October 04, 2010

Intuitive Eating & Exercise, Cranky Style

Photo: Plan59

Do you keep up with the latest research to create your own health and fitness routines? Follow a best-selling diet book or a popular fitness guru? Or do you take an intuitive approach?

If you're one of those Tweeple who Twitter, or if you've stopped by the blog over the last few months and peeked at the right-hand column, you may have noticed that even though I've been too lazy busy to write blog posts, I'm still tweeting some of the latest health studies. (However, I still don't get Twitter and stubbornly do it all wrong. You're probably better off following a real fitness tweeter with an updated blog like @joycecherrier). But the reason I Tweet is because I'm addicted to these stupid health studies and want to share them. And no matter how ridiculous or inconclusive they are, they often end up influencing my own approach to fitness and nutrition.

Is interval training better for you than conventional cardio? Will drinking milk help you lose weight? Is your morning coffee poisoning you or will it help you live to be 100? What are the absolute best superfoods and the most efficient exercises? When, where and for how long should one exercise/eat/abstain/imbibe/sleep/ruminate/eliminate/meditate/cogitate/medicate/procrastinate/masturbate/exfoliate?

So many questions, and the scientists and experts say they have the answers! Hell, if there are sure-fire secrets to becoming stronger, healthier, happier, slimmer, more energetic and smarter, I want in on 'em.

But there are also a lot of people out there who are moving away from one-size-fits-all expert advice, and who are ditching structured approaches to fitness and nutrition. They are refusing to count calories or label foods as "good" or "bad" or "forbidden." They are participating in only the physical activities they enjoy, and are not worrying overmuch about whether the scientists say there are a bunch of other, better activities they should be doing instead. They check in with their own bodies rather than the latest Science Daily RSS feeds, and trust their own intuition about how to become fit and healthy.

What does Crabby think about all this? Does she have any opinions about how to balance personal intuition and expert advice?

Of course she does--Crabby has opinions about everything! However, before we get into that, here's a totally unrelated question for those with short attentions spans who came here googling "one rule for flat stomach" and are about to surf over to cats morphing into croissants or something equally compelling. Hang on a sec before you leave:

Does anyone have any advice re: Maintaining Fitness post-Menopause and/or Recovering from a Hysterectomy? Please email me at CrabbyMcSlacker at gmail dot com or leave a comment!

I'm planning to do a post on this topic eventually and would love reader advice, warnings, personal experiences, weird-shit-your-mom-told-you, helpful links, etc. I'll run the post sometime after my hysterectomy, scheduled for October 19th. OK, so if they give me any good drugs, I may not understand the advice, but I'll appreciate any I can get. (And no worries, no cancer or anything scary; just loads o' big honkin' citrus-fruit sized fibroids. However, on the cancer front, Cranky co-blogger Jo has been dealing with some tough stuff; be sure to check in over at Head Nurse if you haven't already.)

Now back to the topic at hand...

So Who Knows Best What Your Body Needs: You? Or the Scientists?

Scientists Are Full of It!

How's this for a comforting statistic: apparently almost 70% of findings published in medical journals are refuted within a few years of publication. (Hey, thanks for that info, CalorieLab! ... Um, I think?)

However, I'm not sure what to make of that 70% figure. If over half of the medical research findings are bogus, that means that some of the studies that refute the bogus studies are bogus, which means... wait, my head hurts. And if that's true, wouldn't we be better off letting monkeys flip coins to determine answers to our health and medical questions? They'd be 20% righter!

But wait, if we asked the monkeys, they'd probably tell us to eat a lot of bananas and brachiate more often--which is fine, we'd get lots of potassium and have awesome upper body strength. But then if we only believed the monkeys and ignored modern health and medical discoveries, we wouldn't have doctors or medications or hospitals or iPods or deodorant or elliptical trainers, and we'd have to throw away our meditation tapes and start flinging our own feces around for stress relief. That can't be good. So all in all, I'm not quite ready to ditch the scientists for the coin-flipping monkeys just yet.

However, even if you prefer science to monkeys, it's awfully frustrating that many of the health headlines we read end up being contradicted by other health headlines practically the next day. Following every twist and turn and making lifestyle changes accordingly can drive a person bonkers! (Seriously, I am that bonkers person. Ask the Lobster--it's not pretty).

