Welcome back. We are now halfway through the 10-week intuitive eating series. In the last talk you learnt all about the food police. You learnt about that little voice inside your head that’s constantly telling you what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
In this weeks video you are going to hear about recognizing and honoring your fullness. Now for those who are just joining, if you have not watched the first half of this series then we do recommend you going back and taking a look at each talk. All of these principles do tend to work together so we believe taking a look at the whole series would be really beneficial. You can find links below to the other videos.
If you know anybody who’s wanting to create a kind and nourishing relationship with food please share this with them.
Intuitive Eating Video – Week 5
Many of us are stuck in patterns of eating without savoring our food and without enjoying our food. It becomes tricky to really tap into what it feels like when our body is satisfied and has had enough. We eat in a hurry, we eat on the run, we eat standing up, we eat in the car, we eat when we’re distracted or we eat when we think we should eat according to the clock.
We have this idea that we need to finish everything on the plate and all of these things pull us away from our internal cues of satisfaction and fullness. A big part of creating a healthy relationship with food is learning to recognize when you’ve had enough. Respecting your fullness comes down to one very important key factor which we’ve spoke about in prior videos and that is giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you are not doing this it is very easy to go back past fullness. If you are eating a food that you’re not supposed to be eating it only makes sense that you’re going to eat as much of it as you can since you’re never going to eat it again.
Since you’re not supposed to eat a certain food you have all of these restrictions and rules around food that we slip into. You have that got to get it all in mentality
Step number one with respecting your fullness is to give yourself unconditional mission to eat what you want and when you want it. From there we really want to avoid starving ourselves and stuffing ourselves. We want to stay in that comfortable zone of building an appetite and then eating to a place of satisfaction and energy and fullness.
A great tool to help you start to identify what fullness feels like in your body is the hunger scale that was shared a few weeks back. This is a tool that helps to give you some cues and directions to understand what fullness might feel like in your body. Do remember that this is a very personal experience and it’s really something you have to practice knowing from the inside out. Ultimately what you want to start practicing and noticing is what does it feel like to be comfortably satiated in your body. Some people say that it feels like a comfortable fullness, other people say that it doesn’t feel like anything, it doesn’t feel like being full or it doesn’t feel like being empty. I personally think of it as eating to a point of energy.
When I’m hungry and I’m feeling a little depleted and I eat something I feel like I’m revved up again and I’m ready to go. But as mentioned this is a very personal thing and it is something that you’re going to want to discover for yourself with the signals from your own body. It’s much easier to recognize when your body is comfortably satisfied knowing you have permission to eat again later. It’s much easier to stop when you’re ready to stop.
If you have a bunch of food rules and regulations around what you can and can’t eat it gets a little bit trickier. This is because that something clicks off in our brain that maybe whats to get it in while we can. So ultimately what we’re looking for here is for our body to guide us, in telling us what we want to eat, when we want to eat and how much we want to eat.
When you start to practice this you want to be hyper aware when you are eating so you can really tune in to the subtle signs of being satiated. This of course is not something that you need to do at every meal. Just pick one meal per day that you can use as your practice ground. A great way is to check in with your meal after you’ve eaten about halfway through the meal. Ask yourself the following things. Number one, are you enjoying the taste of what you are eating in this moment. Or are you not enjoying it and just going through the motions of eating it because it’s what’s in front of you. If that’s the case then you want to give yourself permission to stop eating it and choose a food that you are really going to enjoy and you can really savor in the moment.
The second thing you want to check is if you are completely satisfied. Are you still hungry? Are you beginning to reach a point of fullness? Are you satisfied with the meal? Are you needing more? Or are you just about rounding out. You can really use this as an opportunity to use the hunger scale to help guide you along. Try putting words to the sensations that you’re having in your body and get really good at identifying your hunger level and your fullness level. Ultimately you want to get good at noticing when you reach that point of feeling really satisfied and nourished and energized by your meal.
The third thing you want to do is when finished eating is to check in with yourself one more time and say, ‘At what point of fullness am I? Do I feel good? Do I feel nourished? Do I feel satisfied and energized? Or did I eat a little bit too much?’.
