Learn to Listen to YOUR Body: Intuitive Eating in a Nutshell
Does it sometimes seem like your wires got crossed somewhere and you and your body are miscommunicating? We can be excellent communicators when it comes to friends, family, colleagues, and significant others, but when it comes to our bodies, we sometimes have no idea what they’re trying to tell us.
Using a philosophy called intuitive eating, we have a few tricks to help you listen to, learn about, and be in tune with your body’s signals when it comes to eating.
The first trick is to eat when you’re hungry. It sounds so simple, but sometimes we make it so difficult. If your body is hungry, don’t restrict yourself from eating. A growling stomach isn’t the only thing that signals hunger; other signs include fatigue, headaches, irritability, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. On the flipside, if you’re not experiencing signs of hunger, don’t force yourself to eat just because it’s 12pm and that’s when your lunch break is.
Our bodies know what they need and when they need to signal our brain to feed them.
The second trick is to learn when to stop eating. Eat your food slowly and enjoy every bite. Pause between bites of food to evaluate if you are still enjoying the meal or if you are starting to lose interest in the food; your hunger may be satisfied. When you are done with your plate, wait 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry before going back for seconds.
Have you ever heard of the hunger scale? Knowing this scale will help you determine both when you’re hungry and need to eat and when you’re full and should probably stop eating. The trick with this is to eat by the time you’re at a 3 and eat only until you’re at about a 6 or 7. When you get down to a 1 or 2 on the hunger scale, you may be so hungry that you either feel sick and don’t want to eat at all or you eat until you’re so full your stomach hurts. On the other hand, eating until you’re at a 9 or 10 gets your stomach to the point of fullness that you may feel miserable. Challenge yourself to avoid either end of the scale and find the balance between hunger and fullness in the middle.
One last thing to consider when feeding your body is that everyone’s body is different! What you may crave and need to feel satisfied may not be nearly enough or the same as what your best friend needs to feel satisfied. Don’t compare your eating habits to others or to some ideal, like the latest fad diet you’ve been hearing about. Also, sometimes we have cravings and succumb to them- that’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up for eating that cookie, it’s what your body was craving. The trick is to not overindulge on those cookies. Fall in love with your body and honor its needs.
If you use these tricks to learn to work with your body instead of against it,you can build long-lasting health habits that you can sustain over time!