How do you know that you are hungry? What information does your body give you to alert "hunger"?
When untangling the web of of a dysfunctional relationship to food, this is a key piece of the puzzle. Yo-yo dieting and rigid food rules disconnect us from knowing what hunger is.
The first step is to simply start asking yourself: "how do I know that I am hungry?"
Then be curious and see where in your body you feel hunger. Belly? Throat? Mouth? Head?
You may realize that you don't actually need fuel but have a hunger for something else.
Once we identify "hunger" and what it's for, we must then choose to HONOR IT.
So if your hunger IS for food, you honor that hunger and eat some quality food (even if your mind is saying you "shouldn't" because you're trying to lose weight- this thinking is skewed, love).
If you discover that your hunger is for pleasure or to be engaged, you honor that by doing something that engages all of your senses in a pleasurable way.
If your hunger is for connection, you honor that by connecting with someone.
If really, you're just tired, you honor that by taking a power nap or stretching/breathing/meditating. (REST IS PRODUCTIVE!)
If your hunger is for creativity or beauty, you honor that by looking at, or creating, something beautiful (or listening to beautiful music, etc).
I know this isn't always as easy as I'm presenting it.
For a lot of people with food or emotional eating struggles, the feeling of "hunger" is always for food. I used to be one of those people!
When I first started this process, when I would reach for food, instead of analyzing calories or whether I could "allow" myself to eat it as I had previously done ~ I would evaluate if I was truly needing fuel.
After creating a lot of self-awareness through mindfulness practice and relating to my body in new ways, it now is crystal clear in a moment what I need.
Sometimes I check in and discover that yes, my body needs fuel; the gas tank is low.
So the follow-up question in this instance is: what kind of fuel does it need? Protein? Fat? Greens? (all of the above usually;)) ~ I then give it what's it's asking for.
If it's NOT for fuel, the follow-up question I get curious about is: what it is I'm REALLY hungry for?
..and I give myself THAT.
The bottom line is to ALWAYS HONOR your hunger, no matter what it is for.
As someone who used to read articles about "how to overcome emotional eating" that gave advice like this, I know more than anyone that it's not so simple as doing what I just outlined.
It can be confusing or you check in and get...nothing.
Have faith and hope, gorgeous.
What will take you from where you are now to doing this with ease is MINDFULNESS.
Mindful eating and intuitive eating are SKILLS you develop. If I could develop them, you can too.
That's what that connects all of these pieces: the ABILITY to tune in and discern.
You learn it, you choose it, you create it, you then HAVE IT.
And then you also have:
Peace. Freedom. Confidence in your food choices and how you treat your body.
For life. No more controlling and willpower-ing your way through.
You got this, gorgeous.
p.s. For some solid structure and support around this, I will soon be launching an online Mindful Eating group program. To be the first to know when the doors open, go here and get on the waiting list HERE.