And that's just the actual scientific research. For every peer-reviewed fitness or nutrition article out there, there are dozens of self-styled pseudo health experts telling you to clean your colon with coffee grounds or do 5000 push ups before breakfast or eat nothing but bee pollen, grapefruit and shiitake mushrooms to rebalance your broken metabolism. No wonder people are saying "the hell with it" and trying to figure out what works best on their own.

But Most People, If Left to Their Own Devices, Are Even More Clueless

If you take a look around at what the average Joe or Jane is eating and doing for physical activity, it makes both the scientists and the monkeys look pretty darn smart. I don't think even a monkey could sit still for four or five consecutive hours of "reality" TV, or contemplate eating a pizza the size of a beach umbrella followed by a quart of Ben and Jerry's. Yet that's what most folks, listening to their own intuition about what they're hungry for and what activities they're up for, end up doing.

As to the successful, healthy intuitive eaters? I suspect they didn't just wake up one day craving brussel sprouts instead of brownies. My guess is that the path to healthy eating involved at least some exposure to scientifically derived "good for you" and "bad for you" information. And also some effort, whether conscious or unconscious, to start hankering after the healthy stuff rather than the junk.

At Cranky Fitness, we tend to take the boring middle ground in most debates, because well, it's firmer and more comfy than the steep teetery controversial edges. So here are some special guidelines incorporating both schools of thought for you to read and ignore when constructing your own health and fitness plan.

The Cranky Fitness Informed-Intuitive Approach to Fitness and Nutrition.

A. How to Use Expert Advice

1. Be at Least Somewhat Aware of Scientific Consensus

Weirdly enough, there is actually a lot of agreement these days among health and nutrition experts about a lot of things. Do you really want to rely solely on intuition to determine if a food you're eating is going to give you cancer or diabetes in 20 years? Take advantage of all that research, you paid for it!

For example, experts seem to agree that getting lots of exercise and not sitting all day is Good for You. They also think refined grains, sugar, HFCS, transfats, processed meats, and excessive sodium are Bad for You. Foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, lean protein and even goodies like dark chocolate, green tea, red wine, avocados and coffee? These are good for you, hooray! (As to high-fat dairy, red meat and artificial sweeteners: sorry, slightly more controversy and contention there).

So if your intuition keeps telling you you need to eat a lot of Cheetos and Krispy-Kremes and Cherry Cokes and footlong chili-cheese dogs? You might want to tell your intuition to go f*ck off for a while until it has something sensible to say.

Sadly, there is a long way to go from the average American junk food diet to the point where one is debating whether raw whole milk from grassfed cows beats pasteurized nonfat, or whether you need to eat fish for Omega-3's or if you can get it from flax seed. So most people can skip worrying about the controversial stuff. Unless you're prepared to make a half-time job out of your health, you'll be doing better than 98% of the population if you just listen to the mainstream experts and heed their advice, however unhip these experts may seem.

2. Consider the Source

Sometimes you read some interesting health tidbit somewhere like "eat papaya every day it burns fat and fights cancer," or, "stop eating tropical fruit, it's got too much fructose and it's gonna give you metabolic syndrome." Well, it's human nature to store that information, no matter how questionable the source. Then you tend to forget where you heard it, and have a totally different reaction when you pass the big pyramid of papayas at the grocery store depending on which article you read.

Tip: don't even open junky non-reputable magazines offering health tips, because the crap you read in there will burn itself into your brain. And when your next door neighbor with the mail-order degree in natural healing starts telling you about the amazing supplement you can buy for only $99 a week that's going to give you more energy than Superman on steroids? Run away!

Where to get boring mainstream advice? Places like WebMd, or Mayo Clinic, or various disease groups like the Heart Association or government agencies like the ones that put out exercise guidelines or the food pyram.... oh wait. Never mind. The food pyramid people seem to have their heads up their asses.

3. Temper Advice With Moderation

Even expert, research-tested advice can be really stupid if you take it to an extreme and don't use common sense. For example, HCFS or transfats may not be good for you, but to freak out over an occasional processed cookie will cause more damage in stress than anything else. Very few substances, even the junky ones, are so toxic that you can't have them every once in a while. There's very little chance that ingesting a single package of Twinkies will cause you to dissolve instantly into a pile of chemically scorched molten mush. That hardly ever happens.

