If you have been following my iEat Mindfully™ blog, you have probably seen me use the terminology “honor your hunger” and “respect your fullness.” You may read these phrases and think that it sounds nice, but do you know what it actual means? Do you think you’re doing this but aren’t exactly sure? I want to delve a little deeper into both of these terms because they are such important pillars of eating intuitively.
For those of you who have had babies, or for anyone who has been around someone with a baby, when those little ones are hungry, they want to eat and they will let you know. They also let you know when they are full by stopping to eat. This is a basic instinct that somehow, for some of you reading, you lose as you go through life. Getting back in touch with this is very important to being able to live a life free of dieting where you can trust your “gut”.
If you come from a place of dieting, you may have associated hunger with “I’m doing something right. Hunger=losing weight.” However, by not honoring your hunger and by delaying your eating you silence your hunger signals so that you only begin to hear them in the ravenous state. And if you wait too long to eat, you become so hungry that you either eat whatever is in front of you or you eat way too much because you waited too long to eat. Had you simply acknowledged the fact that you were hungry when you were first aware of it, you could have stopped the situation from becoming one that could cause you guilt and regret.
On the heels of honoring your hunger is respecting your fullness. Trusting that it is time for you to eat a meal or a snack also comes along with trusting you know when it’s time to stop eating. There is no need to have foods labeled as “off limits” when you know how to implement “eating for satisfaction”. Taking the time to enjoy your meals (see last week’s blog to learn ways to involve all 5 senses and slow down) will help you to tune into that last bite that you acknowledge is the bite where you have reached your comfortable level of fullness. Pretty soon it will involve less focus, and you will simply know–it will become intuitive.
These two principles work together to help you live a life where you are not afraid of going to a restaurant or a party. You will be able to navigate situations that in the past may have scared you because you didn’t think you would be able to “be good.” Practicing awareness of both hunger and fullness will truly open the door to a new chapter in your diet-free life.
Your turn to take action: This week keep track how hungry you are when you sit down to a meal or a snack, and how full you are when you get up. Let me know what revelations you had from doing this!