We are born naturally honoring our appetite, and connected to the internal cues, and signals our body gives us when hunger strikes. Eating when we feel hungry, and simply stopping when we feel satisfied. Yet, somewhere along the way we disconnect.
Diet culture teaches us to work against our body, and to control and ignore these hunger and satiety signals. It gives us extreme “rules” to follow, telling us when we can eat, how much we can eat, and what to eat. We stop trusting the wisdom of our body, and our natural appetite, and leave it to a “diet” program to tell us when we are hungry, and when we have had enough…. regardless if we have or not.
When we don’t honor our appetite, by either ignoring our hunger signals, not eating enough, or giving it enough nutrients, our body will respond by building a shield of protection. This happens in order to save us from starvation. This response includes….
*Slowing down our metabolism – We need a certain amount of calories and nutrients each day, in order to keep our body and all of our bodily functions working efficiently. When we don’t eat enough and give our body what it needs, our body will slow down our metabolism. This is a protective measure to preserve its resources, so we use less energy.
*Increasing the drive to eat – The more we deny and ignore our natural appetite, the more intense our food cravings and obsession around food can become. When food does become available again, survival mode kicks in, and we are driven to over-eat, almost uncontrollably. This happens, to ensure that we get more food in now when it is available, in case our body is deprived of food again in the future.
To honor our appetite, we need to break up with the “rules” diet culture has set for us, and reconnect with our body again. Paying attention to the internal cues as to when we are physically hungry, and allowing ourselves to honor those feelings and eat. But, also being mindful to stop when we are satisfied and not overly full.
Here are some common signals our body gives us when we are hungry :
Once we begin to connect with these internal hunger cues, we can then start to use the scale below to help us identify with our hunger and fullness level.
Everyone has their own unique appetite, but ideally we want to be sitting around a 4 – 6 range. This has us eating before we get too hungry and stopping before we get too full. Eating in this range also helps us create a healthier relationship around food/eating, as we are not depriving ourselves.
Remember though, sometimes life will get in the way and we will eat when we are not really hungry, be busy and let ourselves get too hungry, or enjoy what we are eating so much that we overeat. It happens and it’s all part of normal eating. Simply do your best and forgive the rest. xx