When you discuss making healthy lifestyle changes with people one question that always comes up is “How do I actually know when I’m hungry?”
This question comes up because all too often nowadays we eat out of boredom or stress or because it is fun and social and the food is delicious.
We aren’t really listening anymore to what our bodies NEED.
Many of us aren’t even really sure what true hunger feels like.
I found the best way to learn to eat only when I’m hungry is through intermittent fasting.
Through fasting I took the emphasis off of eating at certain times of days, off of having to eat certain meals even if I wasn’t hungry.
I gave myself time to truly get hungry. I also gave myself time to realize I wasn’t going to die if I didn’t eat immediately after the first hunger pangs.
Through fasting I was giving myself time to realize what hunger was. I wasn’t starving myself – I was still eating plenty of calories to support my daily activities; I was just eating them in a shorter period of time.
So through fasting I taught myself to understand when I was truly hungry.
But I was also teaching myself how to NOT eat when I wasn’t hungry.
It sounds like the same thing right? Eating when you are hungry and not eating when you aren’t hungry?
But it really isn’t.
Eating when you are hungry means you understand what hunger vs. boredom feels like.
But not eating when you aren’t hungry has everything to do with mentally overcoming the desire to eat when you know you are just bored….which is honestly probably the biggest battle.
Many of us know when we are stress eating…Yet all too often we still do it.
That is because not eating when we aren’t hungry isn’t as simple as eating when we are hungry!
Intermittent fasting also helped me with this because it forced me to really think about whether I was hunger and would want to break my fast or if I just wanted to eat for another reason.
Since I set out to not eat till a certain time, it gave me a goal, an incentive to not break my fast unless I truly was hungry.
It forced me to think and it gave me time to overcome my desire to eat even when I wasn’t truly hungry.
Now I only fast when I’m completely not hungry. Some days I don’t eat till the afternoon. Others I eat right upon waking. It all just depends on when I’m hungry.
Now I’m more in tune with my body.
I’m even more in tune with not eating when not hungry, although there are times when I most definitely slip up.
As I said before that is a mental and emotional battle that we all sometimes struggle with.
The key with it is to not get down on ourselves when we fail.
No matter how in tune you are with your body, you are going to occasional eat even when you aren’t hungry.
As I was thinking about eating only when you are hungry and searching for other opinions and articles, I stumbled onto Charlotte’s post over at The Great Fitness Experiment and loved the tips she gave the reader about NOT eating when you AREN’T hungry. It also really got me thinking about the difference between eating when hungry and not eating when you aren’t hungry.
While intermittent fasting helped me get more in tune with my body, it may not work for you. Check out some of her tips as well and start truly listening to what your body needs!
How did you help yourself become more in tune with your body?
Sidenote: Here is an interesting article on nutrition and sleep!