The Atlantic

The Latest Diet Trend Is Not Dieting

“Intuitive eating” encourages people to eat whatever they want. It might be great advice.
Source: Corbis / Getty

In 2016, Molly Bahr changed her whole life with a Google search. Bahr, a therapist, was at a professional training on eating disorders when a speaker mentioned in passing that participants might be interested in something called intuitive eating. Bahr looked up the term. “I went home that day and it was like a light switch,” she says. “I felt like I got hit by a truck.”

Bahr decided that she wanted to spread the word about intuitive eating, but there was one problem. Up to that moment, she had been dedicated to traditional ideas of dieting and health, encouraging followers of her growing fitness-focused Instagram account to weigh their food, watch their nutritional macros, and fret over their weight as a primary indicator of their health. Intuitive eating, on the other hand, is a theory that posits the opposite: Calorie counting, carb avoiding, and waistline measuring are not only making people emotionally miserable, but contributing to many of the health problems previously attributed to simple overeating.

[Read: The dangers of the appearance-driven diet]

Bahr says intuitive eating changed both how she treated her patients and how she looked at herself. She had been constantly weighing and photographing herself, trying to hit goals that she says were disconnected from how she actually felt. “It was really hard for me to realize that I had been so harsh to my own body, even

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