You’ve heard me say that a big part of owning a heathy relationship with food and our bodies is that we need to listen to our bodies and the cues that they gives us. When we are hungry, eat. When we are satisfied, stop. When we are tired, sleep. When we are thirsty, drink water…
So what do you do when you have spent such a long time ignoring the hunger cues that you can’t even recognize them anymore?
Don’t worry, we can find the those cues again.
1. First of all, stop counting calories and tracking your every food move.
I understand if you want to track your intake for a few days because you’re interested in “seeing where you are at”; that’s okay. But remember, the counters are generally off by quite a bit so it’s only giving you a very general idea of what your body is actually taking in. Do it for a short while if that is what you feel you need to do, but then STOP after a few days.
With tracking, instead of listening to what your body is asking for, you are often letting external factors dictate your decisions. For example, you’ve been tracking your food and beverage intake all day, and it’s now 7:30 pm and you are starvin’ Marvin. But shoot, you’ve already hit your calorie “limit” and you don’t dare go over. By all means, grab a glass of water first and make sure you’re not just thirsty. After you’ve had some water, if you’re still hungry, don’t ignore your body! That’s a cue! Eat something. Remember, some days are appetites are greater than other days. LISTEN.
Our bodies stop giving us hunger cues after years of ignoring them due to external factors. Many times, instead of feeling hungry, people who have “lost” the hunger cues may start feeling lethargic, low energy, and well, hangry. Even though their stomach may not be growling, they need to eat to reenergize.
2. Give your body consistent energy.
Feed your body with enough food throughout the day to keep it adequately energized. Fuel the fire. When we go for long periods of time without eating, our body begins to go into starvation mode, and eventually shuts off the hunger cues. It’s main focus then turns to hanging on to every last bit of energy it can because it doesn’t know when the next meal or snack will be coming in. This one can be especially tough for those that have been dieting for any amount of time or if you’ve been a breakfast skipper your whole life. Starting your day with a fruit and vegetable smoothie is a great place to start!
3. Pulling it all together and being mindful of the hunger scale.
Okay, you’re working on listening to your internal hunger cues, you are feeding yourself with consistent, adequate energy, now let’s gear our attention towards the hunger scale. Understanding where you are at on the hunger scale, will help you to decide when you need something to eat, especially as you are working on building that trust back with your body.
Try and eat when you are at a 3 or a 4 on the hunger scale. Waiting until you are at a one can often lead to poor food choices and/or over-eating.
Print this graphic off and put it on your fridge so you can start to familiarize yourself with it and practice, practice, practice.
More questions? NEVER hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook, Instagram, wherever. I am here for YOU.