Last week, we talked about the importance of satisfaction in intuitive eating, and how to find your measure of satisfaction in fullness. This is different for everyone, but a common, important point in feeling satisfied is ensuring you are eating enough, or honoring your biological fullness.
If you aren’t honoring your hunger levels, then your body will constantly feel deprived and it will be hard for her to trust that she will be appropriately fed.
So, what are some ways you can ensure you are honoring your biological hunger?
1. Take note of your body’s hunger cues throughout the day after you eat a meal.
Are you hungry again 20 minutes after eating breakfast? That’s okay! Honor your hunger by eating another snack. Let your body know that you are listening to her.
However, if you find yourself hungry every day shortly after breakfast, perhaps you need to eat a heavier breakfast (or experiment with what you’re eating – for example, perhaps the cup of fruit isn’t cutting it, but an egg scramble would hold you over longer). This is totally okay as well. Really listen to your hunger cues and honor them.
2. Be okay with your hunger levels changing throughout the month.
Your hunger levels will shift throughout the month depending on where you are in your cycle. This is completely normal and expected. I’ve had clients text me before the week before their period saying “I am SO hungry this week! Should I trust it?!” When I say “Yes, you can trust it!” they feel such relief and are able to appropriately feed themselves, which in turn, leaves them feeling so much more calm. Honoring that hunger by incorporating more snacks or more food into your meals will help. Check-in with yourself and what you’re eating and make sure your meals/snacks have a variety of foods. For example: an apple with nut butter instead of just an apple. Your body is incredible, and she knows that she needs more fuel while she is working hard during your cycle.
3. Eat regularly throughout the day.
If you have an especially busy schedule, or have children to care for during the day, it is easy to work right through lunch and notice at 4pm that you are starving and just want all the food (by the way, this 4pm time is a time that many of my clients bring up as their toughest hour to listen to their body – usually it’s because they’re not allowing themselves to have something at this time because they feel it’s too close to dinner; or, they do allow themselves to have something, but they do it in a way where they feel so guilty that they end up eating enough to make themselves too full through dinner). Your blood sugar levels are likely off at this time, leading you to crave sugar for a quick spike. Instead of waiting for this moment, try to make it a point to eat regular meals/snacksthroughout the day.
If you know you will be especially busy, maybe throw a bar in your purse, or a Trader Joe’s snack pack to have on hand.
When I used to nanny all day, I would pack my food the night before (leftovers for the win!) to ensure I wasn’t stuck without food throughout the day. I didn’t always eat everything that I packed, but I never knew how hungry I would be. Since I was new to Intuitive Eating at the time, I wanted to make sure I could honor my body’s hunger levels at all times and not be without food. This fuel throughout the day will signal to your body that you aren’t depriving her.
4. Start practicing awareness around what signals your body sends you to let you know you’re hungry.
A rumble in your belly, a loss of focus/energy, a slight hollowness in your throat.
A small headache, or a change in mood.
These could all be signals that you are hungry! A grumbling belly doesn’t always have to be the only hunger signal. When your body needs food, you may notice other signs as well, and it varies from person to person. Take note of these signals, so you can begin to listen for them and experiment with what it feels like to eat something in these moments..
5. Get to know yourself and how you like to eat.
Do you like to eat every 2-3 hours? Or do you like your food to last you from meal to meal? Do you enjoy sweet foods in the morning or savory? Are you hungry as soon as you wake up or after a few hours?
There is no right or wrong answer, but knowing these things about yourself can help you plan for and prepare your meals and food preparation.
You ultimately are the best person to determine what is best for YOUR body.
So the next time you’re full or you get hungry sooner than you expect, instead of judging yourself, appreciate the signal your body (she) is sending you. Appreciate that she is communicating with you and get excited that she’ll continue to communicate with you!
If you need support with this, I’d love to help you.
Here are two ways you can recieve my coaching support:
- Join The Growth Vault (my monthly intuitive eating coaching membership program)
- Book a Discovery Session and let’s connect as you explore working together one on one
I hope that helps and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!