4. Be Prepared to Come Full Circle

I'm old enough to have worn bell-bottoms in the early seventies, and to watch them go from hip and happenin' to ugly and unfashionable and hideous. So then when they came back around again in the 90's and filled the store shelves so I had to buy them all over again? It just killed me!

Same thing happens in health research: old, out-of-fashion ideas come back around. For example, I am now pouring whole milk in my coffee (albeit the organic, grassfed, CLA-rich kind), after I totally trained myself to like nonfat. It tastes good but it seems so wrong! I'm prepared to switch back off it again if this whole CLA thing turns out to be a bunch of hooey. But I doubt my own intuition would have led me to embrace, reject, and then re-embrace dairy fat over and over.

B. How to Use Your Own Intuition

1. Slow the Heck Down and Pay Attention

"Intuition" doesn't mean habit, impulse, reflex, or half-assed, distracted, illogical thinking. It requires careful observation of your own body, how it reacts in different situations, and some monitoring of your own thought processes.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out whether you're really hungry or just bored; whether you're too tired from over-training to work out or just feeling lazy; or whether it's time to stop ignoring that funny lump and make a doctor's appointment. These decisions are even more difficult if you're on auto-pilot and not really paying attention.

So if you want to move away from diets and programs and rules and guidelines and doctor's orders? Then you have to step up and be present and accountable for your own well-being. There are some basic intuitive eating principles you can read about, and folks like Marsha over at A Weight Lifted or MizFit are big believers in intuitive health and fitness; check out their blogs for a sane, self-affirming approach to ditching diets and learning to personalize your own routine.

2. If You're Like Me: You May Have to Start With the Counter-Intuitive Approach

I follow a lot of the principles of intuitive eating, and intuitive exercise too. But totally by accident! I didn't arrive at the point where I actually enjoy and crave healthy foods and vigorous exercise by following my intuition. My intuition is pretty darned happy with cheeseburgers and cokes and brownies. Instead, I ignored my deep-felt preferences and inclinations and forced myself, over years and years, to try a lot of healthy, unappealing foods until I got used to most of them and even started to like them. And I made myself cut way back on yummy, delectable treats that I love, until I got out of the habit of expecting them very frequently. Exercise? Same thing. I sweated out a lot of classes and workouts that were sometimes no fun at all to get to the place where I've discovered enough fitness options I don't hate to keep me in reasonable shape.

However, if you naturally crave steamed vegetables and brown rice and getting up at 4 a.m. to work out, and you happen to despise warm cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven, crunchy nachos smothered in melted cheese, and lazing around reading the Sunday paper when you could be exercising, you may not need a Counterintuitive training period at all.

3. Don't Confuse Intuition with Wishful Thinking

This seems obvious in theory but is harder in practice. How many times have you heard someone express a self-serving, short-sighted, self-destructive impulse as a "gut feeling" that they just had to go with? "Sure, it may sound crazy to walk out on my job and my 20 year marriage and my darling kids to follow the hot Pilates instructor to Portugal to start an avant-garde theater troupe featuring trained parrots doing Shakespeare in exotic costumes, but I looked deep within and I just know, intuitively, that I'm doing exactly the right thing!"

4. Find Your Own Answers

Here's where the intuitive style and the scientific style can most complement one another. Learn to become your own lab rat! Because mainstream scientific advice often is about averages. And people are not statistics. Do you build more muscle mass using heavy weights and low repetitions, or light weights and high repetitions? Well, it doesn't matter what the scientists say if you've performed your own experiments and found out what works best for you. Can you skip breakfast with no ill effects? Does coffee keep you up at night? Do artificial sweeteners help you lose weight or cause you to put on pounds? Does chocolate give you migraines? Some questions don't require you to wait for the results of 20-year longitudinal studies of 200,000 randomly assigned research subjects. Pick something you're curious about, change it, and meanwhile don't mess with anything else for a few weeks, and then observe the results.

For example, in the course of dealing with my stupid plantar fasciitis, I found out that while interval training and long walks and strength training and stretching are all fine and dandy, my blood pressure only drops into a happy range when I'm doing 30-60 minutes of pretty heavy-duty cardio 5 or more days a week. Of course it took not being able to walk for more than ten minutes at a time to motivate me to stay on the elliptical that much, but whatever. Useful information! (And yes, I am finally seeing a PT for the PF and I'm hoping to God to see some improvement soon or I'm going to shoot somebody.)

