Honor Your Hunger: Intuitive Eating for the Holidays and Life
Your body is wired to find food when it needs more energy. When you deprive it of the energy it needs to run, it will seek to find immediate sources of energy like sugar. That’s why when you get really hungry, you crave sugar more because it is a simple molecule that gets absorbed and used by your body very quickly. By providing your body with food when you are hungry, but not starving will help rebuild trust with your body.
After years of dieting and ignoring hunger signals, your body may not trust you to feed it when it is hungry, or your hunger signals may be suppressed, and you don’t feel them as often. Neither of these are great scenarios to be in. If not feeling hungry sounds like a positive, that is a clue to focus on step 1 a little more: Rejecting the diet mentality.
Ideally on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being absolutely ravenous and 10 being so overly stuffed you don’t want to move, it’s best if you start eating a meal around a 3 or a 4. If you let yourself get any hungrier, you may be making choices based on a biological need for energy quickly, rather than listening to your body.
Since we are getting rid of the diet mentality, it is important to not turn intuitive eating into the “hunger and fullness diet” meaning you only eat when you’re hungry and you stop when you are full. Sometimes we eat when we aren’t hungry because we know we won’t get a chance to eat later since we have a busy schedule. Sometimes we eat because something sounds good, or for an occasion. Are you not going to eat a piece of birthday cake at your birthday because you aren’t hungry? Are you not going to try the beignets in New Orleans because you aren’t hungry and miss out on that experience? Another reason why we may eat despite not feeling hungry is from emotional hunger. We are dealing with some emotion and it is easier to deal with it when you have some comforting food with you. This is not the best way to eat, but it happens and is something that needs to be recognized, but we’ll talk about it in a bit.