For my latest U.S. News Eat+Run blog post, I chose a seemingly simple topic that many people struggle with: eating when hungry… or shall I say, not hungry… or even more specifically rationalizing reasons to eat that may have nothing to do with real physical hunger.
What is Hunger, Anyway?
Hunger is our intuitive signal that tells us we need to eat. That little rumble we feel in our stomachs, a dip in energy, as well as the growl we hear, is hunger speaking to us. These feelings and noises are a good thing because they helps us regulate our food intake and our body’s digestion process.
Hunger for Food or Something Else?
However, many of us ignore our intuition and instead listen to other factors that lead to self-sabotage. We most often eat for reasons other than hunger because we justify excuses to ourselves. It is important to realize that telling yourself that you can eat whatever you want because you had a bad day or because you already ate something unhealthy is only hurting yourself.
If you are reading this and realizing that you have used self-sabotage in the past, here are some ways to squash it:
- Make a list of all the “rationales” you have told yourself about reasons to eat. Write down next to each one whether it is realistic for positive self care or if it allows you to pursue bad habits.
- Whenever you begin to think one of these rationales, pause, write it down again and ask yourself if it is the best choice you could make right now.
- Pay attention to your hunger signs! Be able to decipher if you want a certain food because you are hungry or if you are just craving it or trying to avoid something uncomfortable. If you are actually hungry, then go eat. Your body needs nourishment. If not, address what emotions you are feeling.
- Be patient! It takes time to change but finally learning to listen to your hunger will help you live a healthy life!
For more tips on how to help squash self-sabotage and listen to your hunger read the full article here!
Resources: Check out the book Intuitive Eating if you really want to build different eating skills. I studied under one of the authors, Evelyn Tribole for nutrition supervision and it completely changed my outlook on eating habits.