5. Know When Your Intuition Tends to be Horseshit

Some mistakes that are so psychologically compelling, we just keep making them over and over because they feel so right at the time.

For some, it's the fantasy that "I'll just have one...[potato chip, tequila shot, week off from the gym]." If you are a person who can just have one, or a few, but get back on track? No worries! If you can't, your intuition may be screwing with you. If it does so over and over, it may be time to replace intuition with actual, you know, rules.

Another common "intuitive" error? Thinking that a short-term feeling of virtue is so important it's worth risking long-term health. This can lead to fad diets, weird cleansing rituals, or exercising too much while injured--which I suspect is the reason for the never-ending plantar fasciitis I was talking about. (Of course the most hilarious expert in over-training issues is Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment. Since all of you are fans already, and probably haven't been offline nearly as much as I have over the summer, I probably don't need to tell you she's back blogging again and has a new fitness book coming out soon! And another blogger inspiring me to pay attention to my foot issues and stop overdoing it is the always amusing Cranky co-blogger Merry, who is over at Sheesh dealing with frustrating foot issues of her own.)

So how about you guys? Do you take an intuitive approach, follow an expert, read the studies, or have other methods for deciding how to get fit and healthy and stay that way?


  1. Glad to see you back!
    Wow, you've got a lot going on right now, don't you? Good luck with the removal of your 'hysteria', and those heel spurs! (Shock wave therapy is what finally helped with mine! Heel spurs, that is, not hysteria, although.....)

    This was a great post - lots to chew on... oh, wait, should I have put that a different way?
    I am trying the more intuitive method, personally, but am finding my intuition has started telling me that I need more Lowney's Cherry Bloosom chocolate bars in my life, so I might have to tell my intuition to shut up!
    As for maintaining post-menopausal health, I find the best thing to do is..... ummmm, wait, I knew when I started this sentence....
    (I'll come back and share if my mind does!)

  2. I was so surprised to see your comment his morn on my blog so I came right over here! YAHOO!

    This is a great post & gives people lots to think about & show the many crazy & not so crazy things out there.

    I read & read & read BUT I definitely do not believe everything I read exactly because as you wrote.. 5, 10 or however many years later, it is all refuted or a lot.

    As for food & exercise & all the rest... me, I do NOT think it is a 1 size fits all. I do thing food is a t least 75% of it & this comes from a person that has been at this over 25 years, done things wrong & right & also exercises like crazy & food still is HUGE, meaning how much & what you put in your mouth... and again, since we are all different, we have to find what works for us.

    I have had to change the food & exercise many times over the course of my years due to hormones & life & whatever but for me, it has always been portion control, knowing approx calories, eating clean at least 80% of the time & often more than that & I am one that still has to exercise like crazy.

    Many say you can get by with less by doing HIIT BUT me, I do that too & I still have to do more...

    We can't know what is right for another. We all have to keep working at it & changing it up t find "IT".

    Now with age & all those crappy hormones, man can I talk to that! Not menopause yet BUT I have all the probs of it!

    I hope the hysterectomy goes OK, if you can say that about getting that done... UGH.. BUT I can tell you what I have had to do to try to keep my bod in shape... let me know & HUGS to you as you head to get this done!

  3. It's so good to see/read you. I am sure everything will go well with the hysterectomy.
    I sort of pay attention to what my body tells me, but it has a pretty warped sense of humour so I can't always trust it.
    It told me to cut down on caffeine, but it also said that nachos with salsa and tofu sour creme makes a balanced meal.

  4. Fibroids, I am cultivating those two. Had some removed years ago but now the doc says I should be able to live with the ones I have till menopause (and that one is just around the corner) takes care of them - I am promised they will shrink.

    Great post.
    When I look at studies I always ask myself if they make sense from evolutionary perspective. It is as simple as that. We did not used to eat as much grains as we do now. We ate red meat but not in the quantities we do now and we moved a LOT more. We had periodic fasts and periodic feasts. We are drawn to high energy foods because they helped us outrun our pray or predators. Now there is nothing to outrun (except in races) so unless we make an effort to move a lot we have to stay off quick energy foods.
    I could go on and on. The point is, I think that we have created a very artificial world and our bodies and minds have not adapted well to it.
    What is needed is effort and common sense.
    Wish you quick recovery after the surgery.

