit each of my goals and provided me with amazing results. I have no regrets with experimenting with this diet because it still helps to this day with Intuitive Eating when I think I need a little something to lean back on to make sure I’m on the right track, and I’ll explain why in a sec 😉
My shift to Intuitive Eating was a slow and gradual one. Since I had been tracking/weighing food for a while, and most of the food I would eat was the same food, I started to get a good idea of what certain portions of those foods would LOOK like. For instance, I have oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning and I usually have one serving which is 40g. After eating 40g of oats basically every morning for SO LONG, I have a pretty good idea of what 40g of oats typically looks like. To start straying away from weighing out my food, I started with my 40g of oats for breakfast. I started to not weigh out the 40g of oats in the morning and just “eyeball” the portion instead, knowing I would be pouring around the 40g I wanted. (How many times can one person type 40g in a paragraph?! 😛 )
After I felt comfortable with not using the scale for breakfast, I added another meal into the mix. I would generally pack the same lunch for work, so by knowing and seeing what I had packed in the past, that was the next meal I started eyeballing the portions for.
I really started to get the hang of this new system I created and started to get more accustomed to it. I think what helped me mentally through this process was how gradual I did it, as well as how familiar I was with the foods I was choosing to eat. If I chose to have something different for breakfast or for lunch, I would weigh it out the first time I included that meal in my diet for the day so that I would know its macros and know how it fit in my diet. By knowing that information, it made me feel more comfortable to try and intuitively portion that meal into my regime again, so then every other day I had that meal I would not weigh it, but just try to estimate the serving to mirror that first time I had it.
Aside from weighing/tracking new meals randomly just to feel more comfortable mentally, there are other occasions that I whip the scale out just as a little security blanket.
When I first started ditching the scale completely and wasn’t tracking a single meal, I noticed my mind would wander back to its restrictive eating days. Since I was eyeballing my meal portions, I did not want to overestimate the amount that I gave myself, so I started underestimating them. I knew that wasn’t the healthiest way to go about things, but it was something I couldn’t control. After noticing this, I decided to track a random day of eating, based on my guestimated portions, just to see the amount of food I was consuming. And I was right… I was undereating, but not by a lot! I was actually really proud of myself for intuitively eating pretty successfully for quite some time. Seeing that I was undereating by just a tad, though, I picked the scale back up for a day. I weighed/tracked out a day of eating of portion sizes that were what I needed, and then the next day I imitated those portions without the scale.
The only other times I find myself tracking/weighing my food are on the rare occasion that I want to see what a typical day of eating would look like for a certain goal I may have (such as if I want to eat in a surplus, or to maintain, or to make sure I’m eating enough protein, etc.) but then I would put the scale away for a while after that and rely on my body to tell me what it wants and what it’s feeling (even though most of the times it’s ice cream).
Transitioning to Intuitive Eating was a difficult and mentally taxing battle, but definitely worth it in the end. It has helped me gain a healthy relationship with food and now I actually enjoy going out to grab a bite to eat and not feel extremely guilty about it like I would before! I’m proud to say that I almost never use the scale anymore and I’m starting to actually listen to my body and it’s proving to be very beneficial for me. Food is food and it’s meant to be enjoyed 😛
If you have any other questions about my story or want any other tips to help you out, feel free to contact me