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How Not To Do: Intuitive Eating {review of Bethenny Frankel’s naturally thin}

Posted Feb 08 2013 11:41am

So, you probably remember how I talked about getting more into intuitive eating and that I started to read Bethenny Frankel’s “Naturally Thin”. I promised to give you a review of the book – though I’ve been skeptical, the first few chapters of the book sounded quite promising. Sadly with this book the flaws are appearing in the details. And I really cannot recommend it to anyone who wants to seriously get away from dieting and start a healthy, naturally thin lifestyle.

Mrs. Frankel claims to be a natural eater who does not diet. But frankly, behind all her “intuitive thinking” hides a perpetual dieter with disordered thinking. And that is just my opinion – if you think I am wrong or exaggerating, feel free to read it yourself. I will present just a few points that made me mad imagining, that women who finally want to get away from all the diet struggle start out using this women’s advice:

  • At 9 am she had a grapefruit for breakfast, since she wasn’t very hungry, this was followed by half a scooped out bagel with 2 eggs and a tiny bit of butter – lunch was a handful of salt pretzels and two bites (!) of a caramel bar – for dinner she tasted (!) some of the food the kids of her friend had (isn’t that kind of heartbreaking?): 1 mozzarella stick, 1 corner of a turkey-cheese-sandwich and a tiny bit of cheese, but with that she drank a glass of chardonnay, so that should be enough, right? And don’t think that the rest of her exemplary days look much better!
  • On the one hand she states how important it is to eat what your body asks for, on the other hand she tells the reader to have a protein based meal when you had a carbohydrate based meal before – doesn’t that sound like a diet rule to you?
  • If you want to eat a bread roll for breakfast, according to Bethenny you should just have half of it and scoop the inner part out – if you have the whole thing, that is your day’s treat and the remaining day should consist just of super healthy, carb free meals… all right, let’s talk about food fears….

  • Oh, and one day she had muesli for breakfast, a medium sized portion – prepacked – with some cinnamon and soy milk, it was t0o much for her to have at once, so she ate the remaining a bit later on the plane and did not have anything else until dinner time, since the muesli was so filling… and for dinner she just had antipasti and a margarita.

Sorry, that my critic is so harsh, but I was really shocked what could be hidden behind promise of intuitive eating advice. To relax it a bit, I have to say that a few of her 10 rules (what a contradiction in terms – “natural eating” and “rules”) might be quite helpful to get back in touch with your body’s signals.

ruleno2

This rule describes the importance of letting your body make the choice and not your appetite. When you are craving food, you crave e-ve-ry-thing and you are probably not hungry. As soon as you are truly hungry your body is pretty sure what it wants and you should chose what your hunger asks for and know that you can eat everything else you want as soon as you really want it. The “I want to have everything right now” thinking is a result from restricting yourself and making you think that now you have a weak point and that’s the chance to eat as much of the forbidden food as you can – that’s why it is so important to underline that there are no more restrictions and you can really have it all.

ruleno4

Rule number 4 describes something a lot of people have lost in today’s busy world. To pay attention to their body’s natural signals (making a strict plan is so much easier) and to the food they eat (who of you does not eat in front of their laptops while reading blog posts, watching youtube videos, checking mails….). So to reconnect with the natural signals of hunger and satisfaction and really savor your food, paying attention is crucial.

rulesno10

The last rule was my favorite. It embraces the importance of loving and respecting yourself, taking care of yourself, being nice to yourself and also kind of the “food as fuel” idea I have. So I guess if one just get’s this single rule it will result in healthy, natural eating and a healthy, naturally thin body shape. But seriously, I don’t know if Bethenny Frankel herself got the meaning behind her own rule.

The remaining seven rules where not generally bad, but mostly I did not like her interpretation or that they were kind of restrictive or just unnecessary, since the three aforementioned rules already implied their message.

But, don’t get me wrong, Bethenny Frankel did not knock me off my intuitive eating course. I just searched the web for better alternatives and stumbled over a great book that seriously deals with the psychological aspects of why diets do not work and how to get your natural eating habits back.

In my next post I will present you Josie Spinardi’s “How To Have Your Cake & Your Skinny Jeans Too” and her useful and reasonable approach to intuitive eating.

What do you think about Intuitive Eating? Have you read any good books regarding the topic – I’d love some recommendations! And of course everything I said above is open for discussion!


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