  5. Yea! A Cranky post! What a great way to start my morning!

    I admit, I tend to read the studies...then do my own thing. Maybe that's why I'm still fighting the same ten pounds over and over again. : )

    My top two rules: Eat mostly "whole" foods, limit the processed stuff. And get your butt up and exercising at least 4 days a week. If I do those 2 things, I stay in my happy place. If not? Well, see those ten pounds referred to above. My intuition likes sweets. And nachos. And pizza. And... *sigh*

    The only post-hysto advice I have comes from a co-worker. She compared it to childbirth (well, she's done both). Expect up to a year before your body and your hormones are back to "normal". And don't expect that normal to be the same as before you had the hysto. (For those who haven't had the pleasure of labor, you'll think "jeez! I look like I'm back to normal, my body says I'm back to normal, and yet...I ain't. What is up with that?!?!" It's rather confounding.) And don't push to hard following surgery or you'll end up a) back under the knife for complications or b) flat on your back resting for twice as long to recover from your over-achievement. How's that for cheery Monday advice?

    Best of luck! I'll be sending you cheery thoughts on the 19th! Please stop back in and let us know everything went as planned!

  6. Oh yay, I missed you!

    I have no menopause advice but am sending you well wishes for an easy recovery.

    As for intuitive eating, I read the first Geneen Roth book before she was "cool" and I did her intuitive eating experiment, almost identical to hers where I ate balls of cookie dough for dinner every night. Only, I never got sick of them, and always wanted more. And more. And I got fat trying to be intuitive. So my Food Intuition seems to be broken. I have to take a different approach.

  7. Yay! New Cranky Fitness post!

    I keep coming back to #4 - trying to figure out what is right for me. I do believe that is the way to go, but as you point out, it does require paying attention and I find that I lose focus so easily. Working on it though!

  8. Growing up with allergies (not just to food) will teach you to Pay Attention to your body. It may have affected my Intuitive Eating, but I think my extended family's love of food--all food--was more important. I love BRownies AND BRussels sprouts (also BRachiating--these BR things are cool!) I never tell myself I'll only have one of something, so I never fail at it. I'm not a snacker; I want a big meal or nothing.

    Hmm. I guess what I am a "snacker" at is exercise. I'd rather do a little here, a little there, than one long all-out effort. Never noticed the parallel before. : )

    Good luck with the surgery and the recovery. I have no post-menopause/hysterectomy fitness advice: four year post menopause I could use some.

    Oh, and twitter? I follow you on twitter because I, too, am addicted to studies. Now you do the work for me.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  9. What a treat, a post from Crabby!

    If you read all of the diet and fitness and science people, the only thing you will come away with is a headache and the knowledge that french fries are not good for you.

    You are right, listen to the experts, weigh it against what you know works for your body, and eat good most of the time. Exercise enough to keep you happy and healthy. The rest, leave up to fate.

    I wish you a speedy recovery from both the surgery and the foot trouble.

  10. Great post.

    This is exactly the sort of thing I am forever getting my hypnotherapy clients to work toward; a semi-scientific basis to use intuition.

    For me, as a hypno, it all comes down to how well we make decisions. It's a real shame we don't get taught this massive skill EXPLICITLY at school.

    I like this article, and the way it's written so much that I am going to re-post it at my blog, if that's alright?

  11. Its so good to see a post from you this morning. I've missed you!

  12. Well, Hello stranger! Glad to see you back.

    It has been a long slow process, but with food allergies, I have been doing some intuitive eating for years. Just training it now to eat veggies more and carbs less. As for the exercise, I am slowing getting into that too.

    As for the post-menopause thing... my shape was round before my BC & the subsequent hormone killing drugs. It is more of an oval now, and I am working on it. They gave me Celexa to stop depression and mood swings which I am sure has helped in that regard.

    I am sure your surgery will go just fine, just follow Dr.'s orders about taking it easy after. Good luck with the foot trouble too.

  13. Hey, I have hysterectomy experience going back to this month to 2007 when those IDIOTS discovered cancer. (I guess I should not call them idiots - I could be dead).

