We have all been there. You open that packages of the newest Oreo flavor promising yourself just one. Secretly, you were wishing you wouldn’t love the flavor but you find that you actually love it and go back for more (maybe you ate three or maybe you ate twenty). After you’ve indulged more, in the end, you find yourself feeling guilty for enjoying those Oreo. You proceed to promise yourself that you are going to hit the gym hard tomorrow, eat fewer calories and keep up this routine a few days. However, after a couple days you find yourself doing the same thing. Those Oreos are still in the cupboard and you want just one more. The good news is… you are not alone. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of other people, probably struggle with not following intuitive eating too.
The amazing this about our body (well, there are tons of amazing things about our body) is that the brain and the stomach are constantly communicating with one another. The hypothalamus receives chemical messages from your stomach letting you know when you are hungry and when you are full.
As adults, we have become conditioned, due to celebrating holidays, birthdays, a work schedule, etc to eat at certain times. Because these habits have formed with that comes emotional connections to food. Think of things like cake for birthdays, pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, ice cream after a breakup, greasy french fries after a night of drinking, etc. This leads us to have more of an emotional connection with food than actually listening to what our bodies need. Our bodies are super important and tell us every day what it wants–we just need to listen.
When you listen to your body, you don’t have to worry about overeating. Your body will tell you when enough is enough.
The first couple of questions to get past are pretty basic, but they are ones we fail over and over again, which is why we end up overeating –
Am I thirsty?
Am I bored?
If you get past the first two then it is time to really tap into your body and intuitively listen to what it is saying.
4 Tips for Practicing Intuitive Eating
- How hungry are you? Find a scale system that you can use to assess your hunger. It can be as simple as a scale from 1-10. 10 being you are so hungry, you are now hangry and could bite someone’s heads off while biting into a big juicy burger at the same time. 1 being you just finished eating a bit ago and would be uncomfortable if you ate anything more.
- Don’t eat until you are at a high 6 or 7 (if you are using the 1-10 scale example above). An example of this feeling would be, you are feeling hungry but can wait until you the 20 minutes it takes to cook your meal and sit down at the table to eat, without snacking while you are cooking.
- Eat slow. It takes your stomach a bit to catch up to your mouth. It not only takes your stomach time to catch up with your mouth but your stomach then to tell your brain.
- Stop eating when you reach a 3. If you eat more than a 3, then you are most likely going to feel too full and uncomfortable, while getting the feeling of overindulging.
Challenge yourself to do this for at least a week. Practicing these habits will get you more and more into intuitive eating being second nature.
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