Ohio State psychologists have found in a study that instead of dieting, which could create dissatisfaction with how one feels about their body shape and thereby a desire to change it, women who accept their bodies the way they are end up with the lowest body mass index (BMI).
The researchers have stated that this could be the key for treating eating disorders. Tracy Tylka, assistant professor of psychology and one of the researchers said that eating disorders are at one end of a group; the other end is what she states as 'intuitive eating'. This she explained meant eating the foods that the body truly desires, which meant eating to satisfy physical hunger rather than emotional need, and stopping eating when contended.
Tylka said that instead of telling the women to stop or avoid bad and negative eating habits that could lead to an eating disorder it would work beneficially on teaching them positive habits that could lead to intuitive eating. And this makes the women thinner than those who follow a restricted diet the study shows she explained. She also did mention that intuitive eaters do not end up with figures like the fashion models but women could attain their ideal body type, at a lower or higher weights, but at the same time they would all achieve and maintain good health.
Tylka and colleagues presented two studies at this week's annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, showing that women who accept their bodies are most likely to be intuitive eaters. The researchers explained that these women are more likely to concentrate on how their bodies feel and function, and would be less likely to worry about how their bodies appear to others. They also mentioned that these women, in a general way get more support socially and in the family.
Stating that, "When women feel that the people in their life accept their body, they don't feel like they need to lose weight or tone up to be worthwhile," Ms Tylka said "That seems to be directly related to eating intuitively." She and her colleagues also found that those women who were intuitive eaters have high levels of self-esteem, coping ability, optimism, and the ability to deal with stressful situations. She concluded, "By teaching intuitive eating, we can help people learn how to eat adaptively, and not just tell them what not to do and what to avoid."