When you first start down the path of Intuitive Eating, you literally have to relearn how to recognize your hunger. Watch this short video for tips and ideas on how to implement this principle into your life!
Seems like an interesting title, doesn’t it? Why does our hunger need to be “honored” anyway? Well… let me tell you why.
Think of a baby. Have you ever fed a baby before? I have four kids and I remember feeding them very distinctly. Babies know when they’re hungry and they know when they’re full. And YOU know when they’re hungry and when they’re full. Have you ever tried to make a baby wait to eat when they were hungry? Maybe it was a place you couldn’t feed them so you try to distract them for a bit. But it never worked for long… Babies are born with the ability to honor their hunger and fullness. Once they’re done eating and no longer hungry, you can’t get them to eat more. They’re just done.
Sadly it’s a skill we slowly lose as we get older. Research shows us that we start to lose it around the age of 3. Some of that is a function of real life. We get kids to eat on a schedule that fits the family life. And as we grow, reality has to work with our hunger…
But more often than not, we stop honoring our hunger – or listening to it because it doesn’t fit in with our eating plan …. I can’t be hungry already! It’s not time for my lunch or I’m hungry for something specific and I think, “I’ve already eaten all of the calories or macros that I’m “allowed.”
Diet culture unfortunately paints hunger as an enemy or symptom to overcome or at the very least- ignore. In reality, hunger is your body’s way of communicating a basic need of survival. Hunger is not shameful; it is necessary for life!
So, how and where do you feel hunger? If you’ve ignored it for years, or at least put it off, you may be out of touch with this. But I promise that as you pay attention to it, you’ll start to notice that hunger sensations. All it takes is a little bit of time and patience with yourself!
- Where do you feel the physical sensations of hunger in your body? Perhaps a gnawing emptiness or growling in your stomach? This is a big one for me… I describe it as a fuzziness in my eyes… which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
- How do you feel the effects of hunger on your: mood, ability to focus & concentrate, or overall energy?
- Before your next meal or snack, connect with your body & ask yourself about the overall experience of your hunger. If it’s unpleasant, did you sit with it too long? This is a reoccurring struggle for me.
- Try to approach your hunger with a compassionate, nonjudgmental curiosity – there are no wrong answers here!
- It’s also key to remember that if you’re never listening… you’ll never hear it.
Now that you have some awareness around your hunger and how it feels in your body, it’s time to track your hunger and fullness on a scale of 0-10. This is just another way to increase your awareness. Grab the worksheet I give clients here and get started today!
Ideally, you’d stay between a 4 and 7. This way, you eat before you get too hungry and you stop eating before you get too full. Not only does this prevent those physical feelings of discomfort, but it also reinforces your trust in your body and your body’s trust in you. You begin to understand what your body is telling you and in turn, you honor that by feeding your body what it wants, when it wants. It also prevents that obsession with food that happens when you get too hungry.
Now, just typing this out and telling you to eat when you’re hungry and stop is definitely easier said than done. So, please know that I have compassion for you! I know that this is not an easy experience, especially if you’ve spent years ignoring this biological cue.
So, please, click here and schedule your free mini coaching session with me. In 20 minutes we can talk about where you are at with your relationship with food and your body, getting you on a path toward respect and healing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and the owner and creator of Spendlove Coaching.
My own wellness journey led me to getting my Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Coaching from Creighton University – Go Blujays!
I help my clients discover that they are the experts of themselves. Using the tools learned inside my program and during coaching sessions, clients learn how to shift their mindset, taking back the power they have lost to dieting and diet culture