Hunger Awareness to Burn That Fuel!
A common theme that comes up when we talk about the challenges with our eating habits tend to include the following statements: “I love to eat so I eat all the time,” “ I don’t know how to stop eating once I start,” and even “I hardly eat because I’m never hungry.”
Although it may not seem like it, all of these statements represent the same primary issue: a lack of body and hunger awareness. Without this awareness, we can’t recognize our body’s nutritional needs which leads to overcompensating when we do eat or under eating which can BOTH increase fat and LOWER your metabolism! Don’t worry, it really is common for all of us but here are a few simple things to remember to help us turn things around:
1) Food provides our body with FUEL and it will always be something we need so it should be enjoyed, respected and appreciated. The higher the quality and the nutrition content, the less you have to worry about “stopping once you start,” etc. But if you’re still working on quality, learn your body’s signals for true hunger and always try to eat accordingly.
2) On a “Hunger Scale” from 1 to 10—“1” being absolutely starving and “10” being painfully full—your goal should be to never let yourself reach either extreme nor should you eat when you aren’t hungry at all like at a “5”. Eating when you’re at a level of “1” or “2” will almost always lead to over-eating. And then once you start, eating past the point of feeling satisfied, say at an “8” or “9”, is just giving your body more than it needs. Both of these habits, again, lead to added pounds.
3) Knowing that your body needs fuel to function properly, consider that the concept of true hunger is your metabolism working to burn that fuel. There’s a reason that we feel hungry after physical activity—our body’s engine is running and needs energy to keep going. Without feeding it properly, your metabolism will slow down as if in a state of starvation AND it will eventually start taking whatever nutrients it needs from your muscles or bones or anywhere else it can find it.
The body has an amazing ability to adjust to its environment so it’s up to you to give it what it needs and create healthier habits with the right mindset. Turn your body’s natural state of functioning around by learning what each signal means and keep that Hunger Scale in mind. Eat when you drop down to a “3-4” but no less (usually about 3-4 hours after your last meal) and then stop when you reach “6-7” (eat slowly and identify whether the next bite is something you really need or something you just want because it’s there). It’s going to feel different for everyone but you will get the hang of it with practice. Finally, don’t be afraid of hunger, or rather, encourage your body to function properly—give your body what it needs when it needs it and keep that metabolism BURNING!!!