Episode #67: Knowing Isn't Doing - the Best Lesson So Far!
In this episode I explore the work that we need to do before we even get started with Intuitive Eating and that is to learn that knowing isn't doing. Resch and Tribole, authors of Intuitive Eating, say that, "Learning how to become an Intuitive Eater is a lot like learning how to write with your nondominant hand – it takes practice. Intellectual knowledge is not enough.” Boy are they right! The exercise they give in the workbook underscores the fact that Intuitive Eating is a journey and a process - it's not a one and done diet.
Tune in to see my own experience with this! Another dance lesson turned into a plate lesson!
Episode #: 67. Knowing isn’t Doing – the best lesson so far!
You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #67, Knowing isn’t Doing – the best lesson so far!
Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl!
Be sure to go to miriamhatoum.com/resources to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.
Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!
Last week I talked about starting my new adventure with Intuitive Eating and I invited you to come along for the ride. I suspect it will take me a few weeks to work through each principle. I am taking this as a serious study as I do not want to fall for the foibles that I did so many years ago. I didn’t entirely reject Diet Mentality which is the first and foremost principle of the program and I totally didn’t understand the concept of Gentle Nutrition, which is the final principle. There are 8 more principles in between and I want to give full attention to all of them.
This is certainly not just making a list of foods with the usual weighing and tracking.
It is a deep adventure into our relationship with food and ourselves. I had already started taking this path right here in this podcast, but never seeing myself as using the advice to work my way out of dieting…just using the advice to be a better dieter.
Next week I turn 71. It is a privilege to reach that age, for sure. But this past year, when I turned 70, I turned a corner thinking about this end of the spectrum. I purchased cemetery plots for me and my husband. I prepaid the funeral expenses and got my files with passwords and accounts in order. My mother lived to 104 and her sister, May, lived to 102, so I’m not planning to go anywhere soon, but my mind is starting to wander into that territory.
I started to think… “When I get to my deathbed will I have regretted that I didn’t eat that cheesecake 3 times a day?” And that is what really got me thinking about taking the Intuitive Eating journey seriously this time around. It’s not that we are going to die anyway, so why not eat all the things all the time. It’s about making my remaining years as high quality as they can be, but more importantly, it’s about laying down my end of the rope in the tug of war between dieting and not dieting. I want to find that elusive peace with food. I don’t want my tombstone to read, “Here lies Miriam Hatoum. Always on a diet. Died fat anyway.”
So on that cheery note, I want to dive into Principle One: Reject the Diet Mentality.
The Intuitive Eating Workbook
This time around I purchased “The Intuitive Eating Workbook – Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, authors of “Intuitive Eating – A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach.” I talked last week about this book and advise you, if you are interested, to make sure you get the fourth edition, which is the most current at this point. The cover of this book says, “Make peace with food. Free yourself from chronic dieting forever. Rediscover the pleasures of eating.”
I want to say here that I did find that freedom when I began Keto in 2016, and which I why I originally named my book “Breaking Free From Diet Prison.” I found that by cutting out grains, legumes, and sugar, I did find freedom because my blood sugar stabilized, my cravings diminished, and I got rid of severe decision fatigue about which foods I would eat. I still stand by this for when people have severe metabolic issues – which I did have – and when they must get on the path as soon as possible and as quickly as possible with weight loss and blood sugar regulation.
But as my metabolic issues evened out, I felt I could go from Keto into Low Carb. However, once I started allowing non-Keto foods into my diet I found that some of the demons were coming back. I was losing my footing and I was losing the peace with food that I had found. I realized that the peace was in the food itself, not in myself, and that is what I am seeking here in this Intuitive Eating journey.
So anyway, back to the workbook.
Each principle has several very thought-provoking exercises, but what I also like is that they are not just stand-alone worksheets. Each principle has its own explanation and clarification, which helps with the understanding and sinking in of what I am reading in the book.
I will write these episodes as I go along in this workbook so, as I said, you are going on the journey with me in real time.
Starting with the most thought-provoking exercise I have ever done
Before I even get into the work for Principle 1, I want to talk about the very first exercise in the workbook. First, if you have been listening for a while, you know that I use my belly dance lessons as, what I like to call, plate lessons. However, in all the years I taught what I am about to tell you about, I never made the connection like I did with this exercise. I felt like I was hit with a meteor as my jaw dropped with the experience of doing the exercise.
What I always taught my dancers is that there is that you cannot get experience without experience. This means that no matter how many dress rehearsals we had for a recital or show (and by dress rehearsal, I do mean in full costume with makeup) and no matter if they danced in front of each other or even if I invited a few other people in to watch a rehearsal, they would not be prepared for the real show. Knowledge has its place, but doing is a different animal.
I would talk about surgeons in training. They could have the scalpel in their hand and cut into oranges or peaches, or even lab animals. But nothing – and I mean NOTHING – would ever prepare them for the experience of cutting into human flesh. Again, knowledge is not doing.
