In part one of this series, I talked about WHAT to eat for your unique body—which foods give you energy and which foods take it away. But, if you want to get big results then WHAT you eat is only part of the big picture. We also have to look at HOW you eat. In other words, who are you being when you eat? Do you eat when you’re not actually hungry because it’s noon and you’re mentally programmed that at noon it’s time to eat? Do you eat too little or too much for your body’s energy needs?
This week, let's dive into what I call honoring your hunger and fullness scale so you’ll have a deeper understanding of this.
Simply put, honoring your hunger and fullness scale is about eating when you are truly hungry and finishing your meal before you're bursting at the seams!
So, let's start with honoring hunger.
The way we honor hunger is by recognizing what happens to us internally before we get hungry. Instead of waiting until you’re so hungry you could eat a horse, you tune in to the internal signal that the body needs nourishment.
It’s kind of like the gas tank on your car. There’s a buffer zone when you get in the red. When the gas light first appears, depending on your car you may have 20-30 miles to go before you actually run out of gas and come to a halt.
We don’t want to wait until we run out of gas to eat. If we do, that’s when the "crazy" unleashes. If you're anything like me, you get what I call hangry. I become an unreasonable bitch and snap at those around me. Others end up with eyes glazing over and slumping into their chair unable to do anything. When this happens, we end up eating things that we wouldn’t normally choose to eat simply because it’s within reach and we feel desperate.
If you let yourself get too hungry, it’s almost impossible to think clearly or make good decisions for yourself. The need to feel physically full becomes so irresistible you’ll eat almost anything—five pieces of toast, a candy bar, a whole pint of ice cream, cocoa powder with a spoon, tomato sauce and breadsticks. You get the picture, and I have no doubt that you've got some of your own crazy eats when you've gotten too hungry.
And even after you eat all that, you may still feel unsatisfied because it wasn’t a real meal. The body’s appetite mechanism is still searching for the meal, and it won’t shut down until you’ve had what feels like a meal.
So how do we gauge our hunger?
So, the first step is to recognize your hunger and what the signs of hunger are for you. The trick is to plan for nourishment when notice any hunger starting to kick in to avoid making poor food decisions or going on a binge.
Now let’s talk about honoring fullness.
Similar to how we assess our hunger, we can use a similar approach to fullness. What we want to avoid is eating to the point in which we need to unbutton our pants to breathe. You want to get to a point where you feel nourished and energized from your meal—in other words satiated not stuffed. The goal is to eat to about 75% fullness.
Seems simple, right?
Here’s the problem—most of us have habits of eating beyond fullness. Like when you go out for Chinese food and there’s so much food, it’s just sitting there in front of you and it tastes so good so you pick off one more piece from the serving dish...then you are engaged in conversation and you mindlessly pick another piece, before you know it your belly hurts and you’re wishing you didn’t overeat.
So, let’s talk about creating some new habits—especially around fullness because that’s where most people get tripped up. I have 6 tips for you:
1. Start planning what and when to eat when you are at a level 2 on the hunger/fullness scale.
2. Eat high-energy foods that your body wants.
3. Eat for energy (aim for Level 7 on your inner intuitive scale, versus a Level 10 when you’re so full you have to unzip your pants!
4. Make a physical gesture that your meal is complete by pushing your plate away, putting a napkin over it, or crossing your silverware.
5. Declare out loud to yourself or whomever you are eating with that you are full. This will dissuade you from continuing to eat because you’ve already announced that the meal was complete for you.
6. If you’re out, ask your server to box up the rest of the meal so it’s not calling you hither.
If you've lost touch with how physical hunger and fullness actually feel, download my Hunger Scale E-Guide. It will can help you tune back into to your body and help you determine whether your desire to eat comes from real hunger or other reasons.
Ready to take it all further? Contact me today to schedule a free 45-minute breakthrough session.