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Intuitive versus Instinctive

September 1, 2020| By

Intuitive versus Instinctive

What do these words have in common?  The definition of “Intuitive” is what one feels to be true, without the need for conscious reasoning.  On the other hand, being “Instinctive” is doing something automatically.

What these have in common is the concept that no thought is necessary.  The difference is that with instinct, you just act.  In either case, both of  these is a “gut feel”.

When It Comes to Your Health

When it comes to your health, the question is: Does just acting spontaneously with no conscious thought, work in your favor?  If you’re being chased by a tiger, your instinct is to run.  Good call!  Don’t stop and analyze the situation,.  It’s fight or flight.

But what about that slice of cheesecake or candy bar you scarfed down last night, something you did without any thought?  No thought means no analyzing means potential recriminations the next day.  Anyone who rushes while eating something they consider “forbidden food” isn’t truly enjoying what they’re eating.  What a waste of calories!  So where does “intuitive eating” come into play here?

Intuitive Eating

The general concept behind Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book, Intuitive Eating, is using instinct to guide you to a healthful outcome.  But as I’ve already stated, instinct involves no conscious thought.  Now what?  Tribole and Resch provide you with ten principles to follow.  It’s not that the principles aren’t sound (like stop being your own food police).  But I do have to question how you get to be healthy based on instinct, doing things without thought.

You are where you are right now because of instinct.  You can’t be taught instinct.  Now what?

Use Your Personality Type

Have you ever wondered why there are some people who don’t seem to struggle with their weight or their health?  You can’t just chalk that up to they’re being luckier than you because of an active metabolism.  If you asked them they’d probably tell you they are very attentive to what they eat and how they live their lives, how active they are and what type of support they have.

There are few people who don’t have to work at being healthy.  When we’re younger, our bodies are very willing to compensate for whatever we do that’s not in our best interests.  But as the years pile on, often the pounds pile on with them.  With those pounds may come diabetes, heart disease, cancer, joint issues, and a host of other possible ailments.

Now let me share the secret of those who are successful with keeping the pounds off and staying healthy.  They’ve learned the Z-Pattern off Decision-Making, some with my help and some without.  They just naturally gravitated to it (probably because of their particular personality type).

Zig-Zag Solution™ to Decision-Making

As I share in my latest book, “Health Hijackers“, this approach is actually very simple.  It’s based on the preferences that make up the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (personality typing) —  that of Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking and Feeling.

Use Sensing

  • Assess the situation?  What’s happening right now?
  • Who’s involved?
  • What’s involved?

Use Intuiting

  • What’s coming up?
  • What do you see for yourself in the future?
  • What goals have you set?

Use Thinking

  • What may be the consequences of making certain decisions?
  • Are there any financial burdens from setting certain goals?
  • What positive outcomes are possible?

Use Feeling

  • Will anyone be affected positively or negatively if you pursue and succeed at your goal?
  • Will you change your attitude toward yourself if you succeed at your goal?

Let’s take the simple goal of losing weight.  Okay, for some it may not seem that simple after numerous times of almost getting there but not maintaining the loss.  Do you know that no matter what approach you use (low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, whatever) you will lose weight?  It’s the maintaining that loss that probably 90-100% of the loser/gainers suffer with.

Let’s take the example of Taylor.

Using Sensing — Taylor weighed herself this morning and saw she was about 25 pounds more than her high school weight.  She had read that maintaining your high school weight (if it had been a healthy weight) was a good way to keep ahead of getting a weight problem.  She wants to lose weight but wonders how that’s going to work with her partner who doesn’t need to lose weight.

Using iNtuiting — She wants to lose the weight because she believes she’d feel better and also get back into the clothes that used to fit so nicely.  Her friend went on the Mediterranean Diet and had nothing but good things to say about it.

Using Thinking — After having read what foods she can have on the Mediterranean Diet, Taylor can see that her partner wouldn’t have a problem with it.  He’d probably eat more meat than she, but it’s something they could both do.  It might be a bit more expensive than how she’s been eating (all those fresh fruits and veggies), but she had read that frozen is just as good and not as expensive

Using Feeling — She can already see herself in her old skinny jeans.  The Mediterranean Diet isn’t so restrictive that she has to forego everything she likes.  Maybe she’ll modify it here or there to make it her own.  But this time she wants it to work.  This time it’s for life.

The Simplicity of It

You just need to think S-N-T-F.  In fact. you could assign “S” to your pointer finger, “N” to your middle finger, “T” to your ring finger, and “F” to your pinky,  As you lift each finger in a row (starting with the pointer finger), think of some fact or thought associated with that preference letter.

This SNTF approach can work not just for what to eat or how to exercise, it can be applied to all aspects of your life.  It can be for big decisions like “Do I take that job opportunity?” or to small ones like “Do I clean the bathrooms today?”

Have fun with it and to your success in whatever you endeavor to do.

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