So what was this exercise that really shook my beliefs about what I know about dieting? The first exercise in the workbook was to write your name with your dominant hand. Then write it with your non-dominant hand. OMG this shook me up, it really did. The exercise also asked that you pay attention to the writing instrument in your hand: the difference in the grip, the weight, the feel of it. I was asked what my thoughts were while I was writing. The instructions weren’t just to think about the difference but write about it. I think being asked these questions and then writing out my answers instead of just thinking about them really helped the concept sink in.
Before I wrote with my left hand, I was so sure it would be no big deal. I would adjust the slant. I would write carefully and slowly, and it would look just like what I wrote with the left hand. Let me tell you, I didn’t even manage a signature. After the M and the I, I just tried printing it. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked.
I thought that writing my name with my left hand would be a breeze. I was actually startled and shocked when it wasn’t. I thought changing the slant would change the ease or difficulty, but it didn’t. It felt backwards and very labored. I went into the exercise feeling that it was no big deal, but it was. I was both intrigued and puzzled.
I am going to quote directly here from the workbook from the section of this exercise called “Discussion and Processing”:
“Both of your hands have access to the same brain, which possesses the knowledge of how to write and spell your name. Yet, for the majority of people, there is a marked difference in the quality of the writing which reflects the significance of experience or practice.
Learning how to become an Intuitive Eater is a lot like learning how to write with your nondominant hand – it takes practice. Intellectual knowledge is not enough.”
I knew to teach this to my dancers, but I didn’t understand it for myself all those years ago when I first tried Intuitive Eating. I thought I could read the book, maybe put the put the principles on index cards, pay attention once or twice about whether I was hungry, and be done with it. Even now – I’m a dieting expert for heaven’s sake – I have all the knowledge I need about dieting.
The problem is that doing Intuitive Eating is not a one and done activity – it is a non-linear journey. And having the knowledge about all the healthy ways to eat and having the knowledge of portion sizes or what food does in your body, does nothing to help me. Knowledge of diets is not going to help me in the doing of Intuitive Eating.
I felt that if I did nothing else in the workbook, this exercise made that point. I think I should KNOW it all, but as with my dancers, and as with the surgeons, doing and knowing are two different things. I don’t know why this handwriting exercise was such a surprise to me, but it was.
Going on with what they said in this exercise: “Like the Handwriting Metaphor Activity, the exercises in this workbook will help you connect with your body sensations, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and help you pay attention to them as well as practicing new ways to work with them. Doing these exercises will help you to find ways to honor yourself, figure out what you really need in life, and provide you with long-lasting experiences, which will lead to a deep trust in your body, your mind, and your soul. Please remember to be kind and patient with yourself on your journey to becoming an Intuitive Eater.”
The old me would have done the Handwriting Metaphor, told myself, “OH now I get it,” and would have leafed through the book again making sure I had the principles written down and been done with it.
This time I will do it right.
Another exercise before starting with Principle 1 is the Intuitive Eating Assessment Scale.
This was adapted from Tracy Tylka’s research on Tribole and Resch’s model of Intuitive Eating. The assessment is grouped into core characteristics: unconditional permission to eat, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, reliance on internal hunger and satiety cues, and body-food choice congruence.
For the first area, unconditional permission to eat, I need work in every area.
For eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, I was down the middle, mostly because of the personal work I have done with cravings and urges but I still could use more work.
For hunger and satiety cues I didn’t do so well, even though this is an area that work on the most with myself and my clients. This is perhaps the strongest example of KNOWING is not the same as DOING. Mostly my issues have to do with trusting myself. Trusting in oneself is huge with Intuitive Eating so I can see this might require some extra attention.
The fourth area, body-food choice congruence had to do with eating what works best for one’s body. It is along the lines of gentle nutrition, and I was totally confident that I have this and have my back. I didn’t understand this years ago when I first did Intuitive Eating, but after all my work with Keto I pretty much know now what makes my body feel its best.
I love that they give four date columns for scoring your totals in each category. It will be interesting to see how I change and progress as I work through this program.
This was all just to get ready for working with the first principle, Reject Diet Mentality. Can you imagine what this will do to me, as a professional dieter and as a professional in teaching other people how to diet? A lot of the other principles are skills – such as learning hunger and satiety cues or understanding the concept of gentle nutrition. But this is a mindset cluster bomb. I think because I never got past this, I never succeeded in my other Intuitive Eating attempts.
I am so glad you will be accompanying me on this journey. I don’t expect you to do it as well, but I am glad you are willing to listen to it. I think that even if you stick with dieting, that what you can learn here will help you tremendously. But when you are ready to change the writing on your tombstone, feel free to hop on!
THIS WEEK’S ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
This week I would like you to do that Handwriting Activity and see what your experiences are with it. Are you shocked at the results or even how the pen feels in your hand? Does it cause you to question things – like “I should know better by now?” Does it make you realize that knowing is not the same as doing? I would love to hear your experiences and you are welcome to email me directly at email@example.com.
Next week’s episode
Next week I will continue my journey with Intuitive Eating by exploring what it takes to let go of diet mentality.
I do have a favor to ask of you. Please subscribe to this podcast and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find it by bringing it up in the various directories. Also, don’t be a stranger. Come on over to my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show.
Please share the podcast with your friends, let them know we are going on an Intuitive Eating journey, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison.
Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.