Moving on with my discussion on Intuitive Eating, today I’m discussing how I learned to listen to my hunger cues. Incase you missed it, here’s part one where I talked about how I let go of dieting.
According to the IE website, princple two is Honor Your Hunger. This principle aims to “keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.”
This step was one of the easiest for me because I have pretty strong hunger cues. My cues are best described by me being “hangry” which is when I get crabby and have a short circuit. Or, I’ll get dizzy and tired. This usually happens when I’ve waited way too long to eat and is pretty extreme, so I’ve learned to identify the small cues such as being thirsty and feeling tired to know I need to eat before I get to that point.
Learning to figure out when I was hungry took effort at first, but quickly became natural. The main thing I realized through this part of the practice was how different every day can be. Sometimes I have a strong craving for carbs, sometimes I have an uncontrollable hunger that can only be satisfied by eating protein, or sometimes I’m feeling very low energy and know I need to eat a lot of fruits & veggies that day to perk me up.
The second thing I realized is how off my timing of my snacks and meals was. During the work week, I was eating every day at the same times and just going through the motions. On the weekends, my eating was more sporadic and I was paying more attention to when I was actually hungry.
This principe reiterated to me that every day was different and no day is perfect. Some days I wait way too long to eat and end up losing my cool over something silly because I needed to eat. (yes, like a child) Some mornings after a big dinner the night before, I wake up feeling energized and not hungry. So I wait until I am. Other days after a hard workout, I’m starving and keep feeding myself when I’m craving until I feel satisfied.
The main point of this principle is your body knows what it wants, when it wants. Once I started listening to mine, all the food stress that used to take over my life when away. It took time and trust in my body, but in the end it was definitely worth it.