One of the principles of intuitive eating is to honor your hunger. It sounds simple like that: I’m hungry, I eat, period.
In fact, honoring your hunger is more difficult than you might think when you had a heavy hitting streak and hunger was:
- A victory: yup I held all day without eating or eating very little, I feel hungry it means that I will lose weight.
- A nightmare: being hungry all day is really not pleasant, but we hold because it is not yet noon, or 8 p.m. or the time when we said we had the RIGHT to eat.
In these 2 cases, honoring your hunger is not part of the equation. To honor your hunger is not to wait to starve to go to eat, nor is it to eat at all costs because I am allowed, I honor my hunger …
The goal is to keep your body biologically nourished, because it needs it for the daily work. This is the foundation we are going to talk about.
Your body needs to know that it can count on you and that you are no longer (and forever) on a diet. It must know that it will have access to food as soon as it is biologically needed.
Why ? Because of constant dieting and therefore being on constant calorie restriction, your body is used to making reserves in anticipation of the next shortage. Not crazy!
How to honor your hunger?
To honor one’s hunger is to eat when our body biologically demands it, by sending the following typical signals:
- Growling stomach (not always hunger, can also be digestion)
- Empty feeling in stomach
- Light head
These signals you have already perceived them one day after a long time without eating, or they are unknown to you because you have always made sure to eat before these signals are sent (and therefore potentially overeating).
Practice this exercise
At the start it is a practical exercise to do, which will later become unconscious. You should try to record, formally or informally, where your hunger is on a scale of 1 to 10 before eating. Before you go to the table you are at 9 (I’m really not hungry) or are you at 2 (I am very hungry I can’t wait to eat). By doing this exercise several days in a row you will already realize that you do not always eat by hunger, but more by habit, by desire, by personal or professional constraint… Be careful however, by being too often at 2 or below , you are taking the risk of overeating because you are really hungry! So the idea is to sit at the table for eating when you feel around 3 or 4 on the scale of 10 (10 being I am absolutely not hungry).
Check out here all the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating