As discussed in a previous blog, Intuitive Eating focuses on teaching people how to reconnect and listen to their bodies in a non-judgmental and compassionate way. The book The Intuitive Eating Workbook: 10 Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN lays out the principles of intuitive eating along with exercises to help readers shift their relationship to food and their body. This article discusses the second principle: honor your hunger.
What Does Honoring My Hunger Mean?
Honoring your hunger means two things. First, recognize your hunger and fullness cues. Second, act according to them. Many people, especially those who have experienced eating disorders, find themselves feeling disconnected from their hunger and fullness cues.
How Do I Recognize My Hunger Cues?
Dieting, restricting, overeating, and using food as a way to cope with stress and emotions are just a few of the reasons we lose connection with our internal hunger and fullness signals. Practicing being more mindful when eating is essential to regaining internal signals. Try not watching TV or being on your phone when eating. Eat slower and note the texture, temperature, and flavor of the food to yourself. This isn’t to say you can’t ever eat while doing something else. But taking the time to practice mindful eating regularly helps body signals and cues to become more apparent. Both Colorado State University and Michigan State University discuss useful ways to look out for and reconnect with your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
What If I’m Hungry or Full at the “Wrong Time”?
Intuitive eating emphasizes that there is no right or wrong time to eat. There is only respecting the needs of your body. External factors like work and social gatherings play a role in when we eat, but intuitive eating notes the importance of letting go of judgment if you happen to be hungry when others aren’t or you are full when others are hungry. Honoring your hunger means listening to your body’s cues and doing what your body is asking you to do whether or not it fits in within the “right” time. For example, if you notice your hunger cues are pretty strong at 11:00 a.m, allow yourself to eat your lunch at that time. Don’t wait until later to eat when you may be ravenous. If you become full in the middle of eating one of your favorite meals, take a moment and pause. If after a few minutes, you are still full, save the rest for later.