This post is going to be filled (hopefully) with information that you can use IMMEDIATELY in your life to start making changes. All I ask is that you give yourself the gift of a few minutes of reading this without any distractions (yup, put your phone down & turn the tv off).. you deserve this moment! 🙂
I’m going to share:
- Why you don’t know how to listen to your body
- How to start listening to your body again
- What happens when you start trying to listen to your body again
So, a big piece of eating intuitively (or “finding balance with food”) is learning to listen to your body.
Your body is the one tool you truly need in order to get to a weight that’s right for you. If you listen to your body it will naturally help you stay fit, healthy, light, and energetic.
But, if you’ve been dieting for a while, you may not actually KNOW how to listen to your body.
These tips will help you lose or maintain weight without having to be on a diet.
- Diets tell us how much to eat, when to eat, and what to have. These types of plans tell us that we can’t trust our bodies.
- Strict plans push us further and further from our natural, innate, instinctual hunger cues. Which means it’s going to be HARD to get back to that place where you can hear your body’s natural signals.
- Am I hungry? (most of you have heard me mention this)
Check in with yourself! Are you actually eating when you’re hungry? Are you mindlessly walking into the kitchen after work because you think you “should” eat (I get it because that was a habit of mine)!! Ask yourself “Am I hungry?” and if not, then ask yourself what you need INSTEAD in that moment!
When you’re eating with the tv on, a magazine in front of you, or scrolling through your phone you can’t fully experience the food. If you’re wanting MORE food when you’re done then it could be because you weren’t enjoying it the way you could have been if your attention was focused on eating. You’ll feel satisfaction easier if you just focus on eating.
- Pause/take half of what you want
A little trick I learned is that I usually don’t need as much food as I think I do (our stomachs are pretty small), so I started taking HALF of what I would normally take (knowing that I could go back for more if I wanted). Since I only took half, I was able to pause and check in to see if I really wanted more, or if I was feeling content.
- Let yourself get hungry
Try to put away the thought process that you have to eat at certain times. Our bodies have different wants and needs everyday. Try listening/feeling for hunger as a signal to let you know you’re ready for some food. Sometimes we eat because we think it’s time, not actually because we’re hungry (which then makes it harder to gage how much food you actually need).
- Eat slow
I’m not kidding! This simple thing makes all the difference. Put your fork down in between bites. Breathe. Sit up tall. Taste the food, and chew slower (it’s good for digestion!). I’m not trying to be bossy because I’m perfect at these (I am nowhere NEAR perfect).. I have to remind myself of these little tweaks all the time!
- Do I taste the food?
While you’re eating, ask yourself if you even taste the food. Does the food taste as good as you wanted it to?
- Satisfaction cues
People often say they’re either hungry or full.. they try to find a middle ground where they’re “satisfied” but find it hard to do so. I am going to do a whole email on this topic in a few weeks! Stay tuned. 🙂
- Without emotional distress
Arguing with a loved one at the table? Just getting home from an emotional day at work? Had a crisis in your life? Try to eat when you’re feeling calm or more settled from those things. When we’re upset, flustered, or distracted we can’t taste the food as much as we want to and so we end up eating more to chase that taste.
- Make notes of how much you actually needed
How much food was actually satisfying for you? Start to become aware of this!
- Understand that each day will be different and be willing to go with it
Basically know that emergencies come up, things shift and change, and one day you might crave different things than the next.. it’s OKAY! It’s called being “human” or an “intuitive eater” – go with it!
Here’s a meal I had this week (I don’t eat meat FYI, this is a veggie dog hehe, I posted it on my Instagram @eatworkplaybalanced) that I could only finish half of. Then, a few days later I had the same thing and ate it all! It just depends! Don’t beat yourself up about it or overthink too much!
- You might find yourself thinking things like:
“Am I actually hungry? I can’t tell.”
“Do I want food? Or do I want something else?”
“I only ate a little bit and I’m starting to feel satisfied, is that okay?”
“I have to go a couple hours where I can’t get to any food, and I’m not hungry now… but should I eat anyway just in case?”
“There’s food here that looks really good, but I’m not hungry. What do I do?!”
“Is this enough food?”
“Oops, I’m accidentally stuffed. I was trying to listen to my body!”
“I think I’m satisfied, I think I’ve had enough. Is this what that feels like?”
Are any of these thoughts wrong? Nope, they’re all part of the process. It will take a while, but eventually you’ll start to understand, and stop questioning things so much! 🙂
Like I have said in videos/previous emails, think of listening to your body as a SKILL you need to LEARN and practice in order for it to become natural! Just like if you were learning to swim or ride a bike for the first time.
- You might feel like a failure. You might think you’re never going to be able to listen to your body. You might find yourself bummed that you can’t tell if you’re satisfied or not (right away). You might feel like you’re going to overeat all the time and lose control (get past this hump and you’ll find peace with food! Seriously!), but with time you will GET THERE! I promise!!
I hope these were helpful tips!!!