One of the most common concerns clients share with me when we begin working together is that they are completely confused when it comes to recognizing and honoring their hunger. They have been following diet rules and plans for when to eat and how much for so long that they have completely blunted their ability to trust their internal cues of hunger and fullness.
They just don’t feel that grumbling stomach sensation so many of us associate with hunger, or they feel they need to wait way too long in order to sense any level of hunger at which point they are overly hungry and end up overeating.
Can you relate?
If you are feeling the same I am going to share with you what I share with my clients – there is more than one way to feel hunger!
While we immediately think of a growling stomach, here are a few other ways to help you identify hunger and honor your internal cues if you are feeling confused.
1. Energy Levels
When your body has run out of the fuel you’ve given it aka utilized the energy it received from your previous meal, your blood sugar will start to go down which signals to your body that you are low on energy and need to eat.
While you many not feel a growing stomach you may notice a dip in energy, moodiness, and having a hard time focusing. These are all signs that your body needs to refuel and you need to eat something to get those energy levels up and your body functioning at its best.
Once you eat – notice if there is a change in energy level and mental clarity. If there is, it is further proof that your body was hungry and you needed to eat, even if you didn’t feel it in your stomach.
2. Increased Food Thoughts
Do you notice that you are thinking about a delicious cookie or refreshing salad out of the blue? That may be your brain’s way of telling you that you need to seek food and eat!
Your body has some amazing mechanisms at play to make sure your body gets what it needs. One of them is making you notice and think about food as a reminder that you need to find something to eat (ever notice how you start to day dream about every delicious food on the planet when you are fasting? To be clear, I’m referring to religious Jewish fast days, NOT some unnecessary detox)
3. Food Tastes Better
If you suspect you are hungry, really take the time to notice the flavor and texture of the first bite as its typically the most delicious one. Again, this is your body’s way of motivating you to eat when it is low on energy. It is a survival mechanism. As you get fuller, the tastes begins to dissipate. It may still taste good – it just won’t be as good as those first few bites because your body is telling you its refueled and no longer need to motivate you to eat.
If you have difficulty recognizing hunger and honoring it time you can also practice checking in every 2 to 3 hours (max 4 hours) and assess if you need to eat something. Consistently giving your body the nourishment it needs throughout the day will also help your body begin to trust that it will receive the energy it needs and internal cues can restore themselves.
Want more guidance and clarity to identify, trust, and honor hunger and fullness cues so you can eat with confidence and satisfaction?
My 6 week self-paced online program Break Free From Binge Eating takes you through a step by step process that gives you the skills you need to make peace with food, trust your body’s signals, and eat in a way that feels good to you!
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