Are you Doing Intuitive Eating Right?

 A big part of developing your HWM (Happy Weight Mentality- Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss) is allowing your body to show you what your hunger rhythm feels like.  

But we soon-to-be ex-dieters have a huge fear of hunger!

We remember those times when we went to bed hungry, or ordered the smaller portion that wasn't enough.  

Dieting teaches us to fear hunger.  

But you must dismantle your fear of hunger in order to lose weight as an intuitive eater.  That doesn't mean tolerating hunger and not eating!  Let me explain.  

Dieting taught you that you were NOT ALLOWED when you WERE HUNGRY.

And that bitter experience resonates deep within your body's memory.  Your body does NOT want you to do that again.

But intuitive eating is about NOT EATING when you are NOT HUNGRY.

When you build your HWM, you do not deny hunger.  But you first have to learn what your true hunger feels like.  And if you are afraid of your hunger, you cannot do that!

You need self talk like, "I am starting to feel hunger, but I am going to allow it to "bloom" so that I can experience what my unique hunger actually feels like."  Your goal is to get to know your hunger drive, not to avoid it.   

When you let your body feel this, you see hunger not as something to avoid, but something to joyfully anticipate because you WILL EAT.   

But if you rush to fulfill your hunger the minute you feel the first sign, you won't give your body a chance to show you the full range, depth and rhythm of your hunger. 

You need to give your body time to express that hunger to you, not just that first slight feeling, but a strong consistent hunger.  

You need to experience that first feeling of hunger as a precursor to true hunger, not as a cue to EAT NOW.  

Sometimes true hunger will come on very strong after that first signal, other times it will not.  But in any case, your job is to stay calm, and not fear this feeling of hunger.  Your job is to feel it, happily, because you ARE going to answer it with something you LOVE.

Because as long as you can afford food, you have no need to fear!

You must give your body a chance to lean into this hunger- not smother it right away!

If that makes you nervous, I understand.  And people who have lived with food shortages created by dieting, live with a bit of a post traumatic stress regarding eating.

But, again, you need to calm yourself down.  You need to notice your hunger, pay attention to it, and be grateful that you can answer it. 

This does not mean waiting until you are hangry to eat.   But wait until that smart body of yours is sending you a consistent hunger signal.  

I call this Stage 2 hunger. 

Stage 1 is the absence of hunger,

Stage 3 is hangry. 

Make sure you are fully in Stage 2 when you eat.  Again, that would be a consistent feeling of hunger.

Because hunger is not a straight line.  You need to FEEL that for yourself so that you don't panic at the first sign of hunger!!

This way you will learn to recognize your hunger, let your body experience it so you know what if feels like, and learn to respond to your hunger in the way that leaves you feeling the best.

And what food would that be?

Well to determine that you need to take into account your body's reaction to the food:

  • As you eat,
  • Right after you eat
  • Several hours or a day later.

For example, if you are hungry and you eat something that tastes great in the moment, but leaves you feeling poorly later, then you must remember that and respect that direction from your body.  

As you become an intuitive eater, you will learn so much about your hunger, your appetite, what food you truly love.  Your desire for those forbidden foods that you thought you loved may fade away. 

Or you may realize that two cookies actually do satisfy you, and you don't even want the whole sleeve.  

And when these realizations pile up, which they will, you will understand the beauty, wisdom and joy of eating intuitively.