Remember that this is a practice. This is not about you getting it right every single time and never overeating or eating a little bit too much. It’s about you learning to be in that relationship with your body and with the food that you’re eating so that you have a better understanding and you can eat and enjoy food in a way that makes you feel good. The more you’re able to honor your hunger, which is principle number two in this series, the easier is going to be to recognize your fullness and know when you’ve had enough to eat.
So remember that all of these principles work together and it’s simply an ongoing practice of noticing, adjusting and tweaking. Also it’s important to note that just because you’ve noticed that you are satiated it doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating. Sometimes we still want that little extra something. Maybe you’re satiated and you want to still have that ice cream cone with your kids or you want to go get that cappuccino with your husband or your girlfriend or yourself. This isn’t about being perfect. This is about learning to recognize your body’s signals and cues and then being in a relationship with food that ebbs and flows.
Ultimately the body craves homeostasis – it wants to be in balance. It will find that stable condition when given the opportunity to. So if you do have a little more for one or two days or even for a whole entire week, eventually the body will find its balance. If you allow yourself to trust that process a little bit, it might be a very interesting experience to watch how it unfolds.
How do you actually know if you have over eaten? Again this is very personal and it will vary from person to person. Some common side effects or feelings that we experience when we overeat are when you notice that you are eating mechanically, you’re not savoring and enjoying the food anymore or the food doesn’t taste really good to you anymore. These are signs that you could be done eating.
Another sign is that you are no longer enjoying the food or simply that your feeling stuffed and uncomfortable or you may feel sluggish after you eat. As mentioned previously you want your eating to bring you to a point of energy. What you find if you wait until you’re hungry, this often creates a dip in you energy and our focus. Then when you eat again you should feel like refueled and ready to go. So those are all some signs to keep a lookout for but of course ultimately you will have your own with your own body.
So continue to pay attention and also note that being busy, being stressed or being distracted can make it a lot harder to tune into those natural body signals.
If you find that you ate a meal and did overeat do not use it as an opportunity to beat yourself up or to be hard on yourself. Just notice it and stay curious and use it as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. You do not have to use it as an opportunity to restrict food at your next meal. Simply wait until you feel hungry again and then you just continue on business as usual.
One last tip that you will find very helpful and you can find in the Intuitive Eating book is to create a little ritual or habit for yourself. For example once you have decided that you’ve had enough food you simply push your plate away or you take your fork and your knife and just cross them on your plate or maybe you put your napkin over your plate. Just a simple action so in this way when you have finished eating and you find yourself sitting and you get into that snacky mode or you go for a couple extra bites you just have some type of visual cue to remind you that you have decided to stop eating at this point. I personally like this tip because I know if I’m at the dinner table with my family and I have finished eating but we are still there chatting and they are still eating, I have a tendency to continue picking. So just giving that visual cue with something that really resonated with me and perhaps it will resonate with you.
To tie this all together we want to remember that rule number one is full permission to eat what you want and when you want it. So taking the mental rules and restrictions off of your food. We want to make sure that we’re limiting our distractions when we’re eating and that we’re really present with the meal and enjoying the food that we’re eating. Then you pay attention and honor your signals of fullness and hunger. These really do work together. So when you feel yourself feeling hungry and you have some food, it’s much easier to notice the signs of fullness that your body is trying to share with you.
As we are constantly reiterating, the goal here is not perfection, it’s not to do it right every single time. This is not a diet substitute. This is a practice so use it as that and don’t get harsh and tight and critical around the whole thing. You want to stay easy and curious. We are simply reflecting on physical sensations and then practicing honoring them. Finally if you find that you are taking all of these tips and you still want to eat when you’re not hungry. Or you’re full but you’re not satisfied when you’re done eating make sure that you tune in over the next couple weeks because we are going to be diving into those experiences as well.
Thank you for following along with part 5 in our 10 week intuitive eating series. Next we are going to be talking about a favorite food topic which is being satisfied and receiving the pleasure from the meal that you’re eating. So be sure to come back to the next talk by Dani Spies. In the meantime as always please share your thoughts, your questions, your ideas, your experiences and those aha moments down in the comments section below.
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