Tuning In and Seeing Your Cues
Intuitive eating might sound vague and confusing if you aren’t familiar with it, but the main idea of intuitive eating is to toss aside restrictive dieting rules and eat according to your hunger and fullness cues, focusing on what feels good for your body.
Seems easy enough, right? If you are used to eating by the clock or yo-yo dieting, it can be hard to let go of old ways, so keep in mind this can take practice. Some of us are fortunate enough to live in an environment where appetizing food is always at our finger tips, so we don’t just eat to fuel our bodies but also to:
- comfort ourselves in times of emotional stress
- celebrate special occasions
- socialize with friends and family
- satisfy cravings
- combat boredom
Is it “bad” to eat for these reasons? Of course not, but it is important to be aware of how cues in our environment influence when and what we eat. Environmental cues can be the sight or smell of food, and these associations we form create habits. A good example of this is the desire to eat popcorn at the movie theatre. Once you step into the theatre and smell fresh buttery popcorn and hear people around you eating it, it can be pretty hard to resist! Recognizing your own environmental cues is the first step toward eating according to your hunger cues. When you get the urge to eat, take this moment to tune in to your body and understand whether this is a hunger cue or something else. If you’re new to this, it can help to go to a quiet place that you do not associate with eating. Ask yourself: Am I hungry? How do I know? What am I feeling right now? Try to place your level of hunger on a scale from 1 to 10.
In general, if you rate your hunger between 3 to 7 you will feel comfortable and satisfied when you eat. If you feel out of control around food and cannot address your emotional needs alone, seek the help of a healthcare professional specially trained in obesity management. Once you begin to let go of diet rules that make you feel guilty and allow your intuition to guide how you eat, you can start to build a healthier, happier relationship with food.
Want to learn more about intuitive eating or managing your relationship with food? Contact us today!
Author: Erin Martin