    They told me to stay out of work for 6-8 weeks but since I had the cancer dx, I went back to work after 1 week out - seriously. I wanted to get back to normal. And going back to work helped me feel normal.

    You cannot jog or run or do jumping jacks. There is also some fear of secondary lymphedema post hysterectomy though I don't know of anyone and if it would be anyone, it would have been me who got tagged with that.

    My advice post-hissy is don't eat like a cow, don't lay around like a piggy and don't hang from a tree like a sloth.

    I also don't remember being freaked by hormone issues because I was too focused on cancer issues. Cancer outweighs hormones.

    I have no intuitive eating that is not ruled by a tiny little pouch for a stomach (gastric bypass June 15th). My intuition was horseshit.
    Love to read your posts!

  14. Welcome back, Crabby! We've missed you!

    I'd say what's working best for me is to do a lot of reading and see what makes sense for me and my particular health goals. My main guides are my blood glucose meter, doctor-ordered blood tests, my scale (both for body and food), and a measuring tape.

    As for intuition, I've found that mine is like a warm puppy: it's warm and fuzzy and really tempting to embrace, but it will only work for me if I take the time and energy to train it properly. We're still in the training phase, and I'm not sure we'll ever fully leave it...too many "accidents" when I trust it completely. ;-)

  15. Wow, it's great to see so many ol' blogging pals! As usual, you've got me totally entertained with these comments. I gotta remember to post more often, I miss you guys way too much!!!

  16. Hi there

    I have been working on the Intuitive style for quite a while now...and I'm still trying to beat the compulsive eater out of me. It is a long tough road, but I am making progress in changing my behaviour.

    All of us love to go to the "diet section" of bookstores. That's where you go to find the "magic" diet, the one that will FINALLY work, right? Nope. It wasn't until last year I realized I was looking for the answers to my problems with food in the wrong section.

    I needed to find out WHY I was overeating, and no diet addresses that.

    Intuitive eating is, as you said, slowing way, way down, stopping and assessing "Why do I want this cake if I'm not hungry?"

    It is extremely difficult to maintain a slow train of thought and an inquiring open mind when you want to shove the food in to numb yourself. But I am learning. And practicing. And trying to be as "in the moment" as I can. I have had chocolate in my hand, and put it back in the bag (or in the garbage) when I could see what I was doing.

    No food is off limits, yet I have learned I don't handle sugar well (sets off cravings). It's all about portion-size, as long as you are staying mindful while you're eating it.

    For me, my inner voice tells me that eating a little of whatever interests me is the closest I'll ever be to becoming a normal eater.

    There's no gimmick, no fad, just lots of hard work, but very slowly I'm changing from the inside out.

    Sorry I went on and on...a BIG topic!

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  18. I really love this post.

    My long-term goal is exactly in this intuitive space - I don't have a goal weight (I do have a goal size in mind) but the stable point of living will be made up of regular exercise (but nothing too intense) and intuitive eating.

    I just yesterday wrote this post on intuitive weight loss which I'm starting to play around with - I wish I'd read your post before...

    I particularly liked what you wrote about doing it somewhat backwards - I very much agree with that. The strict approach some people have to the IE books makes me squirm, and like you I can "intuitively eat" a bunch of junk... Learning to actually LIKE food that's good for me, and learning how I feel from eating certain things, not eating others, and exercise is for me a fundamental prerequisite to make a longer term goal like IE work. It's nice to see someone advocating for this. thanks.

  19. As someone who came to fitness post menopausally Yes I have some experience with it.

    1. It sucks- well, the reduced calories, etc. sucks.

    2. the talk about increased food sensitivity seems to be real.

    3. Feel free to email me. We can talk. There is life after hormones.

    As to intuitive eating - my intuition will never think "I need 5-7 veggies today..."

  20. Ahhh Crabby, it's so good to see you in my reader alert!

    My intuition lies to me all the time. I can't trust it one bit. My logic, on the other hand works out better for me. But they fight over everything, and I get in the middle.. and I get all soft in the middle. It seems my intuition wins. Sigh.

    As I see some of the comments posted here, I realize how many fine folks I've connected with because of your blog. Thanks for that. I don't do Twitter or Facebook so I'm hoping you'll post here a bit more often.. maybe?

