Ignoring hunger is a great way to slow down your metabolism and increase your cravings... NOT what any of us want!
Body distrust is a very common issue among our culture today. For any of you who are confused, body distrust sounds like this, "Feel hungry? Just drink some water and ignore the hunger pangs!" "Craving carbs? Here's a carb substitute that'll trick you into feeling full" or even "I'm so bad, I have to be on a diet!"
The answer is no, you do not need to be on a crazy diet to lose weight, because your body already knows what it needs to do, you just need to work on tapping into those cues! When we're babies, we actually know exactly how much food we need because there are no emotional or restrictive barriers, until our parents start to restrict things...like candy. Once the restrictions start, our mind will make us want those foods more. We'll glorify the cakes and cookies and before we know it, we constantly "break our diets" and go back on them, an endless cycle.
One study done on children showed how intuitive eating, rather than restriction can be beneficial. The children were presented with a variety of foods, including dessert during dinner time. During the first week, the children would choose to eat dessert every day, likely because it was deemed a "treat" and restricted by their parents so the idea of having dessert for dinner was more appealing. After the dessert was put on the table each night next to a healthy dinner, the children's feelings towards dessert neutralized and they started choosing dinner over dessert. The study suggests that not feeling restricted from "unhealthy" foods allowed for the children to eat intuitively, rather than emotionally.
The same would go for an adult who is on an extremely strict diet that their constantly falling off of. If you remove the restrictions, you will find yourself choosing healthy foods and feeling better overall. With the guidance of a dietitian, you can find what portion sizes and foods work best for your body and feel great in no time!
The all-or-nothing mindset that lurks in the shadows of diet culture, is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for weight fluctuation, binges, chaotic eating, and food anxiety. How can this pain be avoided? By listening to your body's hunger cues! If you remove dietary restrictions and your body receives the energy it needs on a regular basis, your chronic cravings and food obsession will likely dissipate.
Where to start? For many people, listening to their bodies is something they have avoided for years! Once learned, it will feel like it's second nature. Here's how to get started!
Two ways to start Intuitive Eating NOW:
1. Take a moment and jot down a time when you felt hungry. This may seem elementary, but many of us don't know we're hungry until we are ravenous.
2. Pause to check in occasionally. Hunger increases over time, and your goal should be to aim for eating somewhere between the initial hunger signs and ravenous hunger. You can use a hunger scale, found in the ebook above!