Hi, Friends! Happy week 20 in this 52 weeks to 52 healthy habits series! This week we are continuing with the Intuitive Eating series. Did anyone else find last weeks challenge as hard as I did? I thought I had all the aspects of intuitive eating down but apparently not because I found myself fighting the eating/multi-tasking urge again and again. Eventually, I resolved to have at least one focused meal per day, but my ultimate goal is 2-3. How was it for you?
I’m 100% confident that every single one on one nutrition counseling client I’ve ever had has asked me in some form about meal timing. I agree those are situations when you should be mindful of what you are eating, but as far as determining IF you should eat (e.g., after a workout, before bed, etc.), my answer is always the same.
Are you hungry? Are you craving certain foods at certain times? Could you wait until you are hungry?
When I was calorie counting religiously, I held off eating at certain times of the days to bank calories and when I ate when I wasn’t hungry because I had x calories left. I taught myself to rely on external cues to tell me when I could and couldn’t eat. I ended up gaining weight from my wrecked metabolism, and it wasn’t until I started eating by tuning into my hunger cues that my weight went back down to normal. That is why it is so important that you learn to be a master of your hunger cues, be comfortable with small levels of hunger and learn when that switch my flip to HANGRY.
Limiting distractions is also important because the line between no longer hungry (80% full) and stuffed (100% full) is thin. To detect it two things have to happen. First, you have to be paying attention to your food. It’s best to always check in with yourself to see how your feeling. Second, you have to be comfortable with leaving food on your plate. If you were part of the “clear the plate” club, like I was when I was a kid, this will be damn near impossible at first. If your parents made you sit at the table until you ate all your food you learned from an early age how to override your hunger and satiety cues, which of course, is not ideal.
I recently had a fascinating conversation with my mother about this. I was trying to explain to her what Intuitive Eating meant. Mind you this was after we had just finished enjoying our Cinco De Mayo/Mother’s Day Meal. She wasn’t getting it. She kept saying “why would someone not eat when they are hungry or visa versa.” So I decided to bring up the clear-the-plate topic.
She said “my parents never made me clear my plate, but I always made you.” I thought back to a few moments before when she had pushed her plate away and declared “that was good, I’m done.” Despite all my practice with Intuitive Eating, my initial reaction to this was the opposite of I’m done. I saw the few shrimp left we had been splitting, and I thought “that isn’t enough to take home, I’ll just finish that.” Despite knowing that I was comfortably full and could stop eating at any time.
I explained this reaction to her, and she was silent for a minute, then she responded: “that makes a lot of sense, but you were a picky kid you wouldn’t eat unless I made you” She was right, I was a picky kid. There are other ways around that, but seeing as she probably won’t be having any more children, I decided to leave the topic alone.
The point is, becoming comfortable with eating until 80% full might come very naturally to you, or, you may have to fight every urge not to snack, eat off kids plates, or finish your plate despite being full. I’ve learned to really really enjoy leftovers. Getting excited about leftovers helps to fight the urge to finish something even though I’m full. Instead, I remind myself that I can have it again for another meal and that usually excites me enough to encourage me to save the leftovers.
So this week, the goal is to work on realizing the difference between no longer hungry and full. See if you can find that fine line and stick to it, notice, but don’t judge how that changes your attitude toward food!
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52 HEALTHY HABITS IN 52 WEEKS SERIES:
The 52 Healthy Habits Series is about ditching the diet mindset and making small changes to improve health overall naturally leading to a healthy body composition, increased energy and improved health. Please follow along and check out the past weeks!
- Week 52: Healthy Habits Wrap Up
- Week 51: Nightly Reflection
- Week 50: Limit Harmful Chemicals
- Week 49: Find Your Tribe
- Week 48: Cultivating Positivity
- Week 47: Healthy Thanksgiving Tips
- Week 46: Check In
- Week 45: Mobility – Foam Rolling
- Week 44: HIIT Training
- Week 43: LISS or Steady State Cardio
- Week 42: Limit Alcohol
- Week 41: Eat White, Wait What?
- Week 40: Eat Blue & Purple
- Week 39: Eat Green
- Week 38: Eat Yellow/Orange
- Week 37: Eat Red
- Week 36: Learn Which Foods to Purchase Organic
- Week 35: Read the Ingredient List!
- Week 34: Focus.
- Week 33: Chew Your Food!
- Week 32: Meditation
- Week 31: Gratitude Journaling
- Week 30: Plan & Revamp Dessert- 20 Healthy Ideas
- Week 29: Two fistfuls of veggies per meal
- Week 28: Get In Veggies At Breakfast
- Week 27: Healthy Veggie Snacks
- Week 26: Nourishing Fats for the Gut (Healthy Digestion Part 4)
- Week 25: Keeping Regular – The Other Fiber (Healthy Digestion Part 3)
- Week 24: Feed The Probiotics With Prebiotic Fiber (Healthy Digestion Part 2)
- Week 23: Amazing Health Benefits of Probiotics (Healthy Digestion Part 1)
- Week 22: Check In
- Week 21: What You Will Learn From Recording Your Meals (Intuitive Eating Series Part 4)
- Week 20: Eat Until 80% Full (Hara Hachi Bu) (Intuitive Eating Series Part 3)
- Week 19: Limit Distractions While Eating (Intuitive Eating Series Part 2)
- Week 18: Gaging Your Hunger Cues (Intuitive Eating Series Part 1)
- Week 17: 10,000 Steps Per Day
- Week 16: Assess Your Caffeine Intake
- Week 15: Decrease Sugar Intake
- Week 14: Healthy Coffee Creamers (upgrade yours)
- Week 13: 3 Month Check In
- Week 12: Sleep Enough & Sleep Better
- Week 11: Schedule Your Workouts
- Week 10: Pack A Healthy Lunch (5 Ways to Create Endless Combinations)
- Week 9: Prioritizing Protein
- Week 8: How and What to Meal Prep
- Week 7: Create & Stick To Your Healthy Meal Plan
- Week 6: Get Enough Omega-3’s (Fight Inflammation)
- Week 5: What Is A Healthy Fat & How To Get Enough (Include Healthy Fats)
- Week 4: How to Spot A Healthy Carbohydrate (Upgrade Your Carbs)
- Week 3: Tips to Increase Veggie Intake (Eat Veggies)
- Week 2: 15 Healthy On the Go Breakfast Ideas (Eat BF Challenge)
- Week 1: Tips to Drink More Water