Eating Intuitively While You’re Sick

Do you ever worry about what will happen the first time you get sick while on your intuitive eating journey? Do you worry that you’ll find it hard to listen to your body and may fall back into old habits? Unfortunately, it can be harder for you to eat intuitively while you’re sick, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall back into old habits.


Let me tell you a lesson I learned a few years ago about a time I was sick and how it affected my intuitive eating journey.


I don’t usually get sick so when I do, it really throws me for a loop.


After I woke up one morning from a difficult night sleep, with a sore throat, coughing, and achy body, I went into the kitchen to prepare my breakfast. What I realized as I tuned into my hunger signals was that I wasn’t really hearing hunger. I stopped to think about this. The last time I ate was dinner the night before, and I am usually hungry in the morning. Yet, I just wasn’t feeling it that morning.


So, what do you think I did?


Well, I could have left the kitchen and said I’m not going to eat because I don’t hear my hunger. But that’s not what I did. I changed up my breakfast a bit, and had a much smaller breakfast with a cup of tea.


A few hours later, I sensed a gentle hunger, but still not typical of my usual hunger mid-day. Yet, I realized that it’s been some time since I’ve eaten, and it’s very important to keep my energy levels up with proper fuel. And so again, I tweaked what my usual lunch would be, and had a smaller lunch with another cup of tea.


The lesson I am sharing with you here is this.


While I encourage you to tune into your inner hunger signals as your guide to eating, there are times when those hunger signals might be blunted. And, one of those times is during illness. Therefore, even if you don’t hear and feel the hunger signals like you normally do, it’s still so important to eat so you can properly nourish your body.


The best option when you’re sick and don’t feel or hear your hunger signals, is to choose healthful “sick friendly” foods. These types of foods are easy on the stomach (and in my case, easy on my throat). But do keep in mind while you are eating that this might be one situation where you just don’t hear those hunger signals as sharp as when you are feeling well. And that’s okay!


The most important thing to remember is that while you are sick, your body needs nourishment to feel better, which is why it is necessary for you to eat, even if you have trouble hearing your hunger signals.


If you are on your intuitive eating journey and struggling with this journey while you are sick, please reach out to me. I can help you navigate this hurdle and continue on your intuitive eating journey.


Email me at and we can work through your sickness together.


I Feel Full But I Still Want to Eat More

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question is:


“How do I stop eating when I know I’m full? I just want to keep eating what’s on my plate until it’s finished. And I do, and then I feel bad, guilty and ashamed that I’ve done it again!”


Do you ever have this conversation in your head?


I hear this question a lot from my clients, which is why I want to address it with you.


As a dieter, you are used to eating on autopilot, and finishing what’s on your plate or in the bag. Part of the journey I take my clients on is learning how to move out of autopilot eating……ahhhh, not always so easy, is it?


If you are eating a meal and you know you are full, but you are just loving the food you are eating and don’t want to stop, it may very well be you testing the intuitive eating process. You just don’t fully believe you could actually give yourself permission to eat what you love. If you did, then you’d know that you can put this food away and have it at another time.

This is often tied to emotions.


Download your Emotional Eating Inventory Worksheet here.


You are feeding an emotional hunger when you continue to eat even after you have recognized you are full. It’s not WHAT you are eating, it’s WHY you are continuing to eat.


So the first step is learning the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. This is key. And understanding what emotions you are feeding is the second step that will help you take action to stop.


To break the pattern around emotional eating, you need to increase your awareness around this pattern. You then give yourself the choice to respond differently and to find another way to meet your emotional needs without food.


Grab this freebie to help you take stock of your emotional eating: Emotional Eating Inventory Worksheet.



What Does it Mean to Be “Feel Hungry” and “Feel Full”?

iEat Mindfully & Intuitive EatingIf 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!


The Many Voices of Hunger

peace with food programThere are many facets of intuitive eating…thus the “10 principles”, which are what I call your empowerment tools to help you acquire and understand your internal cues that drive your hunger and satiety.  If you are unfamiliar with the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, read more about them here.


One of the intuitive eating principles is Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food.  There are many emotional triggers that can lead you to emotional eating.  Identifying those triggers and finding ways to cope without turning to food is key to overcoming what might be plaguing you for a long time.


Sounds easy to say, but not so easy to do, right?  Yep, I agree.  I work very closely with my clients on this principle and it can take a long time to overcome, especially if you have been using food to cope with your life for many years.


I have recently come across a book called The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart, Busy Women.  Now, it’s not to say that men don’t experience emotional eating, but this book happens to focus on women who have a lot on their plate and tend to put their needs on the back burner.  Sound familiar?  Yes, I’ve discussed this before, the need to practice self-care, and make yourselves a priority.


The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart, Busy Women helps to define hunger in ways that you may never have thought of.  The definition of hunger as “a strong desire or craving” has the reader starting to think that hunger might be experienced for something that is not actually food.  Utilizing the tools in this book, you will begin to differentiate between hungers.  The reader is guided through a series of questions to help figure out what she is really hungry for….love, companionship, fun etc.   You are not given answers, but you are encouraged to explore and journey on the path of self-discovery.


This book is a great resource to complement your intuitive eating journey.


What is Mindful Eating?

Diets are all about restriction.  Someone hands you a meal, or a diet book lays out a specific plan of what you can eat, when you can eat it, and how long you should follow this set of “rules” in order to reach your goal.  The problem with that is once the diet is “over” the weight has a tendency to come back, because there is no longer a road map to follow.

You may have read or heard the term “mindful eating” when it comes to weight loss, but it is hard to figure out what that term actually means.  Many of the issues that dieters face come from a lack of tuning into certain feelings and cues while eating.  Then they punish themselves for overeating and move on to another diet with a new set of restrictions.

Mindful eating is about paying attention to the act of eating, without judgment.  When you do this, you will find you eat when you are hungry, not for emotional reasons.  You will find that by giving yourself permission to eat, you only eat to a level of healthy satisfaction because you are tuned into your hunger and you honor it, rather than restrict yourself to a certain way of eating.  Food should be something that fuels you.  It should not be used to feed emotions.  The more attuned you become to your eating, the more you will be able to differentiate those feelings of hunger and feelings that relate to other life issues that are not meant to be handled with food.

The process of learning to become a mindful eater is a journey.  It is about taking steps towards becoming someone you love inside and out.  Becoming a mindful eater will end your search for the next diet road map, because through mindful eating, you will have already found your destination: a body you love, that you can maintain without dieting.

What are some things you can do to become more attuned to your hunger today?