  21. That was one of the best articles I have read in a long time. The more I study and learn about fitness and nutrition, the more contradictions I encounter. What I really hate is when people come up with some crazy crap theories, yet they appear to be getting great results from doing some obviously unhealty and unorthadox activity.

    I appreciate the suggestions you offered to know how to deal with stuff like that.

  22. Brilliant, wonderful post! Quite the antidote to the horsesh*tters out there who completely demolish intuitive eating without understanding anything about it.

  23. Good to see your post; and I learned a new word to boot: brachiate :) I nix the intuitive eating plan for myself, but kudos to those for whom it works. Nice concept, but in reality I need to monitor portions; otherwise, I will intuit my way up the scale again.

  24. Thank you for this post! I have missed you.

    I'm that person - I read the studies and try to stay up-to-date with the information and then drive myself crazy with all of the contradicting articles! I've been edging towards an intuitive approach while still keeping up on the newest trends. It drives my boyfriend crazy.

    Good luck with your surgery. I had a mass removal back in July and it took a while for me to recover but now I'm pretty much back to normal.

  25. Yay! A Crabby post! That's what this world needs more of :)

  26. This post was worth the wait. Glad you're back (you are back, right?).

  27. And have you noticed this latest deeply researched study from The Onion?

    Study: Americans Get Majority Of Exercise While Drunk

  28. Loved this post, thanks Cranky! Really liked to reminder to "consider the source." People tend to believe anything they see these days, whether it be TV, radio or internet.

  29. diggin the blog yo. got caught up in your postings after the adult playground one. you still going strong!

  30. Hi! First time visiting your blog and I like your style. :) I will say "intuition" never lets us down, we just don't always know what we are reading. Me, I take an integrative approach. I am learning to trust myself, though, and not let every bit of information sway me and it feels good! :) Take care! Janelle

  31. Wow, it's fun to see my favorite old friends again as well as meet some new folks--I need to post more often.

    However, next time I'll try to remember how to edit and skip the novella-length blathering and get to the point a little more quickly!

    Thanks everyone, for stopping by!

  32. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Crabby! Always glad to read you, whether it be here or on Twitter. I love your counterintuitive approach, btw. I think we might all go through something similar, unless we grew up with health-foodie parents who knew how to instill the love of great food without instilling feelings of deprivation at the same time.

    I'll be thinking of you on October 19, hoping you're getting some good drugs.

  33. Every contribution on the health care is good, so for whom believe that they do not let something important one, people he thanks it by taking a time for talking on the exercise and the health.

  34. I like reading all the latest theories about we should be doing to maintain optimum health, but I have to say I take them with a pinch of salt as they often seem to - as you mentioned - contradict each other. I am sure some Docs/Scientists make up as they go along just to make a name for themselves!:) There will always be something else we should be doing or eating or giving up. I think we have to find our own way and be guided by theories that really do work for us.

    I became cynical after I read that toothpaste can cause cancer...and now health food shops have sold all their stocks of Vit B tablets because scientists believe it can stave off Alzheimer's. (They mention in the small print that you need five truck-loads every day for it to be effective.)

    As for intuitive eating, I think I used to do this with no problems It was only when I considered 'dieting' (to lose the weight I gained due to inactivity) and became more conscious of 'good' foods and 'bad' foods and their calorific values that my brain fried, and all of a sudden six doughnuts seemed like a good option for lunch. I found myself saying "What can I eat ...what can I eat NOW!" like a woman possessed. I am trying hard now to go with the flow and for the most part I am succeeding with an 'all things in moderation' plan and an awareness of portion size.

    I am post menopausal (have been since the age of 42!) and I think my metabolism gave up the ghost along with my hormones when that happened. All I know is, I have to work heck of a lot harder to see any results at all. I do believe that regular exercise has to be a must. Weight seems to pile on, and then some, if you become inactive for any reason (as happened to me.)On the plus side I am much more stable and relaxed emotionally. It could be age, or a changing body but I feel quite laid-back about most things these days. Has to be good!

    I hope the op goes well, and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  35. I always seem to be hooked on reading the latest news... but I sort of treat it with a grain of salt. I guess I just feel that I like my veggies and will always come back to eating them, even craving them, if I go off on a junk/fast food bender.

    I mean, every other study says something different, so it kind of becomes information overload and I just end up doing my thing regardless. I don't care how "in" primal or paleo or low carb might be, I can't ever get into eating chicken WITH skin. It gags me. I'm just not a big meat/poultry eater, though I do eat some. I like my eggs and seafood. And my protein powder.

    Running might be great for some, but my ankles can't take it. Going too intense trying to work out just gets me hurt. So I'm doing my own thing, my own way and it's finally starting to work for me. I'm feeling more balanced in an odd way, even if I'm bribing myself with ebooks to lose weight. But it's motivated me where not much else has, so who cares, right?

    As for the hysterectomy... I've had one, also for fibroids. Mine was a big mass the size of a CANTALOUPE, and I still have a not-so-lovely 7" vertical scar on my abdomen from the 4.5 hour surgery.

    However, as this was when I was in my mid-30's, I kept my ovaries and have only recently been getting those menopause signs like hot flashes. The hot flashes have been fairly infrequent so far. I think it is somewhat diet related. If I eat my whole foods, I'm not having many issues. If I delve into junk and fast food for a while, the hot flashes start to return. Doc says I was smart to keep my ovaries and not do the hormone replacement therapy. So I'm experiencing natural menopause, except I haven't had a period in years.

    For recovery after the surgery, my doctor told me to walk a lot and I did. I also ate fairly healthy, though for a couple weeks, I had to get neighbors to bring me fresh produce, since I couldn't drive to the store.

    No complications, no problems. Because of my incision I could not work for a month, and had to work part time for about three months after that, because I simply couldn't sit upright for long periods. I would say it took me about a year before I felt fully "normal" again.

    Good luck with your surgery and I hope they can do it in the easiest way possible, unlike mine. Please keep us posted so we don't worry!

  36. You've still got it -- another great post.

    It's been almost a year since I began my fitness journey and blogging. Intuitive eating is something I've recently been taking a closer look at and applying.

    I think my binge-issues and obesity are partly due to not knowing what the heck to eat, how to cook, etc. I think my body has been starving for nutrition/real food. Habits are changing.

    I wish you well for your surgery. I've had three c-sections, and each one was easier than the last. Don't be afraid of the pain and enjoy the meds. (Anti-inflammatory meds were actually the most relieving for me).

    Good luck, Ms. Crabby

  37. Just checking back in to say how much I appreciate the great comments, advice, shared experiences and good wishes! Will report back after the 19th, no doubt with a whole bunch of post-surgical complaints to add some variety to my usual whine list.

  38. Enjoyed your blog today. Especially "consider the source". Love that. Don't forget the "food pyramid people" are also special interests ;). So much information thrown at us by the experts and we've all stopped listening to our bodies. Here's to getting back to the basics.

    Good luck with all you have going on.

  39. I believe eating healthy should be a way of living. To keep you away from a lot of diseases like cancer.

  40. Very fun site. Thanks. I think staying healthy can be counterintuitive, until you do the things they say are healthy, and then your body speaks up, and says, "yeah, this feels right."

  41. I just came across your health and fitness blog. Your article about exercising and eating intuitively was especially interesting. I especially liked your comments about taking charge of your own health and guiding your fitness plan in the best way that suits you. I am adding you to my favorites. We're in the same industry, the business of encouraging health and fitness. We market a product called The AbStand: http://www.theabstand.net. We would love for you and your readers to check out our ab workout product. This is a great gift idea for the holidays and an easy to way to kick off your New Year's resolution! Any feedback would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

  42. Great article. I think intuitive eating can be misunderstood as permission to overeat. It is definitely a process that takes time. I have been an intuitive eater for over 3 years, after a 10 year battle with an eating disorder and diet obsession. My weight does not fluctuate at all and no food is off limits

  43. Glad you're back, love reading your blog.

  44. This is a great blog!
    Thanks alot for keeping it up!

  45. I have to say I just found your blog and am horribly disappointed that you are no longer posting very often - but I do have years of material to catch up on, so I guess that's a plus!

    At any rate, I hope your surgery last fall went well and that you and the Lobster are hanging in Cali instead of Mass this winter... It's definitely been nasty here in the midwest AND the east coast!

    Wishing you happy fitness and continued health.


  46. Thanks so much Betsy! We've been enjoying the weather in lovely San Diego. And yep, one of these days I'll have to start posting again...


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